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Talented James highly respected in music industry.

Byline: Ciaran Jones

RESPECTED music journalist James McLaren has died at the age of 34.

The talented BBC assistant producer, who lived in Cardiff, had been writing about the Welsh music scene for almost 15 years and was one of the most highly-regarded writers in the industry.

A former Cardiff University student, Mr McLaren had worked for the institution's student-produced publication, Gair Rhydd, during his time as an undergraduate after leaving his family home in Worcestershire to move to the Welsh capital in 1996.

After working for Big Issue Cymru, Mr McLaren went on to work for the Welsh Music Foundation (WMF), creating, editing and managing monthly newsletter Sound Nation.

Originally known as Honk, Sound Nation ran monthly from April 2001 to December 2005, during which time it was Wales' only national music magazine.

In 2006 Mr McLaren, who lived in Canton, joined BBC Wales as an assistant producer and was a member of the interactive and learning team. His music blog for the BBC made him one of the most well-known faces in the Welsh music industry, earning him the respect of bands, journalists and music fans alike. Following his death last week, musicians and friends were among the many hundreds of people who paid tribute to his skill and personality in touching online tributes.

Away from work, Mr McLaren's many interests included Formula 1, ornithology, history and Warhammer gaming.

Colleagues remarked on his sense of humour and encyclopaedic knowledge of music. Mr McLaren lived with his long-term girlfriend and had two flat-coated retrievers named Juno and Ella.

The next edition of rock music magazine Kerrang! is to be dedicated to Mr McLaren, who died on Monday, August 6, in a collision on the M48 between Magor and Chepstow.

Mr McLaren's funeral will take place at Cheltenham Crematorium at noon on Monday, August 20, and all are welcome.

Mr McLaren's family have requested any donations in his memory be made to Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust or Young Promoters Network.

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* BBC assistant producer James McLaren has died at the age of 34
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Aug 14, 2012
Words:344
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