Sat, 13 April, 2024


Spring!

AS mad March tires itself out and we await April’s showers, I am struck by the awesome show of spring flowers this year.

The cheerful early daffs are fading now, but the grape hyacincth, primulas, tulips (I have just the one!), pansies, primroses and hellebores are all showing off outrageously.

The blue tits are busy flitting back and forth from their nesting box, while the starlings (Latin name, appropriately, Sturnus vulgaris), have wrecked the birds’ feeding station.

We do have reasons to be cheerful. Ed.                                                 (pic: ming-jun-tan/unsplash)

Do you know what Day it is?

A LITTLE whimsy, if you will, to brighten your Random Acts of Kindness Day…

Spring isn’t far away, but first we have to endure dark and grey February. What is it about February? Is it the bleakest month of all? After the hoohah of Christmas and New Year, frumpy February suffers a character bypass and stubbornly drags its feet while we anxiously wait for better weather and more daylight.

Valiant snowdrops and crocus are doing their best to liven up my garden, but it’s mostly looking rather soggy and wintry out there. I know it is winter and I shouldn’t wish my life away, but I really want my daffs to hurry up.

I cheered myself up on Shrove Tuesday with a banquet of pancakes and Cava, a minor oasis of indulgence during unloved February. My enjoyment lasted about as long as the bubbles.

But the date got me thinking about other memorable days in February (I know, I should get out more), and surfing the web, as you do, I found this marvellous website: https://www.thereisadayforthat.com

I shouldn’t be surprised to learn there’s a website for “awareness days”! Thereisadayforthat covers hundreds of special days which are celebrated in every corner of the world, but you can also check out the awareness calendar for a specific country.

I discovered that in the UK during February – apart from the obvious charity days and venerables such as the aforementioned Shrove Tuesday, Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s – we can also celebrate British Yorkshire Pudding Day (Feb 4th); National Sickie Day (5th); Ice Cream for Breakfast Day (6th); and Drink Wine Day (18th). And on Feb 27, why not enjoy the magnificently named World Spay Day?

All that made me smile, so I looked further ahead in the calendar. Now I have to decide whether to celebrate British Pie week, beginning on March 4; Dog Theft Awareness Day on March 14; National Black Pudding Day on March 18; or Wear A Hat Day (I kid you not) on March 28.

Then I checked out some birthdates. I know my birthday falls on St Matthew’s Day, but I’m delighted to learn it also coincides with Telegraph Pole Appreciation Day. How novel, I must remember to hug a Pole!

My friend Bill shares his birthday with St George and William Shakespeare – but I bet he doesn’t know it’s also National Macaron Day! (Not to be confused with macaroons, they don’t have a special day – yet.)

If it’s your birthday on Sept 4, you can celebrate Eat an Extra Dessert Day. April 4? It’s International Carrot Day! National Smile Month begins on May 16. You could have a ball in June with National Fish and Chip Day on the 7th, World Gin Day on the 8th, swiftly followed by National Beer Day on June 15th.

I could go on; there are awareness days for just about everything. I vote we should have a Hurry Up Springtime Day. Ed. (Image: Bich Tran, Pexels.com)

Join the no-resolution revolution!

I’m not making any New Year resolutions this time round, it’s always so boringly predictable when I break them!

But here at the AMP we resolve to continue to represent and support all our members during the coming year.

And, of course, we wish you all a happy, and, probably more importantly, a healthy 2024 and beyond.  Ed. (Image: pexels-freestocksorg)

Merry Christmas and a Happy New year!

Wishing all our members and their families a very merry Christmas, and a happy and healthy 2024 and beyond.

Sign up to build Fleet Street’s Heritage Wall

Regular visitors to this website will be aware of the AMP’s support of the Fleet Street Heritage Project, co-ordinated by the tireless PIERS NICHOLSON (see previous posts/Mirror Pensioner). And now you can help secure a permanent heritage wall beneath the wonderful Fleet Street sundial, pictured. (There is an image of a mock-up of the wall below; the finished pieces will be ceramic.)

Piers writes: “Ever since the newspapers left in the 1980s, Fleet Street has lost a bit of its zing every year. Big banks and law firms have come – and gone. And there’s little to show that Fleet Street was once the heart of the newspaper industry.

We need to put the heritage back into Fleet Street. I’ve been busy lately trying to advance the Heritage Wall underneath the sundial in Bouverie Street, and floating out an online petition about it. Please sign the petition here https://chng.it/SSzWxnvkhm

“We’ve been working successfully on the Heritage project for four years. We’ve designed and installed the amazing Fleet Street Heritage Sundial, which has the names of five heritage newspapers spread over a 10-metre wall.

“We created 70 information panels telling many stories of the fascinating past of this iconic area and have exhibited these panels as temporary exhibitions in five local locations. We’ve done this with no paid staff, and kind help from volunteers. We are the Fleet Street Heritage Community Interest Company (CIC), a non-profit organisation created in 2020. We have been able to raise funds for these projects from the City of London CIL Neighbourhood Fund. It’s amazing what good ideas and a lot of persistence will do.

“We need planning permission for our next important project: Our Open House exhibition in September 2023 displayed 56 of our panels at a site adjoining Fleet Street and drew plenty of attention from passers-by who really appreciated the wealth of information presented. Many signed our petition to make it permanent. We have a great story to tell, and this is a great way to tell it.

“The City already has two heritage excellent walls, though both are in somewhat out-of-the-way places. The marvellous tiled wall in Magpie Alley off Bouverie Street tells the story of the early printing industry in words and pictures. The Queenhithe mosaic panel tells the story of the City of London from Roman times in an excellent 30-metre display.

