Out in the Field: Paying tribute to five great gents

It’s all about the men this week as I pay tribute to five gentlemen who have made such a big impact on the lives of those they have touched.


The first is our very own dear Rupert Taylor a former content editor at the Eastbourne Herald who started his career on the Sussex Express at the age of 17 back in the 1970s but passed away suddenly last Sunday aged just 65.

A great journalist who knew how to get the most out of a story and get people talking, Rupert knew absolutely everything and nearly everyone in his patch and was a good old-fashioned reporter and a model hack for anyone joining the industry.

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More than that he was a funny, kind, lovely man. I never once saw him in a bad mood. He was always smiling and a had great outlook on the world.


He retired two years ago to spend time writing a book and with his three daughters and it’s so very cruel that after such a long and illustrious career, he had such little time to enjoy retirement.

May he rest in peace in that great newsroom in the sky.

Now the elections are finally over, it’s a good time to pay tribute to another gentleman who has dedicated much of his time since moving to Eastbourne to local politics.

Conservative stalwart David Elkin has this year stepped down as an Eastbourne councillor after 21 years – the last 16 as a county councillor at East Sussex County Council.


As the leader of the Conservative group on Eastbourne council and more recently the chairman of the county council, I know just how hard he has worked for the people of Eastbourne. He isn’t one to relish in his achievements, but he has spent quite literally thousands of hours helping residents out and always kept his promises to assist.

He has been a wonderful ambassador for the town – and a good friend to many people with his kind, measured approach. Political mud-slinging has never been his way of getting things done and he has always fought for honesty and transparency in local democracy.

He may have been on the opposite political side of the fence to Liberal Democrat David Tutt but the ‘Two Davids’ put their differences aside and worked well together for the good of the town. He is a great example for young people starting out in politics. Whoever replaces him will have big shoes to fill.

Next up is Nick Bastin, the longest-serving ambulanceman in East Sussex, who having clocked up 42 years has retired. Nick is a lovely kind man who has worked tirelessly for the community of Eastbourne. I wish him well in his retirement with his equally lovely wife Gill.

Nick Higton SUS-210605-125157001

Last week 45-year-old Nick Higton was walking along Eastbourne seafront – to lose a last few ounces so he would look his best for his debut concert at Brighton’s Concorde Club – when he collapsed and died suddenly. Nick had the whole world waiting for him and to find what a great musician he had become in such short a time. A cruel waste of a young life.

And last, but by no means least, congratulations to Dick Guy, who is hanging up his ‘lifeboat yellows’ after dedicating 47 years’ service to Eastbourne RNLI. Dick has reached ‘retirement age’ within the lifeboat organisation but over the years has served as inshore crew, offshore crew, head winchman, shore helper and lastly as head shore helper. A truly remarkable achievement.