And it’s goodbye from me: Out in the Field
Well, that’s a headline I never thought I would write. But there it is: Monday will be my last day at the Eastbourne Herald as I move onto pastures new.
I count myself considerably lucky and privileged to have worked on my hometown newspaper for the majority of my life and while it will be a huge wrench to leave, the time has come for a new challenge.
I started working in local newspapers the week after I left Cavendish School in 1985 at the age of 16 thanks to the old fashioned Youth Training Scheme as it was back then. I hadn’t particularly done very well at school but the YTS allowed me to go back to college, get better grades and got my first placement on what was then the Eastbourne News and later The Citizen, put together from an office in Grove Road where our stories were bashed out on old Olivetti typewriters.
I moved to the Herald in 1990 and aside from time off travelling and having the Little Treasures, have been here ever since reporting on everyday life in Eastbourne.
It has been an absolute joy and I have so many memories. I covered the opening of the Sovereign Centre with Princess Diana, the IRA murder of Eastbourne MP Ian Gow, the transformation of The Crumbles into the bustling Sovereign Harbour, reported on fires, murders and trials, met my hero Martina Navratilova at the tennis tournaments, the construction of Golden Jubilee Way, seen schools built, green fields disappear to make way for housing, the closure of All Saint’s and St Mary’s hospitals and councillors and MPs of all political persuasions come and go.
In more recent years I’ve reported on the multi-million pound refurbishment of the town centre, the new building between a refurbished Congress Theatre and Winter Garden, seen more houses built than ever before, the demolition of the Wish Tower Restaurant and a massive drop in central government funding to local authorities leading to some services being cut to the bone.
I like to think they have been covered with honest and trusted reporting as the Herald always strives to tell people how it is.
And then there are the campaigns – most notably Save the Downs to stop the farm leases being sold off and helping raise money to get the iconic Beachy Head Lighthouse’s traditional red and white hoops repainted when Trinity House said it was skint.
I have also been lucky enough to work alongside various organisations and charities which have never and still don’t get the recognition they deserve for all they do in helping people when statutory services simply can’t cope.
The most important part of the job though has always been the people and I am lucky enough to have worked with and trained with the best: Sally Wellings, Barry Lane, Hugh Rowlings and the late, great photographer Terry Connolly.
I will be especially eternally grateful to Peter Austin for such a great career in journalism.
The Herald is a small team and has been my family for so long - Laura Sonier, Steve Holloway, Julia Northcott, Juliet Mead, Inge Keats, Susan King, Derren Howard and former colleagues Russ Perkins, Ken McEwan and the late Rupert Taylor, plus our newest additions, India Wentworth and Jacob Panons.
I will miss them enormously. And members of the public too who have made every single day different and rewarding.
I’ve had an absolute ball.