“We are more likely to get permission if there is plenty of support. Please sign our petition https://chng.it/SSzWxnvkhm which reads: “We urge the City of London Corporation to do everything in its power to establish a permanent, openly accessible exhibition of ceramic tiles incorporating as many as possible of the information panels displayed at the Open House 2023.”

“There is also this book of our website, available from Amazon at £17.99, from the Temple Church for £15, or we can take bulk orders at £12 each here: www.fleetstreetheritage.co.u/bookshop.html The book measures 9 x 6, and contains all the pages currently on the website.”

Annual meetings – London and Glasgow

 

SOME of the attendees at the AMP AGM 2023, held at St Bride Institute, off Fleet St

THE AMP’s annual general meeting 2023 in London, and our Scots’ annual meeting in Glasgow, were completed successfully this month. Full reports will appear in Mirror Pensioner, Spring 2024.

All members of the MGN Pension Scheme will shortly receive a Member Update from Quentin Woodley, Independent Chairman of MGN Pension Trustees Ltd, outlining the latest news about the Scheme’s actuarial valuations as at December 31, 2019 and 2022.

Mirror Pensioner is on its way – plus AGM reminder

IT’S that time again! Your autumn 2023 Mirror Pensioner magazine is at the printers, and should clatter through members’ letterboxes during the first week of October.

Plenty of time for you to read all about this year’s AGM which is on Tuesday, October 17, at St Bride Institute, 14 Bride Lane, Fleet Street, London EC4Y 8EQ. And about our Scottish annual meeting on Tuesday, October 24, at The Studio, 67 Hope Street, Glasgow G2 6AE.

This autumn issue of Mirror Pensioner is a 16-page special – there’s a four-page centre section devoted to the late Andrew Golden’s personal account of the fight for our pensions in the aftermath of Robert Mawell’s death, with contributions from other leading figures of the day.

We’ve also got chairman Deborah Thomas’s thoughts on buy-ins, and treasurer Ray Evans’s financial and membership reports. He also re-visits his perptual quest to track down our missing members. (Don’t forget to tell the AMP if you move house!)

You can also read secretary Gerald Mowbray’s annual review; an Elvis-themed Chairman’s Chat; and a fascinating feature about an ambitious 90-year-old. There’s a story about a marathon journey; a piece about the Daily Record war memorial; your chance to save Fleet Street’s history – and much, much more.

 

 

 

Grab your 15 minutes of fame

PIERS NICHOLSON, editor of The Heritage of Fleet Street project, wants to hear from YOU.

We flagged up the enterprise in an earlier news story (see below), and now Piers – his credentials are impeccable, his uncle, Basil Nicholson, was among those who “created” the modern Daily Mirror – wants more help from the AMP.

He says: “Very many thanks for the AMP’s generous coverage of our website, it’s much appreciated. https://www.fleetstreetheritage.co.uk/ has done a really useful job in pulling together information about many aspects of the heritage of Fleet Street, and I am quite pleased with our progress so far. (One of the Heritage of Fleet Street panels on display outside the iconic Telegraph building during re-development is pictured above.)

“But we particularly want new pages about what it was like to work in all areas of Fleet Street, whether from an editor, sub-editor, writer, photographer, reporter, art desk, an in-house lawyer, a secretary, a compositor, a typesetter, reels, a reader, a messenger – or any of the many other trades involved, including support and non-production departments such as circulation, transport, advertising, despatch riders, publishing, finance, personnel (as it was likely called then) catering, publicity, and security, to name but a few. The list is long.

“Our website would be much improved with a few real-life descriptions, including: ‘My schooling, how I got into the newspapers, what the first day was like, the actual job, how I interacted with management, colleagues and unions, etc.’

“If you would like to tell us your work/life story, from school to when you joined the newspaper industry, into your early days and beyond through to retirement, it would make a really interesting page for visitors to our website. Many of them have no idea what a tough, hardworking, vibrant community Fleet Street was.

“Mirror Group pensioners are uniquely placed to help us to add some human-interest stories, describing what it was actually like to work in Fleet Street in its heyday.”

A panorama of the Heritage panels displayed at the Telegraph in Fleet Street while the building undergoes re-development

❖ If you are interested in submitting your story for inclusion in the Heritage of Fleet Street project, please give Piers Nicholson a ring on 07909 747335, or send him an email here: fleetstreetheritage@gmail.com

Do you remember ALAN FAIRCLOUGH?

An appeal from Alan Fairclough’s son, Adam

I am writing to ask whether any former Mirror Group employees recall my late father, Alan Fairclough. He joined the paper in 1947 as a reporter.

He headed the Paris office in 1952-53, and was chief leader writer from 1954 until his death in 1973. He also served as literary editor for a number of years, regularly reviewing books.

Although his contemporaries are no longer with us, there might be some younger Mirror men and women whose careers overlapped with his.

I am writing a short account of his career as a journalist and would be grateful to hear of any memories, observations, and anecdotes.

I should have started this project ten years ago, when more of Dad’s contemporaries were still alive, but I only really became interested a couple of years back, when, in my retirement, I started reading all those Fleet Street memoirs and began to realize what an extraordinary time the Cudlipp era was.

I have been through the British Newspaper Archive and pulled out all the (hundreds) of Dad’s signed articles. Unfortunately, most of the cuttings books that contained his leader columns have been lost, though I have some from the late 1960s, as well as all his book review columns.

If you remember Alan Fairclough please do get in touch with me. My email address is: fairclough_52@hotmail.com

My phone here in the U.S. is (001)202-248-1428 (landline); (+001)202-297-7865 (mobile).

Thank you, I look forward to hearing your stories and memories.

ADAM FAIRCLOUGH

 

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