A FORMER Gazette reporter and navy veteran from Walton has passed away, aged 90.

Colin Narbeth, who started as a cub reporter at the East Essex Gazette aged 15, died on May 2 following an illness.

Colin, his brother John and half-siblings Philip and Claire were mostly brought up by their grandparents Ellen and William Augustus, who had a drapers’ shop in Aylesbury and a retirement home, Mayfield, in Walton.

He attended several different schools in Aylesbury and Walton and his final two years of education were at Canford School in Dorset.

He was a passionate collector from a young age and hunted the Naze cliffs for fossils.

Colin met his future wife Doreen Finch at a Walton church youth club and the pair went on to have a long and happy marriage.

After some years as a junior reporter, Colin signed up for seven years in the Royal Navy, training in stenography.

After his service, he returned to the Gazette as a reporter.

His son Simon said: "On one occasion getting to the scene of a murder before the police because he was tipped off by the telephone exchange operator.

"He eventually became features and art editor.

"He had always collected stamps, coins, medals and more, and contributed articles on various subjects to various journals.

"In 1961 he founded the International Banknote Society and edited its journal, produced on a hand-operated Gestetner printer, mailing it out to around 20 people.

"The society now has a membership of over 2,000 from 90 different countries."

Colin wrote more than 20 book on currency and stamp collecting, his first book - Coins and Currency - being published in 1966.

In the late 1960s, he left the Gazette to help launch Stamp Weekly at Link House in Croydon, staying there during the week and travelling back at weekends to Mayfield in Walton, where his grandfather still lived with Doreen and the three children Vanessa, Peter and Simon.

After a few years as Editor of Stamp Weekly, he left to become a director of Stanley Gibbons International, where he started Stanley Gibbons Currency Limited, the first major British business dealing in paper money.

In 1981 he and son Simon started their own paper money company, Colin Narbeth & Son, first at Charing Cross Arches then in 1987 in Cecil Court near Leicester Square where Simon still runs the business, assisted by sister Vanessa and nephew Douglas and Chris Nield.

Colin, who's death was not related to Covid-19, was a fellow of the Linnean Society and the Royal Philatelic Society, London.