A FORMER Shuttle journalist who lived a life of words and wit in a profession he loved has passed away after a battle with cancer.

John Slim, who was 83, from Lickey Hills, near Bromsgrove, died last week only eight months after he was diagnosed with cancer of the bile duct.

He spent his final weeks at Primrose Hospice and his widow Elsa, whom he had been married to for 58 years, called him a “lovely man with a tremendous sense of humour who was much loved by the people he knew”.

“Words were his life,” she said.

“He was happy in the world of words and loved what he did.” she added.

The late Mr Slim started his career at The Shuttle in 1951 and went on to work on the Birmingham Gazette, Evening Despatch and Birmingham Mail.

From 1968-91, until he retired aged 60, Mr Slim specialised in major interviews and personality profiles and was The National President of the Institute of Journalists from 1977 until 1978.

He interviewed many household names, including Muhammed Ali and Morcambe and Wise, but Mrs Slim said that he enjoyed interviewing people from every walk of life.

She said he liked discovering the quirky stories and characters that are at the heart of local journalism.

“His stories have kept us all amused for years,” said Mrs Slim.

As well as journalism, Mr Slim was a big fan of a more creative style of writing.

Over the years he penned thousands of poems and limericks, and he always spoke highly of the standard of local theatrical productions in and around the area.

He reviewed thousands of amateur dramatic performances, published seven books and did his best to promote local theatre on the behindthearras website that he created with a fellow journalist.

When Mr Slim was diagnosed with cancer he decided to start his own blog.

In his witty and poignant blog, he said: “I’m 82 and I’ve had a good run, a lot of jolly, happy decades in which I have deployed my insistence on failing to understand any given situation in the knowledge that if everything is not quite hunky dory it will eventually go away.

“Life goes on until eventually it doesn’t. “And that, I think, is all I wanted to say. It’s goodbye.”

John is survived by his widow, four children and nine grandchildren.