Commons praise for the 'Sage of Sussex'

Sussex MPs have tabled a Commons motion to mark Argus journalist Adam Trimingham’s 30 years of reporting on Brighton, writes Dominic Ponsford.

Trimingham, who retires next month, was praised for a “career marked by the highest standards of professional integrity” and for his “ability to be controversial and thought-provoking”. The motion also noted his “respect for people, places and events about which he writes” and even mentioned his “daily dips into the sea”.

Trimingham, 61, said the gesture was “remarkable, worrying and completely unexpected” and commented: “The only bit that’s true is the bit about the dips in the sea.” The motion was tabled by Labour MP David Lepper and was also signed by MPs from the other two main parties.

Trimingham began his career on local papers in London and his weekly Argus column, the Sage of Sussex, has been going since 1977. He also writes the daily leader columns and covers Brighton politics.

The top story he ever covered was the Brighton bomb, he said. “It was the biggest story there’s ever been in Brighton’s history, let alone my short tenure here. I remember being in The Grand Hotel at 1am in the morning, having written the last of my stories, going home and then being woken up at 3am by one of our timekeepers saying ‘I think there’s been a bomb at The Grand’. I went down and got on the roof of the conference centre next door and then went back to the office. We got the whole office in by 5am.”

When asked why he has stayed in the same job so long, he said: “I like the variety and I really do love the physical process of slinging a few words together and getting some sort of order out of it. I also quite like the wary friendship you have with politicians.”

Argus assistant editor Phil Mills said: “He’s an eccentric, he swims in the sea every day, he set a record for 800 consecutive days, he’s never driven a car and never owned a watch. He’s learnt how to read other people’s watches upside down.

“He’s greatly admired by colleagues, readers and the community for integrity, fair reporting, prolific writing and his honest approach to the job.”

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