Reporter who 'caught the moon' retires after 50 years

The journalist who was instrumental in securing what had been called the ‘scoop of the century’for the Daily Express has retired after 50 years in journalism.

Terry Pattinson started his career in 1962 with the Blaydon Courier after a short spell in the civil service and later worked for the Newcastle Chronicle and Journal, The Sun, Daily Express and Daily Mirror.

He has spent the last five years working as a reporter for the Slough Express.

In in around 1967 Pattinson secured the first pictures of the dark side of the moon for the Daily Express in a story headlined ‘Express catches the moon”.

It was Pattinson who found out the Russians were using the same photographic technology as that used by newspapers, to send photos back from space, and who arranged for the Express to send the necessary machinery to the Jodrell Bank observatory.

His biggest scoop at the Slough Express was discovering that former Pakistan dictator Pervez Musharaff was hosting a meeting of 150 Muslims in the Slough Town Hall council chamber under an assumed name.

He said: “It was great fun because I had coffee and chocolate biscuits with General Musharaff in the mayor’s parlour. Only the mayor was let into the secret at the last minute and even the chief executive was in the dark. The rival Observer did not get a sniff of the story.”

Pattinson paid tribute to Maidenhead Advertiser (owner of the Slough Express) editor Martin Trepte and his staff.

He said: “I have never worked with nicer colleagues. Martin and his colleagues produce great weekly papers.”

Shrugging off questions about the future of newspapers, Pattinson said: ‘When I joined the Daily Express in 1965 people were saying that it was a dying title. When I was 19 a manager at Newcastle employment exchange said I wouldn’t go into newspapers son if I was you because it’s a dying industry.

‘People will always want to sit down with a cup of tea of coffee and read a well written article, that’s what newspapers are all about.’

Pattinson said he now wants to spend time travelling and spending more time with his partner Valerie, children and grand-children. He said he would love it if his epitaph was ‘the man who caught the moon”.

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