Mon, 26 October, 2020

Delano’s Italian job

For news of Tony Delano’s latest novel, please go to Members’ Noticeboard

New Patron for AMP

THE AMP has a new Patron.

Our previous House of Commons Patron has been elevated to the House of Lords – former Labour MP Ian Austin is now Baron Austin of Dudley – and we’re absolutely chuffed to announce that we have a new Patron representing the AMP in the lower house.

Meet Christine Jardine.

Christine was approached by friend and AMP Committee member Malcolm Speed. In his invitation, he explained: “On November 5 this year it will be 30 years since Robert Maxwell drowned off his yacht Lady Ghislaine. You will recall these events from your former role as Editor of PA in Scotland.

“That event on Bonfire Night led to the discovery of the theft by Maxwell of pension fund money, some of which we were fortunate to have returned. Others were not so fortunate.

“I can only remind you that when we discovered Maxwell had plundered the pension fund,
the then editor of the Daily Mirror said : ‘Our watchdogs didn’t bark.’

“We now seek always to be on guard, which is why I am writing to you on behalf of the AMP.”

On accepting her new role, Christine said: “I would be delighted to be your champion in the Commons.”

Christine, 60, has been the Liberal Democrat MP for Edinburgh West since June, 2017, and is the LibDems Treasury spokesperson. She is also speaks for the LibDems on Brexit, and was their Home Affairs spokesperson and spokesperson for Women and Equalities from 2019 to 2020.

Before entering politics, Christine was an Edinburgh-based journalist and broadcaster who had written for the Scotsman, worked for the BBC and was editor of the Press Association in Scotland. Christine taught both post- and undergraduate students at the University of the West of Scotland, having run the postgraduate practical journalism course at the Scottish Centre for Journalism Studies for five years.

Christine has one daughter who is studying at the University of Edinburgh. Her late husband, Calum Macdonald was also a journalist.

Originally from a comfortable working-class background, Christine learned early in life about family support and encouragement. This was brought home to Christine when her father died at the age of just 44, leaving her Mum to look after her and her two sisters aged eight and 13. They had the support they needed but Christine saw how easy it would have been for them to have slipped through the net.

There will be a full report about all our Patrons in the spring Mirror Pensioner.

Tom Hendry joins AMP Committee

THE AMP has a new committee member – heavyweight news veteran Tom Hendry, pictured.

Tom, 77, served as news editor and assistant editor on the Daily Mirror, was deputy news editor of the Sunday Express, and later news editor of the Mail on Sunday. He freelances to this day.

Tom is married to Sunday Mirror journo Jacqui Thake.

Over the years, Tom has masterminded coverage of countless major news stories – including the Hillsborough tragedy, the Zeebrugge ferry disaster, the Locker­bie air crash – and Sarah Ferguson’s toe-sucking shame.

He said: “Like every newspaper, the Mirror is going through hard times because of the coronavirus pandemic, but I hope to make an impact and help safeguard our members.” (Please go to About Us>The Committee.)

It’s nearly time…

COMING soon through your letterbox, another full-colour, 16-page Mirror Pensioner, packed with news, views and features.

And it’s exclusive to AMP members only.

Our AGM has been postponed

THE Association’s 2020 annual general meeting in London, and the Scottish annual meeting in Glasgow, have been postponed until next spring.

This decision illustrates how the Covid crisis has made life so much more difficult – and was prompted by fears over risks to our members using public transport, together with difficulties over venue availability.

Assuming current lockdown restrictions have significantly eased by then, our AGM 2020, originally booked for October 13 this year, will now take place on Tuesday, April 20, 2021 at the usual St Alban’s Centre, Holborn.

The AMP’s 2019-20 financial accounts, together with those for year-ending March 31, 2020, will be presented for formal approval at the rearranged AGM.

The Scottish annual meeting will follow on Tuesday, April 27, 2021 at the usual SDR & SM venue.

Further updates will be given in Mirror Pensioner – as well as on this website.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

Be on your guard

The campaigning organisation for pensioners in the UK, the National Pensioners’ Convention, has released valuable guidance on current scams affecting people of a certain age. You can read more about their actitivies on their website:

Here’s the gen.

TV Licensing
TV Licensing has started sending letters to anyone aged over 75 asking them either to pay for their TV licence or apply for a free one. Their letter will include your licence number, your title and your last name and they will only ask you to pay using the following options:
By post using the address TV Licensing, PO Box 578, Darlington DL98 1AN
Online at or
Over the phone on 0300 790 6151
If you are contacted and asked to pay for your TV licence using a different phone number, a different website or by posting your details to a different address, this is a scam.

TV Licensing will not come to your doorstep to collect the licence fee if you are over 75, so anyone who claims to do so is also a scammer.

If you’re unsure about anything, you can call TV Licensing on 0300 303 9695.

Some people are receiving texts offering a free TV licence for a year. They are asked to text your bank details back to them in order to get the free licence. Please don’t respond to this text, it is a scam and you have the potential to lose your money and your identity.

Other emails claim you owe money to the TVLA and urge ypu to go online to pay it. Some emails also state you could go to court if you don’t pay. It’s a scam.

Letters supposedly from Television Licensing Authority (TVLA) say your details need updating because there is something wrong. They ask you to go online and put your personal details in. Again this is a scam.

As time passes, we are likely to see more scams around the TV licence issue, so please make sure you check by making a phone call that whatever you have received is legitimate.

TVLA will always use the last part of your post code. along with your TV licence number in all communications with you you.

NHS Test & Trace
The original scam on this was shut down by the Fraud Action Line. However, it is operating from another phone number and will text you asking for payment. The NHS will never ask you to pay. Report to Fraud Action Line on 0300 123 2040

COVID-19 If you get offers of cheap sanitiser, masks, or test equipment is likely to be a scam. In some cases, the sanitiser has been known to cause damage to the skin. Do not pay for test equipment. The NHS or your GP will offer it free.

For more information on these scams and others, use these links:



Remembering Bobby Betts

A SERVICE for BOBBY BETTS has been arranged by his family on Friday, July 31, followed by a wake.

Due to current restrictions, attendance has to be limited and, unfortunately, an open invitation is not possible. However, we are posting these details so that friends and colleagues who can’t attend can have their own thoughts for Bobby and raise a glass on the day. The service is at 4pm; the wake at 6pm.

For the past few years Bobby had been volunteering at the Resolve Night Shelter in Hatfield – and has been nominated by them for a posthumous Hero of Hertfordshire award. If you would like to offer any level of donation or a final parting gift for Bobby, the family ask that you donate directly to the Hatfield shelter in tribute to his memory, via this link:

If you are unable to attend the wake but would like to receive a memorial booklet, or you would like to contact Bobby’s family, please use the Contact Us Form from the drop-down menu, and we will ensure your message is passed on to them.

Reach resumes pension deficit payments

In a recent wide-ranging financial press report, which included some grim news on job losses at Reach, the company stated: “Delivering for all stakeholder groups: The accelerated strategy and new structure will enable Reach to end the previously announced temporary pay cuts for all colleagues except for the CEO, CFO and other Board members, whose pay will continue to be subject to a 20 per cent reduction. All annual bonus schemes relating to 2020 remain suspended. The company will also resume its monthly contributions towards historic pension deficits following the deferral announced in April. The Reach Board recognises the importance of a dividend to our shareholders and will keep future dividends under review, restarting payments when it is appropriate to do so.”

Goodbye, Vera

We posted this outstanding example of top-class journalism in June 2020, following the death of forces’ sweetheart Dame Vera Lynn. The caption read: A front page that says it all

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