A FORMER editor of the Thurrock Gazette has sadly died.

Andy Lever died at his home in Grays yesterday morning.

He edited the paper for a number of years, before going on to become a senior press officer at Thurrock Council.

Mr Lever had been battling ill health for several years.

For the past 18 months, he worked on and contributed to the Thurrock Independent, leading and helping the paper with investigations into various council issues and planned NHS changes.

Current Thurrock Gazette editor Gary Pearson worked with Mr Lever for years.

He said: "Andy was a real character, that’s for sure.

"I remember being a fresh faced trainee at the Gazette when he was editor. He wore cowboy boots, smoked cigars (in the office) and didn’t mind shaking things up with those in authority.

"Not the sort of guy you forget in a hurry.

"Rest in peace Andy, you’ll be missed."