Long-serving Sentinel court reporter among three journalists honoured with MBEs

Three long-serving journalists were recognised in the New Year Honours – two from Press Assocation and one from The Sentinel in Stoke.

All three were awarded the MBE.

Deric Henderson retired earlier this year as the PA’s Ireland editor and Geoff Meade was European editor until 2012.

Dianne Gibbons was recognised for her 52-year career at the Sentinel in Stoke.

Henderson, who joined the PA in 1980 and was named Northern Ireland journalistof the year in 2010, said: "It only seems like yesterday when I presented myself for work in a tiny Dickensian-like office at the Tyrone Constitution.
"Journalism was all I ever wanted to do and I've been incredibly lucky. I've had a front-row seat for over 40 years.

"Watching and observing wasn't always easy on the eye, especially when the Troubles were at their worst, but there has rarely been a day when I wasn't glad to be part of a great, rewarding and very privileged profession which took me all over the world."

Meade joined the PA in 1974 and was appointed Brussels correspondent in 1979, a post he held for more than three decades.

In 2008 he won a European journalism award and the following year the European Commission officially named the area of the Commission press bar where he filed stories "Meade Corner" – complete with brass nameplate.

Meade said: “The Press Association sent me to Brussels in 1979 to keep an eye on Britain in Europe and a few weeks later Mrs Thatcher was elected prime minister for the first time, and you could say it's been all go since.

"The joy of reporting for the agency has always been having an open brief, fully covering the positive aspects of the EU – yes, there are some – as well as 'bent banana syndrome'."

Gibbons has spent much of her career reporting on court but she also written abgout music interviewing stars including Mick Jagger, Tom Jones. Cilla Black and Elton John.

She told the Sentinel: "I always wanted to write and stepping through the revolving doors of the Evening Sentinel building in Trinity Street, Hanley, was the first step on the ladder to achieve my ambition. I have never regretted becoming a journalist. It’s the best job in the world."

 "I have had an incredible life as a journalist and have always respected my local paper.

"During my time at The Sentinel I have served seven editors and countless news editors and said hello and goodbye to many hundreds of colleagues.

"I am absolutely thrilled to receive this honour. I have known for the past six weeks and I don’t know how I managed to keep the news quiet for so long."

Senior legal adviser at North Staffordshire Justice Centre Mike Williams told the paper: "Dianne has been a part of daily court life for as long as anyone remembers. It is wonderful to see such an award being given to a person such as her, recognising all her hard work and dedication over many years."

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