Former Banbury Guardian journalist - described as kind, clever, caring and a gentleman - has died

Tributes have poured in for Stuart Prestidge, former Banbury Guardian journalist and champion of the town, who has died aged 49.
Journalist Stuart Prestidge, former Banbury Guardian reporter, who died last weekJournalist Stuart Prestidge, former Banbury Guardian reporter, who died last week
Journalist Stuart Prestidge, former Banbury Guardian reporter, who died last week

Shocked friends described Stuart as ‘kind, cool, caring and an absolute gentleman’; his family are ‘absolutely devastated at his loss’.

Stuart was born and brought up in Cropredy to Des and Jane. He was born with a congenital heart condition which proved to be a massive financial challenge in Texas, USA where he lived with his wife Jen, and where Stuart wrote for the Silsby Bee newspaper.

He and Jen had a daughter Adelai (Addie) who was the light of his life and who visited him this summer.

Stuart Prestidge with the light of his life, daughter AddieStuart Prestidge with the light of his life, daughter Addie
Stuart Prestidge with the light of his life, daughter Addie

His mother, Jane Hilton said: “After not being able to afford health care in the States due to his chronic heart condition, he came back to the UK and he and Jen got divorced.

"He’s since worked at the Banbury Guardian, the Henley Standard, the Shetland News among other publications, and finally Motorcycle News.

"He always loved Liverpool football team, motorbikes, boxing and bizarre music. He suffered with mental health issues for years - it has been tough.”

Father Des said: “We are trying to come to terms with it all but it is so difficult.”

Stuart and his half sister, Letitia Munson on the occasion of her wedding to James Munson in 2021Stuart and his half sister, Letitia Munson on the occasion of her wedding to James Munson in 2021
Stuart and his half sister, Letitia Munson on the occasion of her wedding to James Munson in 2021

Lifelong friend, Anthony Dunn has committed to running a marathon distance to add to the fund set up to pay for Stuart’s funeral.

He said on Facebook: “He was a lifelong friend and I’ve struggled to come to terms with his loss.

“His family are raising money to pay for his funeral and I would like to help them to give Stuart a good send off and to let him and his family know he was very much loved by those who knew him.

“Some know that I run every day to keep myself fit in body and mind, to help ward off the darkness of depression. I haven’t done it for charity so far, so this seems a fitting thing to do now.

Stuart Prestidge, motorbike lover, community supporter, plucky reporter and 'an absolute gentleman'Stuart Prestidge, motorbike lover, community supporter, plucky reporter and 'an absolute gentleman'
Stuart Prestidge, motorbike lover, community supporter, plucky reporter and 'an absolute gentleman'

“So, I will be committing to run a marathon distance on Sunday, September 24 to try and raise money for this. It isn’t an organised event but I will log it on Strava to be fully accountable and share the journey here.”

A tribute on Banbury Info Facebook group described Stuart as an avid fan of Spit ‘n’ Sawdust Gym and Tooley's Boatyard.

"He was a huge motorcycle fan, only recently reporting on the 2023 Banbury Run and at The Fox at Farthinghoe bike meets. He would take reams of diligent notes at many a Banbury Town Council meeting to report back on later. He had a front row spot at the recent Banbury Music Mix organised by Bob Dainty, enjoyed many a Voujon Banbury curry and several drinks in Lock29,” it said.

“Stuart was a supporter and advocate of Banbury and his loss is one felt by so very many.”

Stuart was proud of his work in the community. He told a friend: “I’m most proud of helping communities or individuals through my work as a journalist, prevented a load of horrendous – to them – things happening and raised awareness for a lot of wonderful charities.”

A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise money for Stuart’s funeral. See https://www.gofundme.com/f/stuart-prestidge

His mother said: “I am trying to raise money for the funeral and to give him the send off he deserves. He will be continued to be loved and remain in our hearts forever.”

The funeral will be directed by Edd Frost and Daughters. Mr Frost was a school friend of Stuart and he will be delivering a eulogy at the service at Banbury Crematorium on Monday, September 25 at 3pm.

Banbury Guardian colleague Roseanne Edwards said: “I am absolutely distraught to be writing my friend’s obituary. Stu and I had the most amazing fun in the office until he left for the Shetland News and then the Henley Standard.

"He was extremely intelligent and could be very entertaining, very ascerbic - and with it incredibly funny. He did not suffer fools – gladly or otherwise - and anyone who thought Stu would not defend his written content or approach was very much mistaken.

“No day was the same in the newsroom – he worked hard at promoting Banbury and put everything into helping local organisations and businesses to succeed and make life better for everyone. There was never a dull day; we got on well and had so many laughs.

"I can’t believe that he won’t turn up on his bike for a cup of tea in the field again. RIP Stu.”

Stuart leaves his daughter Adelai, mother Jane and stepfather Philip, father Des and stepmother Val and half-sister Letitia.

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