Tributes are today pouring in for well-respected East Anglian journalist Paul Durrant, who has died aged 63.

Mr Durrant, of Hellesdon, held several senior roles with the EDP and Evening News during a 40-year career in the regional press.

He proudly fought for press freedom and ferociously championed many causes in the region.

In recent years, Mr Durrant became a journalism trainer, and helped shape the careers of young reporters.

He had bravely battled oesophagal cancer for several months and after his illness was revealed to be terminal, the National Council for the Training of Journalists named a new award in his honour, which was presented last year.

EDP and Evening News editor-in-chief Nigel Pickover said: 'When he was running the newsdesk there was none better in the regional press, tough, uncompromising and spotting stories that no one else would see.

'In his later years his softer side emerged when he became an exemplary trainer of young journalists who, to a man and a woman, adored him.'

Head of news Ian Clarke said: 'Duzza was a true legend in the newspaper industry and for me and many of my colleagues he was a true journalistic father figure.'

Former EDP political editor Chris Fisher said: 'Paul was a journalists' journalist, and I suspect that his heart had 'EDP' engraved on it. He was a great news editor, and it was a privilege to work with someone so dedicated to - and endlessly enthusiastic about - finding out what was going on in Norfolk and the wider world and passing it on to EDP readers.'

Joanne Butcher, NCTJ chief executive, said: 'Paul was an amazing journalist, examiner and trainer who inspired so many trainees to achieve their very best.

With typical good humour when the award in his honour was announced, Mr Durrant said: 'It's truly humbling to discover that my industry wants to mark my death in this way. The only condition is that it's dropped once the next generation starts asking, 'Paul Who?'

'Training and gold-standard industry qualifications give us all the confidence to do that, and hopefully go some way to restoring the public's faith and trust in believing that real journalism matters.'

Mr Durrant leaves his wife Christine, three children - Katie, Tom and Matthew - and two grandchildren - Jacob and Anna.

*See Friday's EDP and Evening News for a full tribute to Mr Durrant.