FORMER County Press reporter Richard Andrew Orchard, who grew up in Totland, has died after a short illness, aged 64.

Richard was a member of the Orchard Brothers family which has run the grocery shop in Freshwater Bay for more than 150 years.

He attended Totland Primary School and Carisbrooke High School.

Orch, as he was affectionately known, joined the County Press in the late 1970s as a news reporter. It proved the launchpad to his career in newspapers.

He stayed at the County Press for a couple of years before moving to the Oxford Mail. He moved onto The News, Portsmouth, specialising in sport.

In the mid 1980s he started as a casual sports sub editor on The Sun in Bouverie Street and was offered a staff job when the paper moved to Wapping in 1986.

He was promoted to deputy chief sports sub editor around three years later, a position he held until his retirement following the 2012 London Olympic Games.

He was a former member of Freshwater Bay Golf Club and regularly played there on visits to his family.

He was also a keen Southampton FC fan and attended the 1976 FA Cup Final, seeing his team beat Manchester United. In his youth he also played for West Island Cricket Club.

Richard is survived by his partner Lorraine, her sons Dale and Adam, his mother Barbara and brothers Mark, David, Peter and Stephen.

Richard's funeral will be held at Christ Church, Totland, on Tuesday, January 18, at 2pm, followed by burial.