'Everyone knew' Suffolk journalist David Lennard in the towns he covered during long career

David Lennard outside the Beccles & Bungay journal office

David Lennard was editor of the Beccles & Bungay Journal - Credit: Nick Butcher

Suffolk journalist David Lennard has died after a lifetime of bringing the news to communities across east Suffolk.

Mr Lennard was born in Alderton, near Hollesley, in 1952 and joined the East Anglian Daily Times when he was 15 to train as a compositor. In the mid-1980s as new technology started to change the way newspapers were produced, he retrained as a journalist.

In 1987 he and his family moved to Halesworth where he was the EADT's chief reporter before moving to the Eastern Daily Press office in Lowestoft, eventually becoming editor and chief reporter of the Beccles and Bungay Journal.

David Lennard retirement lunch at Prospect House

David Lennard retired in 2015 when he was joined by then editors of the EADT and EDP Terry Hunt and Nigel Pickover at a special lunch in Norwich. - Credit: Nick Butcher

He took early retirement in 2015 and continued to live in north Suffolk with his family.

He leaves a widow, Val and a daughter and son - Angie and Alec.

Angie said: "Above all he was a family man, and he delighted in his grandchildren. He was the first and only hospital visitor when I had my first daughter, he couldn’t wait to meet her!

"He has six grandchildren; Kate, Sophie, Adam, Daniel, Ewan and Harry. His treasured fuchsias Alec and I were sworn not to touch were totally fair game to his grandchildren’s garden games."

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She said he had worked on a variety of stories - including a claim that Saddam had bought Heveningham Hall and he had managed to find himself on a boat during the hurricane of 1987!

She added: "He was always very gentle with people, particularly when he had to talk to them after a tragedy. He was very well thought of in Halesworth."

"He had leukaemia for almost 8 years. He was very ill these past few months and was very determined to stay at home, but he fought until the end. My mum took on his care with a dedication and tenderness that was remarkable and awe inspiring, and just reflected their strong and loving marriage.  

"We will miss him immensely but know he is at peace now. He was very well cared for by the Norfolk & Norwich hospital over many years, and especially during Covid. He had to shield during the pandemic which was hard for all of us. The district nurses from Halesworth surgery also allowed him to die his way, privately and with dignity."

David Lennard retirement lunch at Prospect House

Current EDP editor David Powles helped wheel David Lennard into retirement in 2015. - Credit: Nick Butcher

Mr Lennard's colleagues and friends at both papers were deeply saddened to hear of his death - he was very well-known in the communities he worked in. Several people have said: "Everyone knew and liked Dave."

His friend, and former editor of the Lowestoft Journal Russell Cook said: "Dave was chief reporter at The Lowestoft Journal with me when I was editing the title between 2002 and 2009 but we went back a long way to when were were teenagers.

"He and I were apprentices together working on the composing room floor in the print department of the East Anglian Daily Times and Evening Star in Lower Brook Street during the late 1960s before we both retrained as journalists in the 1980s.

"He was so dedicated and reliable and I regarded him as a real close friend."

His final editor at the EDP, Nigel Pickover, had known him for many years. He said: "Dave was a wonderful journalist, and a warm and gentle human being, a rare combination in the increasingly-pressurised world of newspapers.

"In his roles across East Anglia, one common denominator stands out - how much each of the communities he served loved him. I was honoured to work with him in a couple of his roles and he always delivered the stories that mattered.”