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Obituary: Bob Wise - widely respected and long-serving local journalist and horseracing expert

Bob WiseBob WiseOne of the country’s longest serving local journalists, Marlborough father of three Bob Wise has died at the age of 92 after an amazing career of over 70 years broken only by his war service.

Mr Wise, who was married to his wife Elsie for 57 years was editor of the former Marlborough Times, worked as sub editor on the Swindon Advertiser and as a racing correspondent and tipster for the Wiltshire Gazette.

His wife was at his bedside when he died at the Miranda nursing home in Royal Wootton Bassett in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Home for most of his married life was at Upper Churchfields in Marlborough where he and his wife celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary seven years ago.

He is survived by his wife, three children, Rosalind, Roger and Robin, and by two grandchildren, Cecilia and Samuel.

There will be a burial service for family and close friends only on Tuesday (August 11) at Marlborough Cemetery in Frees Avenue followed at 2.30pm by a service of thanksgiving for his life, in St Mary’s Church.

Mr Wise was brought up at West Overton, not far from the famous racing stables at Beckhampton and Manton that were to be a major feature in his life.

His family believes his love of racing probably started when a favourite uncle used to let him race snails on their doorstep!

He left Marlborough Grammar School at 16 to be apprenticed as a reporter on the former Marlborough Times and he was midway through his training when he joined the Home Guard before being called up into the Royal Air Force.

He worked in the RAF wireless communications section and his service took him to the Far East where by an amazing coincidence he bumped into his only brother, the late Alan Wise who died five years ago, who was also in the armed forces.

When peace returned in Europe, Mr Wise returned to reporting on the local paper meanwhile building up his contacts in the world of racing that enabled him in later life to become a widely respected racing correspondent and tipster.

He moved to the Swindon Advertiser and enjoyed the cut and thrust of daily journalism for some years before returning to the Marlborough Times as its editor, a position he held for many years.

Bob, as he was generally known, was interested in all aspects of sport and played soccer for his village side as a youngster and it was while playing tennis on the old grammar school courts in Elcot Lane that he met Elsie. In later life he became one of the leading snooker players at Marlborough Conservative Club.

Mrs Wise said: “Bob loved all sports but racing was the thing he liked most.”

He wrote a weekly column for the Handicap Book for more than 30 years and after retiring continued writing a weekly racing column for the Wiltshire Gazette well into his eighties.

As a Gazette journalist, Nigel Kerton worked alongside Mr Wise in Marlborough for almost 50 years.  He told Marlborough News Online: “Bob was the old fashioned journalist who had a network of contacts in every village, always researched his stories thoroughly and was well respected by all who knew him."

“As an editor he encouraged numerous young journalists into their careers and although I worked on a rival paper he gave me a lot of help in my early days and we became lasting friends.”

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