Tributes have been paid to a former editor of Recorder titles who has died.

Tom Duncan was the founding editor of the Newham Recorder and edited the paper for almost 30 years from its creation and first edition in 1968.

Tom was made an honorary freeman of Newham in 2000 for his services to the community in the borough and was a priest for 25 years at All Saints Church, Poplar.

Tributes were made to Tom following his death aged 86 at his home in Beckton.

East Ham MP Sir Stephen Timms said: “He was a towering figure and a very important voice in the community. Tom’s contribution to the Newham Needs campaign, which won better funding for the borough, was an important milestone.”

West Ham MP Lyn Brown said: “Tom was a gentle man and the consummate professional, who wanted the best for the community.

"He was thoroughly decent."

West Ham United fan Tom, who was also a qualified football referee, was group editor and also edited the Ilford Recorder.

He left in 2000, but Colin Grainger, who succeeded him as Newham Recorder editor and worked for the paper for 41 years, invited Tom back to write a weekly page feature of news and comment until 2009.

Colin said: “Tom was a man of great honesty and integrity. It was my honour to have known him for 52 years.

"He preached the values of doing the job right.

Romford Recorder: Colin Grainger said Tom was a man of great honesty and integrityColin Grainger said Tom was a man of great honesty and integrity (Image: Colin Grainger)

"We shared many successes and awards. One both he and I are so proud of was the Kevin Jenkins OBE Toy Appeal campaign, run with charity Ambition, Aspire, Achieve.

"This, which is still going 46 years after we started it, provides gifts for children who need them the most and would otherwise go without.

“He will be remembered as a man of principle. And the principal man of the Newham Recorder. That’s a legacy.”

Former Newham mayor Bryan Collier described Tom as "a great man".

"Everything he did was for the community. He always put Newham first.”

Ex Newham Recorder reporter Neil Duncanson, now chair of independent production company North One, said: “Over the course of a lifetime you meet thousands of people, but only a few have a genuine impact.

“Tom was one of those rare people. I was a madly enthusiastic, but frankly know-nothing kid fresh out of school. He saw something in me and I got hired as an apprentice reporter.

“As editor, his unwavering high standards, attention to detail and zealous pursuit of doing the job right gave me the grounding for the career I've enjoyed ever since.

"Without Tom I doubt it would have happened. He made a big difference to me and to the lives of so many of my colleagues down the years. They don't make them like Tom anymore. More's the pity.”

Tom also worked for the Romford Recorder, Luton News, East London Advertiser, and for a number of national papers, including the Daily Sketch, before launching the Newham Recorder 55 years ago.

Newham’s first elected Mayor and ex-council leader Sir Robin Wales said: “Tom was a forthright man and dedicated professional.

"The paper and the council worked together to benefit the community.

"But Tom and the paper also took us to task. Many times we did not like it. But when we looked into the criticisms, they were usually warranted and we acted. He was a man of the community.”

Former Ilford Recorder journalist Bill Stock said: “He was a great editor of Ilford. Firm but fair.”

The funeral service for Tom will be held at All Saints Church in Poplar on Wednesday October 4 at 2.30pm.

A private cremation will be held the following day at the City of London Crematorium, Manor Park.