FORMER president of Bournemouth Past Rotarians and former Reading Evening Post editor Peter Hiley has died at the age of 85 after a brave battle against Alzheimer's disease.

He passed away peacefully at Aranlaw care home in Bournemouth surrounded by his family. He leaves his wife Christine, two children and five grandchildren.

Peter was best known for his 12 years as editor of the Reading Evening Post, taking over the helm at the Tessa Road offices in 1971. He was said to have been particularly proud of driving the campaign to save Reading Football Club when millionaire media tycoon Robert Maxwell wanted to merge the team with his Oxford United in 1983.

The Reading Evening Post played a major role in keeping the club in the town and the campaign earned Peter the title of Newsperson of the Year in the Southern Press awards.

Peter's son Graham said his father took 'huge pride' in the staff he trained who went on to have successful careers in the industry and that teaching the next generation of journalists was a 'cause close to his heart'.

While he was at the Post, Peter gave a 13-year-old Kenneth Branagh his first public profile as a teenage book reviews editor.

After leaving the newspaper in 1984 Peter set up his own magazine called the Thames Valley Heritage and also worked at Today, the AA, the Kenya Standard and the Engineering Council as well as teaching the next generation of journalists.

On moving to Bournemouth, his main passion in retirement was the Past Rotarians and he was honoured to be named president of the national association as well as the Bournemouth branch twice.

He enjoyed travelling the world but his greatest love was his family with whom he loved spending time, in particular his wife Christine.

Graham said: " Although this horrible disease robbed him of his amazing intellect, the one thing it couldn't destroy was his 60-year love for his wife who was with him to the end. His last words were, 'You're beautiful' and that said it all.

"He will be greatly missed not just by his family and friends but also by the many journalists he worked with and mentored".

His funeral took place at Bournemouth Crematorium on February 7 with donations going to the Alzheimer's Society via