A man who worked as a graphic artist at the Watford Observer for 20 years, when the tools of the trade were an HB pencil, rubber and ruler as opposed to a computer, Adobe Photoshop and scanner, passed away on Saturday, March 29, at the age of 80.

Cyril Halsey, who was born and bred in Watford, worked at the Observer designing graphical content for advertising for 30 years before retiring to move north to Beverley in East Yorkshire in April 2002.

He lived much of his early life in Maude Crescent, Watford, and attended Langleybury School. 

On his 21st birthday his parents organised a party for him at his home. It was there that he met his future wife Lorna.

The couple were married at St Mary’s Church in Watford High Street four years later, on Boxing Day 1959. The couple had two children, Colette and Janine.

During his National Service he had postings in Egypt and Cyprus.

Cyril had trained at Watford Technical College and his first job was DRG Stationery at Apsley deigning packaging. He moved on to the Observer in the early 70s and moved home too, to Stratford Way on the Cassiobury Estate, which he particularly liked because it meant he could go home for lunch.

Despite that on one occasion he caused a stir in the canteen at the Observer when he presented staff with a colour-coded chart of how well done staff liked their toast.

One former colleague, current graphic artist Adam Vanger said: "Cyril was a wonderful chap to work with. Though he was always snowed under with work, he always kept his good humour and sharp wit.

"He was one of those people that constantly looked for the positives in life. His handiwork in the Watford archives will be a lasting tribute to his imagination, skill and unrelenting attention to detail."

He had varied interests including model trains, steam trains and gardening and liked to watch motor racing.

That interest led him to win a competition to travel to San Francisco and ride in safety car around the Indianapolis 500 motor racing circuit and  to drive  a Formula Ford racing car around Silverstone.

He also enjoyed flying from Leavesden, when the airfield was still in use, and he had a hot air balloon flight from Hemel Hempstead.

Following his retirement and move north, the pace of his interest slowed a little and he took up bee keeping and even won prizes for the honey they produced.

As well as Lorna and his two daughters and sons-in-laws, Cyril leaves seven grandchildren, Sian, Bryn, Ross, Neve, Rebecca, Max and Hannah.

His funeral service will be held at Haltemprice Crematorium, Willerby, near Hull, at 1.30pm on Monday, April 14.