One of Bolton’s most respected journalists has died at the age of 94.

Graham Gibbons was deputy editor of The Bolton News, making a “dream team” alongside his good friend and legendary editor Les Gent.

The two created an ethos of professionalism and trusted journalism that won the respect of local people across the borough.

On social media, many of Graham’s former colleagues praised his skills as a mentor, his care for his colleagues and his sense of humour.

Former Bolton News Sports Editor Peter Mensforth described him as “a lovely man and a great mentor to all those working in Bolton News editorial” and former Bolton News journalist Wes Wright said Graham was “a great journalist and a thoroughly decent man.”

Born in Hoyland near Barnsley, Graham lost his father aged 13 and was brought up mainly by his mother.

His first job was as a costing clerk at an open cast coal site but at the age of 17 he started his journalistic career on the Rotherham Express, part of South Yorkshire Times.

National Service followed, with Graham working for the Special Investigation Branch of the RAF.

Whilst based in Bowlee, near Manchester, he met Joyce who was also doing National Service as a military police officer. They married in 1950 and lived in Hoyland where their daughter Paula was born.

Graham now worked on the Hoyland Express but moved in 1952 to live in Wisbech in Cambridgeshire and work at the Wisbech Standard. Their son Nigel was born here in 1955.

Graham moved to the Bolton Evening News, as it then was, in 1958 to work as a sub-editor.

He also did shifts on the Daily Express and Daily Telegraph.

He became Bolton Evening News’ deputy editor for several years and, after leaving the paper, took a post at the Chorley Guardian.

The couple lived the rest of their lives in Bolton and when Joyce died in 2019, they had been married for almost 70 years.

Paula lives in Cheshire with husband Geoff and they have two children and four grandchildren, and Nigel and Joanna live in Egerton and have two children

“Family was everything to Graham and Joyce,” explained Joanna, “and they were loved by us all.”

Graham’s funeral will be held on Thursday, July 25, at noon at St Paul’s Church in Astley Bridge.