A FORMER Penarth Times reporter who appeared on national TV has died at 96.

Bob Skinner, reported for the paper between 1942 and 1944 before being called up for the final year of World War 2.

Mr Skinner’s extraordinary career included being a “citizen journalist” during the pandemic – a role that would end up with Mr Skinner on national TV’s Good Morning Britain.

His son Robert Skinner said his father was an inspiration to the family.

“He always wanted to be a journalist and there was a real love of Penarth in him,” said Mr Skinner speaking about his father.

“He was an inspiration. He inspired me to go into public relations myself. He had energy, determination and he was just wonderful with people.”

Penarth Times:

Mr Skinner and his late wife Rosemary, Penarth, 2014

From Penarth Times to Good Morning Britain via Cardiff

Mr Skinner was born in West Ham, London, in 1926, with his Welsh mother sending him to Cardiff at the start of the Second World War, believing he would be safer there.

He joined the Penarth Times from school as the paper’s only reporter.

Mr Skinner left the paper in 1944 when he was called up for war service in the Intelligence Corps, and was replaced by his future wife Rosemary Preece.

He returned to journalism after the war as the South Wales Argus’s Rhymney Valley reporter, before switching to public relations as the first local government PR officer in Wales, for Caerphilly Urban District Council.

Penarth Times:

Bob Skinner, 1945, Second Lieutenant, Intelligence Corps

Penarth Times:

Mr Skinner and Rosemary’s wedding, Penarth, 1952

During the pandemic, Mr Skinner became a citizen journalist.

As ‘Bob the Blogger’ he recorded his lockdown life as a resident at Llys Cyncoed care home in Cardiff.

He praised care home workers in live interviews on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, which in July 2020 also featured Mr Skinner meeting his first visitors for four months: son Rob and niece Ria.

He later turned his blog into a Kindle book, Pandemic: My Care Home Diaries, and read extracts on BBC Wales Today.

Penarth Times:

Mr Skinner meets granddaughter Ria live on TV, 2020

Penarth Times:

Mr Skinner signing copies at the launch of his book, Don’t Hold the Front Page!, Washington Gallery, Penarth, September 2005

Tragedy struct Mr Skinner when his daughter Beverley died in 2017.

In 2021, Mr Skinner decided to buy a flat in Bridgeman Road, Penarth, as he missed his vibrant life in the town where he enjoyed more than 20 years as a resident with his wife Rosemary, who died in 2018.

Mr Skinner died on February 21, 2023, aged 96. He is survived by his son Robert, daughter-in-law Karen, grandchildren Siân, Ria, Ben and Owen, and great-grandchildren Mylo, Rosa and Claudia.

Mr Skinner’s funeral will be held at 2.30pm on Friday, March 24, at Penarth Methodist Church, Woodland Place, Penarth.