A FORMER Echo journalist who died after falling overboard from a cruise ship in South America has been given a top honour.
Bob Horn, 69, from Grindon, had been on an Atlantic cruise with his brother, when he fell from the liner shortly after a visit to Montevideo, in Uruguay, at the beginning of the year.
Bob had enjoyed a long and distinguished career at the Echo, and also served more than 50 years as branch treasurer for the National Union of Journalists (NUJ).
To mark his contribution, the union honoured him with its Gold Badge – making him only the second member in its history to have been granted the top honour posthumously.
Presenting the award to Bob’s family, Northern and Midlands NUJ organiser Chris Morely, said: “This is a bittersweet moment, because the presentation of the NUJ Gold Badge is an honour given by members to a colleague. It is a celebration of years of commitment and dedication to the union and members by an honourable and courageous colleague.
“However, the sad truth is, tragically, Bob will never receive it.”
Mr Morely said Bob had made an outstanding contribution to the union, including in times of adversity.
The former NUJ president also paid tribute to Bob’s journalism career, particularly his “incredibly important” work serving the community as a district reporter covering Houghton.
Among Bob’s family present to accept the award were his brother David and nephew Robert.
Robert said: “I’m lost for words. All I can say is that I’m very proud to accept this award for Bob.”