TRIBUTES have been paid to a former Scarborough schoolboy who went on to become an award-winning investigative journalist.
Nigel Morris, 44, was investigations producer for BBC London when he died following a six month battle with stomach cancer.
The former Northstead School, Scarborough College, and Scarborough Sixth Form College pupil was highly respected in his profession, working on programmes including Panorama, Dispatches, The Big Story, House of Horrors and most recently on a host of BBC specialist investigations.
His reputation for tenacity and spirit came from his work, which included an expose on the former head of Albania’s secret service, wanted for torture and kidnap, and found living under an assumed name in London; along with immigration scams at a London hotel and revealing how banned dangerous dog breeds could still be bought on the streets of London.
Mr Morris’s mother May Morris paid tribute to her son. She said: “He was very much part of the community in Scarborough. At 18 years of age he did work experience at the Scarborough Evening News which lead to the start of his career.
“He was an enthusiastic member of the Cubs and Scouts, and the famous Northstead Gang Shows. He also loved running along the Scarborough coast which ignited his passion for marathon running.”
After leaving Scarborough Mr Morris started his career on the North Herts Gazette and Express in Hitchin and included a spell at the Sheffield Star where he was among the team of reporters covering the Hillsborough disaster.
Mr Morris also spent time on the Grimsby Evening Telegraph before moving to television, working in Bosnia, Iraq and researching for John Pilger.
BBC London editor Antony Dore said: “Nigel was an old fashioned news journalist who just loved the story. He did some outstanding stuff for us in investigative journalism. Nigel brought something to the team that we’d never had before and his skills and experience were behind many of the best stories we have done over the last few years. We won awards for stories we would never have got without Nigel.”
Mr Morris, who was a four times marathon runner, leaves his wife Marie, and two daughters Amelie, 7, and Noa, 4.
His wife said: “One of Nigel’s heroes was war photographer, Robert Capa, who landed on the beaches of Normandy in 1944. His maxim was ‘if your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough’. Nigel applied this to every aspect of his life; in the stories he investigated, his friendships and as a loving husband and father. He leaves a big hole but a lasting legacy.”