‘Kingsley will always be with us in our hearts’

Kingsley Squire during one of his visits to the Herald's office. Ref shs kingsley1

Kingsley Squire during one of his visits to the Herald's office. Ref shs kingsley1 - Credit: Archant

Family of the Herald’s Kingsley Squire have led tributes to a ‘wonderful’ and ‘larger-than-life’ character - who loved people and writing about the community he adored.

Kingsley in his Fleet Street days.

Kingsley in his Fleet Street days. - Credit: Archant

Kingsley, 78, has been remembered as a wise and caring husband, dad, grandfather and friend to so many. His enthusiasm and genuine interest in people were infectious.

Kingsley died peacefully at home, surrounded by his loved-ones, last Thursday evening.

Diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer, he bravely wrote of his experiences to support a charity in its mission to save lives through early diagnosis by raising public awareness of the symptoms.

Kingsley’s efforts for Pancreatic Cancer Action inspired friends in the community to help him raise thousands of pounds for the cause.

Kingsley Squire looking at old photographs of Sidmouth at the Sidmouth Seafest in 2014. Ref shs 4136

Kingsley Squire looking at old photographs of Sidmouth at the Sidmouth Seafest in 2014. Ref shs 4136-17-14TI Photo by Terry Ife. - Credit: Archant

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His final piece, published in the Herald last week, told of the fine work of Sidmouth Hospiscare, to which the family has expressed its thanks.

Born and raised in Branscombe, Kingsley, the son of a schoolmaster, started his career on the Express and Echo in 1954 and moved on to the Bristol Evening World. He then joined the Daily Express, moving to the Midlands, before taking up a role on the news desk on Fleet Street during its heyday.

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“He always wanted to get back to his roots and came back to his beloved Sidmouth,” said Kingsley’s wife of 53 years, Monica.

“He just loved people – his great joy was writing about the community.”

Kingsley was always very close to his son and daughter, artist Paul and freelance journalist Alison, and his five grandchildren – and proud of their achievements.

Both his children recalled Kingsley’s love of his motorhome and the trips he made around the world with Monica by his side.

“Once Dad knew his pancreatic cancer was terminal, he confronted death head-on,” said Alison.

“His strength has proved an uplifting experience for all of us.

“Dad loved life. His enthusiasm for everything – whether it was seeing his beloved daffodils bloom in the spring, avidly writing for the Sidmouth Herald or enjoying his five grandchildren – was infectious.

“He has a left a hole in all of our lives that we will never be able to fill. Fortunately, we have photographs, videos and, of course, memories of so many special times with this wonderful, larger-than-life character.

“This is not the end of Dad’s life, because in our hearts he will always be with us.”

Paul added: “He touched many people in the community with his genuine interest in their stories.

“He was an inspiration as a father – so wise, caring and open to all people.”

Kingsley was a lifelong friend to John Govier and best man at his wedding. “I could not have had a better one,” said John.

“Kingsley’s passing is a great loss to Sidmouth, Branscombe and the whole locality. Everyone knew him, wherever you were.

“Kingsley was always his own man, no matter who he was with or where he was.

“He will be remembered by many, many people for a long time and November 26, 2015, for me, was ‘the day the music died’.”

Among his many community exploits, Kingsley was a committee member of the Sidmouth branch of the RNLI for 25 years and also a supporter of Sidmouth Men’s Forum, Salcombe Regis Church and Kennaway House.

Dr Michael James, founder of Kennaway House and now its president, said of his friend of 25 years: “He had a warmth, generosity and constant enthusiasm for life, which were picked up by everyone he met. I can’t say how much I admire his courage in the face of a cruel illness this year.”

Kingsley wrote for the Herald for 26 years.

Editor Stefan Gordon said: “Kingsley was a first-class journalist to the very end. His passion for his profession and the community could be seen in every piece he wrote. I’m proud to have worked alongside Kingsley and will always be grateful for his contributions, guidance, support and friendship. ”

Natasha North, of Pancreatic Cancer Action, said: “He was a lovely and caring man who touched so many hearts with his blog about his experience as a pancreatic cancer patient. He bravely took his terminal diagnosis in his stride and he will be remembered fondly by many for his inspirational words.”

Kingsley’s funeral will take place at Sidmouth Parish Church next Friday, December 11, at 1pm. His wake will take place in the Cellar Bar at Kennaway House.

The family has asked that any donations be made to Sidmouth Hospiscare and the Sidmouth branch of the RNLI.

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