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More letters

As I have already pointed out, the messages on the Letters Page slowly accumulated over  about  12 years,  and the collection became ridiculously lengthy.  But, because  it seemed wrong to delete even the oldest  contributions, I created this 'More letters' page  in 2020.


  So off we go again . . .



     AGAIN, A REMINDER . . .


    The years have rolled on by, and it's likely that only a handful of

    the writers will still be in the places they mention.



Michelle Daniels (1985) writes from Cambridgeshire:

It’s Michelle here from the  pre-entry class of 1985. I’ve been enjoying the anecdotes on your ‘Teachingjournos’ website and so many memories of what is still one of the best years of my life have come hurtling back like a Nunez volley (I’m a Liverpool fan, although not a Scouser). What a fabulous read it is!

I’ve never forgotten you and Ron, still among the best mentors I’ve ever had. As the years have ticked by I’ve come to realise what passion, rigour and integrity truly mean. You and Ron (RIP) had those qualities on tap and I feel privileged that our paths crossed all those years ago.

Sadly I didn’t stay in touch with any of my classmates but, looking online, I see that a few scaled the heights. As for me, I was sacked from my first job on the Isle of Wight - the Richmond College way of doing things was never going to work there! However, I went on to have a varied career on titles including the Surrey Mirror Series, Bristol Evening Post, Angling Times (where I became the paper’s first female features editor) and the kids football magazine Match, eventually going freelance to devote more time to family commitments and music-related projects.

One of my fondest memories of my year in Sheffield was our class visit to your home high in the hillside of Matlock Bath with great food, sauna, piano playing and lots of laughter. It would probably never be allowed now but I will always treasure that evening. Big thanks again for your part in putting the right foundations in place for my life and career.

Fiona Pentith (1971/72) writes from Warwickshire:

I stumbled across this wonderful website when I was having a nostalgic look online at photos of Sheffield in the 70s.
I was among the 1971/72 intake at Richmond. When I left college I followed the usual route in journalism. Initially I went to the Wisbech Standard but hated it. I completed my three months probation and moved to the Salisbury Times & Journal where I had excellent training. I completed my three years indentures and left for London. The shorthand and typing mastered at Richmond helped me through some office temp jobs before I joined the PR department at Jetro (Japan's semi-governmental trade organisation). Sounds dull but it was a dream job with perks galore.

  After two years I moved to Chappells music publishers, organising publicity and PR for petulant pop stars.
Next I decided to leave London and return to newspapers so I moved to the Winchester district office of the Southern Evening Echo. I spent ten years covering the crown courts and had a lucrative sideline as a stringer for the nationals. Following move was to the company's head office in Southampton as a sub-editor and senior page planner.
  Cyprus had always been my second home. I first visited the island a few years after the war of 1974 when there were no tourists, no resorts or charter flights. I fell in love with life there and wanted to live there. My editor at Southampton gave me a sabbatical in the vain hope I would change my mind. It didn't work. I handed in my notice, sold my home, shipped my car and belongings to the island in 1991. I found a job as a writer and sub on an international business magazine for a few years. Also worked in Dubai when it was a booming business hub with no tourists. The happiest days of my life were in Cyprus. I lived and worked as a Cypriot. I would still be there today except I came back to the UK to look after my mother.
I often wonder what happened to my college colleagues. I am in close contact with just one. I'm sure many of us would have stayed in touch if we had social media in the old days.


Peter Devine (1990/91) writes from Manchester:

After leaving college in 1991, I worked on The Clitheroe Advertiser where I uncovered the story of a top secret mission during WWII  to develop Frank Whittle's jet engine. Many of those who worked there were still alive back then and told me stories about how they had to keep quiet about the project. I wrote a series of features which culminated in a big reunion in Clitheroe. A blue plaque went up in the town and the town museum acquired one of the jet prototypes. In the course of that I interviewed Sir Frank Whittle, and singer Frank Ifield whose father worked there.

   I then took four years out to do an American Studies degree at Manchester University, and while I was there I worked on various local papers. In my third university year I was at Colorado College, and also spent time in Chicago, where I interned at ABC TV/Channel 7, and worked with the Rev Jesse Jackson on a live programme called Affirmative Action Under Fire.

  After graduating in 1997 I went as a senior reporter to the Todmorden News where I was kind of minding my own business until Harold Shipman came along. I was tipped off that the said Doc had worked there for 30 months during the mid 1970s. I went to Preston to cover his trial and was behind his wife in the public gallery as he was sentenced for murdering 15 patients. Prior to that I had set up my own investigation into him in which I measured the number of deaths that occurred while he was in Todmorden and compared them to before he arrived and after he left. It led to me being described by crime-writer Wensley Clarkson as the first journalist to prove Shipman had killed elsewhere.

   I won the Newspaper Society's UK weekly journalist of the year in 2002. In 2003 I became chief reporter on the Stockport Express and moved onto the Manchester Evening News seven years later. In 2013 I went freelance and have worked on a number of papers, including the Bolton News and the Warrington Guardian, and written features for the Yorkshire Post and the Press Association.

My advice to young journalists is to own the story, because that's how you get the most out of it, put YOURSELF on the line!

Steve Garnsey writes from Godalming:


What a great trip down memory lane your website’s provided, Gerry. Thank you for putting it together. I look forward to reading it in depth in the coming days. I was referred to it by Keith Hursthouse after we got in touch through our mutual membership of the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading. We were part of the full-time cohort of 1979/80 at Richmond College In addition to Keith, the classmates whose names I recall are Steve Caddy, Charlotte Nicol, Ruth Pullin, Mat Dyson, Martin Feakin, Charlie Lees, Zoe Clough and Charles Hutchinson, who was a feature writer on the Yorkshire Evening Press during my four years there (1989-93). I also remember Will Bull and Mark Clough, who are sadly no longer with us. After Richmond, I spent 13 years mainly as a district reporter for evening newspapers in Cheltenham, Chepstow, Midsomer Norton, York and their neighbouring towns. Then I had a complete change of direction. I indulged myself in my love of travelling and exploring and spent eight years living abroad independently in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Chile. I taught English as a foreign language (TEFL) before drifting back into journalism in Santiago with something new-fangled: an online news service. I covered South and Central America’s mining and metals industries for Business News Americas. That led to the then SteelWeek in London, published by commodity analysts CRU International. I spent a while in Beijing as an ex-pat setting up an East Asian edition of what had become CRU Steel New I subsequently became editor-in-chief of the publication, but was eventually made redundant in a corporate restructuring. Six years on I still contribute to the company, getting up at 5.20am to do so. I provide five stories each day on major developments in the global mining and metal industries. For deadline fans, I have four hours to provide the goods, but nearly always deliver within 3½ hours. That’s all part of my existence these days as a freelance international business news journalist and editor, as well as freelance content provider, copy-editor and proofreader, based in Godalming. I’ve even done a separate six-week contract for the chap who made me redundant.  Life has some strange twists and turns.

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