By Jill Dando News
TRIBUTES have been to a much-loved journalist and teacher who trained Jill Dando.
A man of great wit and charm, Don Chambers, from Abergavenny, Wales has sadly died aged 86.
He became a journalism lecturer and tutor and acted as a mentor to hundreds of budding reporters.
He helped to train Jill Dando, the inspirational BBC journalist whose kindness, positivity and brilliance gave birth to Jill Dando News and the Good News Post.
Now there are over 100 Jill Dando News reporters, who are being trained to be like Jill. Don was one of those who sowed in his brilliance and kindness during her training.
(They are pictured with the BBC recently at Worle Community School Academy in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset) And below at Priory Community School Academy with a visiting newspaper reporter from the Weston Mercury.
John Inverdale, Anne Diamond and Adrian Chiles were some other famous names who owe a debt to ‘The Don’.
He was a successful reporter and later newspaper editor before he decided to pass on his immense knowledge and tricks of the trade to aspiring journalists.
He became a popular teacher at Coleg Gwent’s Pontypool campus for many years where he put scores of students through their paces.
One of his pupils at Coleg Gwent, Katherine Skellon, told of the important part Don played in her life.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today without his guidance, kindness and vast knowledge of the newspaper industry and law,” she said.
“He became a dear friend in the years that followed after I completed my training at Coleg Gwent’s Pontypool campus.
“Don would pop into the Abergavenny Free Press and South Wales Argusoffice each week to write his popular nostalgia column and keep Lesley Flynn, Hannah Edwards and myself on our toes, testing us on newspaper law, as well as recalling many funny stories from his early career and time as an editor of the Abergavenny Chronicle and Abergavenny Gazette.
“Don had a pet hate of misplaced apostrophes.”
She added: “He was a true gentleman, who cared deeply about journalism and his students.
“He was one of the last of the old-school journalists, the likes of whom we won’t see again.
“My thoughts are with his wife Julie and family. Farewell Don.”
He was born in 1936 in Cwmgwrach, a village in the Neath valley, before moving to Cowbridge and then settling with his parents in Monmouthshire.
Don went to primary school in Llanfair Kilgeddin before passing his 11-plus and attending King Henry VIII Grammar School in Abergavenny.
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