Sweet, sad words for news­pa­per hack

Harefield Gazette - - OPINION - DEREK BAR­NETT Hare­field Road Uxbridge

BAR­BARA Fisher’s mem­o­ries of her col­league Jo Fran­cis were quite touch­ing to an old hack like me (BM@il Nov 4).

I’ve worked for na­tional news­pa­pers and some over­seas in my 50 years in our trade but there’s still a warm cor­ner in my heart for all my old col­leagues on my first pa­per, the Ch­ester Chron­i­cle, at age 15 in 1947.

We were a happy, chummy lit­tle band, now sadly di­min­ish­ing, and those I’ve lost and used to visit on odd trips to that city bring a deep sad­ness to me. This makes me think your farewell to Jo was writ­ten as much to sat­isfy your own sad­ness within as to in­form your own read­ers of her pass­ing?

I still miss, too, old re­porters on our ri­val, the Ch­ester Ob­server, even though we com­peted hotly for

‘ex­clu­sives’ each week. I cher­ish the friend­ship of those still with us.

I’m called upon now and then by the Chron­i­cle (the Ob­server is no more) to pen obituaries of our erst­while col­leagues and try to put my per­sonal feel­ings into them as you have done so beau­ti­fully in your piece to­day, so well done!

I find there’s a nat­u­ral in-built bond be­tween all of us hacks wher­ever I’ve plied my writ­ing skills. Bless us all, one and all.

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