Posted: September 28th, 2020
WHILE masterminding coverage of 10 major news stories as news editor of the Daily Mirror – including the Hillsborough and P&O ferry disasters – apart from routine daily coverage, Tom Hendry continued as a freelance, pulling in the big ones by persuading key families caught up in the media spotlight to give their exclusive accounts.
These included the sons of canoe conman John Darwin, for both the Sunday Mirror and Mail on Sunday; the innocent husband of nursery school paedophile Vanessa George (News of the World); and Debbie Garlick, the fiancee of Adrian Prout, who was exposed by a lie detector as his wife’s killer. He had always claimed she’d left him and simply disappeared.
Tom obtained these high-profile interviews while working for Thames Valley based freelance agency INS, which re-structured last year. Now 77, he continues to freelance.
Prior to coming to London to be the Mirror’s deputy news editor for Mike Molloy, Tom worked at the Sunday Mirror in Manchester where he helped pull off several big exclusives.
It was there he received a Hugh Cudlipp award for his coverage of a Coronation Street actress who was ill with cancer – which was so successful in terms of piling on circulation, executives deemed it should run for four weeks.
In London, he organised coverage of several major tragedies, including the Lockerbie air crash and the scandal of Fergie, the Duchess of York, having her toes sucked by a boyfriend.
After Robert Maxwell’s death, the Mirror’s London office in Holborn was drastically re-organised. Tom was promoted to assistant editor, but took redundancy, working briefly at The Sun and at the Star, where he was promoted to deputy news editor of the late Brian Hitchen’s Sunday Express.
Then he joined the Mail on Sunday as its news editor.
However, that role ended three years later when the editor made several changes after misjudging the mood of the country by backing the Tories to win the General Election, which saw Tony Blair sweep into No 10!
After that Tom worked in PR before agreeing to help news agency INS to set up a features department. He was with the agency until last year.
The father of three, who lives in Staines, Middlesex, is married to Jacqui Thake, a sub-editor and travel writer on the Sunday Mirror.
He said: “Like every newspaper, the Mirror is going through hard times during the coronavirus pandemic, but I hope I to make an impact and safeguard our members.”
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