A FORMER Gazette journalist, who worked at the paper for 30 years, has died.

Alan Cairns, who took on a number of roles during his time at The Gazette, passed away at his home in Ashurst, near Southampton, on Friday, May 2.

The 84-year-old, pictured below, leaves behind his wife Anne, son Glenn, daughter Linda Reed and five grandchildren, Emma, William, Laura, Lewis and Charlotte.

Glenn, 56, said: “He was a genuine man. He carried the concerns of the world on his shoulders, and he never had a bad word to say about anyone. He was always ready to help out anyone who needed help.”

Mr Cairns, who loved sport and supported Southampton FC, first moved to Basingstoke around 50 years ago, from his home town of Southampton, after getting a job at the paper, then known as the Hants & Berks Gazette.

Glenn said: “He was working there when the first computers were delivered to the offices. He never got the hang of them though – he was working on his typewriter until he retired.”

Mr Cairns worked as a sub-editor and a sports editor before leaving for a couple of years to work in a public relations role at local paper company Wiggins Teape.

He then returned to The Gazette as features editor, a position he held until he retired in December 1994.

Doug Crossley, a former editor of The Gazette, spent 14 years working with Mr Cairns at the paper between 1968 and 1982.

He said: “He was very friendly and he loved his job. He loved his sports and played football for The Gazette team. He had a good sense of humour, and we were always doing daft things.”

Mr Crossley will be among the mourners at the funeral for Mr Cairns, which will be held at 11.30am on May 20 at South Stoneham Cemetery, in Southampton.

Glenn said: “A number of his former colleagues will be attending along with family and friends. It will be a very traditional, formal affair.”