Really early days 

In April 2018 I was delighted to get an out-of-the-blue e-mail from James Wheildon in Shanghai . . . one of the very earliest journalism students in Sheffield, in the year before the courses moved to the new Richmond College.


I asked him what he was doing nowadays, and if he could name his fellow students from 1969/70. Here is his reply . . .




I have many fond memories of Sheffield, one of them sausage sandwiches at a pub called The Museum at two shillings each.  I lived in digs on Richmond Road for my first term, then moved with friends to Heeley near Bramall Lane. Eye opening times!


I have spent over 30 years and two spells at both The Times and The Wall Street Journal, after starting out on the Eastern Daily Press in Norwich and associated papers, and finishing up at The National in Abu Dhabi, and latterly Shanghai Daily, where I still am, though I will be retiring next month.


As to the 16-strong class of 1969-1970, I can remember all the names, but am sketchy on their career details.


The 16 are: Deborah (Debbie) Dunthorne; Miranda Merry; Jean Gilbert;

Irene McManus; me; Robert Scallon; Ian Walker; Ian Vickers; Charles Anderson (deceased); Martin Brodie;  Henry Bedford; Paul Armstrong;

Brian Harrigan and Bill Anslow (see Gerry's footnote);  Dave Simpson; Charles Gray.


Robert, after working on newspapers in Portsmouth and Bath after leaving college, worked in WA and Sydney, returned to Britain as a freelance travel journalist in the early 1980s, before returning to Australia and an over-20-year career with the Australia's ABC.


Bill was a sub and also Production Editor on The Sun and The News of the World for over three decades from the mid 1970s. He has also worked in China.


Charles worked in Bristol in the 1970s, and on the South China Morning Post as features editor in the 1980s. He stayed in Hong Kong for many years, later working as a freelance, specialising in aircraft copy. He died about 10 years ago.


Brian was a rock music journalist. Henry  was a press officer with, I think, the Red Cross in the early 1980s, and Martin  was a press officer with Rolls-Royce for many years.


Irene  was freelancing in SW England in the 1980s with, if I recall correctly, work published  in the Guardian.  Ian Vickers spent his working life as a sports journalist with the Sheffield papers, and Ian Walker worked in Sheffield and later Bristol in the 1970s.


Debbie was working in Norfolk as a freelance journalist in the mid 1970s, specialising in property. No idea of what happened to Charles Gray, Dave Simpson, Paul Armstrong, Jean Gilbert or Miranda Merry.




GERRY'S FOOTNOTE:  It turns out that 'Bill Anslow' has become Dr James Alan Anslow and lives in Suffolk.  He has followed a far-from-conventional path . . . he is now a researcher in the field of depth psychology - 'the psychoanalytic study of unconscious influence on the mind, culture and society'. (He's still one of us though - he still freelances as a sub on the Sun's Sunday edition!)


Brian Harrigan worked on the Burton Daily Mail after leaving college, but he got his dream job in1974 when he joined Melody Maker. 'It was on Fleet Street in those days, and I really felt I'd arrived,' he says. Since his MM days hehas been involved with 'video journalism and a few books'.


Delighted to spot my webpage reference to his old classmates, he wrote to me to say: 'Thanks for the website.  You deserve the OBE  . . . the Old Blokes' Euphoria award!'