In the course of 22 years in journalism, ten of them in the parliamentary lobby, I have seen a fair few top-class reporters in action. From my Westminster days I would single out the Guardian's David Hencke, the Standard's Joe Murphy and the Liverpool Echo's Ian Hernon as three of the best. But right up there with them would have to be Andy Donkersley, a dishevelled, long-haired hack from Huddersfield who spent a year or so alongside me in the Derby Evening Telegraph newsroom of the late-1980s. He was so bloody good, so unfailingly spot-on in his news instincts and writing style, that at times he made me feel about as much use as a chocolate teapot by comparison, quite unintentionally I'm sure.
Andy was found dead at his home in Shifnal last week at the age of 52, two years after having left his last job in the profession. Some of his old colleagues have left some nice tributes on HoldtheFrontPage, while former Wolverhampton Express and Star friend and colleague Reg Pither has penned a moving piece on his blog, Grantham New Town.