TRIBUTES have been paid to the much-loved former chief reporter of the Bromsgrove Advertiser, referred to affectionately by many as "Mr Bromsgrove", who died on Saturday following a short illness.

Pete Lammas, who was also a popular district councillor and member of the Court Leet, served his hometown as a reporter and later a chief reporter on the Advertiser/Messenger for 21 years prior to his retirement in 2009.

A "proud" Bromsgrove man, who lived in Lickey End, he continued to serve the community as a Norton ward councillor for six years during his retirement.

He died on October 22 aged 71, leaving behind his loving wife Kath, their children Andrew, Heidi, and Julie, and grandchildren James, Rebecca, Peter, and Joseph.

Mrs Lammas, 67, said: "He started from humble beginnings and never thought he would get a job in Bromsgrove as a chief reporter. He was very proud of Bromsgrove.

"He was a Bromsgrove man through-and-through and he was very proud to be working on his hometown paper. He was never happier than when he was talking to people.

"I was only 16 when I met Pete and he was 20 – we married three years later at All Saints Church in 1968. It has been a long and happy marriage.

"We have raised kids that we are proud of and grandchildren we are proud of too.

"He was a great husband, father and grandfather.

"His real love of his life in his retirement was the council, his family and his horse-racing.

"He was a quiet man and he was a family man and he died too soon.

"He would be absolutely delighted with the people who have rung up passing on their condolences."

Born in Bromsgrove, Pete left Dodford County Primary School then Watt Close Secondary Modern School in 1959 to become an apprentice compositor with the Messenger aged 15.

After it was purchased by the Berrows Organisation, he moved to Worcester to produce the paper and other weekly titles, before retraining as a journalist for the Messenger in 1988.

Pete ended his 50 years in newspapers in 2009, retiring on his 65th birthday.

Mrs Lammas added: "He served for six years on the council after this. He just wanted to carry on doing the same things he did in the newspaper – helping the people of Bromsgrove."

Pete’s former editor Mark Whitehouse, who worked with him from 1997 to 2001, said: "He was a great guy, a friendly face, and a wise man with a good sense of humour.

"He was affectionately known as Mr Bromsgrove and rightly so. He knew everyone and more importantly everyone knew him.

"He was a nice guy and a family guy. He was a great smiler and was really good company. He always had something interesting to say or knew something interesting.

"Although I was his editor and he looked to me for guidance, often he was the one teaching me something. I am really sad to hear the news and will miss him."

Another former editor, Alan Wallcroft, said: "He was a gentleman and consummate professional, dedicated to his work.

"It is so sad to hear about the passing of such a dear old friend and fantastic journalist."

Geoff Denaro, leader of Bromsgrove District Council leader, added: "I was devastated to receive the news that our friend and fellow councillor Peter had passed away.

"He was very keen to support his residents and dealt avidly with their queries.

"Without doubt his friends and colleagues will remember him as a lovely man. I will too."

Bromsgrove MP Sajid Javid added: "I was very saddened to hear that Pete had passed away.

"He was one of the kindest people I’ve met, and will be remembered for serving Bromsgrove so well.

"My thoughts are with Kath and Peter’s close friends and family at this difficult time." 

Funeral arrangements are yet to be made.