TRIBUTES have been paid to a former Lancashire Evening Telegraph cub reporter who rose to the top of the newspaper industry.

Burnley journalist George Jenkins, who began his working life at the paper’s former offices in Manchester Road, has died at the age of 80.

He eventually rose to become an executive director of Mirror Group Newspapers in London, working alongside the infamous tycoon Robert Maxwell.

Originally from the Woodtop area of the town, he was educated at Burnley Business School in Westgate before joining the Burnley office of the Northern Daily Telegraph, the forerunner to the Lancashire Evening Telegraph, atthe age of 16.

He trained under the late Bert Shackleton, who covered the golden era of the Clarets for the Telegraph under the pen name of Watchman.

His brother Roy Jenkins, who used to run an insurance consultancy in Nelson, said: "He was the cub reporter who went on to become one of the top men at the Mirror.

"Until two years ago, when he became quite ill, he still used to come up to Burnley to visit."

George moved from the Telegraph to the Manchester office of the former Daily Dispatch, and also enjoyed a stint on the Daily Herald before securing a post with the Mirror.

Starting out as a sub-editor, he was eventually named chief sub and went on to hold a number of titles, including features editor, technical editor and latterly executive director under Maxwell.

He was heavily involved in the introduction of new computer technology at the Mirror in the 1970s, touring America for advice on how to implement the replacement to the hot metal presses, a development which revolutionised the industry.

He was married to Nell and lived in Chingford, Essex.

His funeral service will take place tomorrow at Enfield Crematorium, with donations being requested for the Alzheimer's Society.

Keith Fort, the former assistant editor of the Lancashire Evening Telegraph, said George was a great help to his fellow reporters.

The 75-year-old, who lives in Worsthorne, said: “He gave me a lot of help in my job, taking young journalists under his wing and giving them encouragement.

“He was a tremendous guy, and really good to know.”