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50 years in the business – Paul Henderson

Posted: October 28th, 2019

Report and picture from FRANK THORNE

THE great and the good – and some not so good – of Fleet Street turned out en masse on October 23 [2019] to help celebrate a remarkable 50 years in the business of Mirror associate editor PAUL HENDERSON. However, pint in hand, a smiling Henderson insisted: “I have to keep telling people that I’m NOT retiring, I just wanted to mark the occasion.”

“Hendo” as he is affectionately known by friends and colleagues, refused to give his age and joked: “I was like a boy chimney sweep – I started very young. I was about twelve…”

STILL dedicated to the job, Paul was nearly an hour late for his own party because he was editing the Mirror that day, when the big news story was the tragic discovery of the bodies of 39 migrants in a refrigerated container truck on an Essex industrial park. Hendo was delayed arguing with the office lawyer about the legalities of identifying in Irish truck driver who had been arrested at the scene.

I call Hendo an “everywhere man” because he has been practically everywhere in his career, including evening, daily and Sunday newspapers. A real all-rounder and consummate professional.

Paul joined the Mirror team in September 2011. His guest list for his big night at the Oyster Shed near Cannon Street read like a Who’s Who of old and new Fleet Street journalists and photographers.

Those who happily raised a glass to Hendo included plenty of Mirror names including Mark Ellis, Kent Gavin, and myself, along with many current Mirror staff. Another notable guest was Brian Steel, former Daily Star news editor who later joined the Daily Express, where I worked alongside him back in the mid-70s. Brian, who now spends his retirement sailing his yacht round the world, gave Paul his first job in the Street soon after the Star was first published.

After a period at the Evening Standard, Paul moved on to become chief investigative reporter and later executive news editor of the Daily Mail from 1989 to 1996. He moved on to the Mail on Sunday, where he had a stint as news editor and when he suffered repetitive strain injury from signing his own expenses, Hendo became investigations editor. He needed the rest!

After eight years, the time came for another change of direction after his long association with the Mail group, and he moved to the USA to become American correspondent for the Mail and MoS in 2005. Some years later he worked for the Stateside News Inc. agency before finally moving back to London to become a Mirror executive.

It was standing room only in the top bar of the Oyster Shed. Among the guests I chatted to were former Sunday Mirror writer Susie Boniface, former Sunday Mirror associate editor Nick Buckley, Tim Miles and his wife ex-News of the World editor Wendy Henry, Daily Mail Royal reporter Richard Kaye, David Ofield, retired Evening Standard picture editor, and long-time friend of Hendo, veteran Daily Mail photographer Clive Limpkin, Sun crime reporter Mike Sullivan, former Daily Star reporter and ex-Sunday Telegraph news editor Chris Boffey, who was also on the Mirror news desk for a period.

Others present included ex-Express features editor turned radio personality Mike Graham, present Mirror staff Tom Carlin, Dominic Herbert, Dean Rousewell and Chris Hughes. Mirror chief reporter Andy Lines was absent because he was on his way for a combined work and holiday trip to Japan to watch England at the Rugby World Cup finals.

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