A loyalty hard to find today

May I take this opportunity to salute the retiring editor of the
Barking & Dagenham Post, Dave Russell (Press Gazette , 18 February).

I
joined the rival title, the Barking Advertiser , at about the same time
Dave joined the Post and we soon joined battle by writing what were
then called youth columns.

It was our good fortune to be
reporting in the Beatles era, vying for exclusive tittle-tattle about
local stars such as Brian Poole and the Tremeloes, Sandie Shaw, David
Essex and Tony Rivers and the Castaways.

We also met up in
council meetings, courtrooms and police stations as we sought to scoop
each other in days when local paper competition was as fierce – maybe
fiercer – than red-top rivalry today.

Dave was a more than worthy
opponent who unflappably went about his job with a dedication and
determination which ensured that he would become an editor.

After three-and-a-half years I left the Advertiser , which was later “merged” into Dave’s beloved Post, a victory of sorts.

But
Dave ensured that, despite the Post’s monopoly in Dagenham during his
12-year editorship, he made his paper as readable as ever.

The
Dave Russells of journalism – loyal to their craft and loyal to people
of their circulation areas – are few and far between in modern times.
He deserves his retirement and I wish him and his wife, Julie – another
tireless journalist – well in what I hope will be a long future.

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