Liverpool journalist who started on The People at 19 given lifetime achievement award 60 years later

A journalist celebrating his sixtieth year in the business has been give a Lifetime Achievement Award by Liverpool Press Club.

Ken Bennett, 79, was praised by the club for his “tireless dedication to journalism”.

Club secretary, Chris Johnson (pictured above, left), told a reception on Monday night that Bennett's "articulate style and dogged determination” allowed him to become the youngest ever reporter to join a national Sunday newspaper, The People, at the age of 19.

He worked his way across national papers such as the Sunday Mirror and the Daily Star and later became head of PR for Emap Radio in the late 1980s.

In 1999 he was credited with leading a highly effective crisis management campaign over a potentially prejudicial comment made live on air about  the trial serial killer Harold Shipman.

Before the jury reached its verdict, a DJ on Rock FM complained about the high cost of the trial and said Shipman was "innocent until proved guilty as sin", to which a colleague said "guilty, guilty".

Johnson said Bennett's actions  were so “effective and sure-footed” that the trial judge went on to say in open court the rapid, professional response spared the radio team judicial action.

The award-winning Liverpool-born journalist created the monthly Saddleworth Independent tabloid newspaper in 2010, which has a readership of 12,000 across 13 villages in North West England and is hand delivered to more than 120 outlets.

The ceremony took place in Liverpool’s Adelphi Hotel, during the Liverpool Press Club’s Annual President’s Lunch.

Johnson said Bennett was “called to be a journalist” and added: "It has been my privilege to know him for more than forty years and in that time I have witnessed the remarkable dedication and unerring professionalism he brings to his calling.

“Ken richly merits this honour for the outstanding contribution he has made throughout his career, his own record of achievements, the unselfish manner in which he has fostered talent in young journalists and the benefit he has brought to countless millions, whose lives he has touched and enriched through his journalism.

“As a former press club president, he remains a leading member to the present day.”

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