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Author Archive: Journalists' Charity

Robin Burgess  is one  one of the regional newspaper industry’s big men  bringing his own brand of passion, integrity, wisdom and love of excellent journalism to our trade. A man who set the highest standards of performance and behaviour he has  always applauded hard work, humility, accuracy and strength of resolve.

He has been the main man at Cumbria Newspapers for 30 years. He is the fourth generation of his family to run the business. His great-grandfather started as a reporter on the Cumberland News in the 19th century, rising to editor and, eventually, buying into the company. His son, grandson and then great grandson, Robin, all succeeded him. After a short service commission in the Army, Robin was trained by Emap in East Anglia, before returning to Cumbria in 1976 and taking over as chief executive in 1985. During his tenure the CN group has thrived … it acquired titles, grew its revenue and moved into magazines, radio and, of course, digital publishing. And while other independent newspapers sold outn to the bigger groups, Robin kept CN fiercely independent and locally owned. Even during the difficult years he remained a trenchant supporter of great newspapers, great journalism and great journalists. The number of awards that his papers have collected, especially at the regional awards, over the years are a testament to his commitment to the quality of his titles. They punch well above their weight. Robin also has an eye for spotting a good editor and persuading them to shun the big-city lights to work in the far North West. Keith Sutton, Neil Hodgkinson, Donald Martin, David Helliwell – to name but a few.

Robin is respected not only for his immense journalistic role but for his community and charity responsibilities. He is steeped in Cumbria life – Chairman of Trustees of The Lake District Calvert Trust, Trustee of Carlisle Cathedral Development Trust, President of Cumbria DeafVision and church warden at All Saints Church in his home village of Scaleby.

His editors, though, talk mostly of his passionate support for his newspapers, his magazines, his journalists and his beloved Cumbria. Robin is a real newspaper man – who loves the big stories and investigations and loves it even more if they have an impact on local people.

This award is sponsored by Gorkana

After the success of our Christmas quiz we are holding a Summer BBQ and quiz on June 19th at the BBC Staff club at Llandaff , Cardiff can-stock-photo_csp8695289

Tickets are £10 each and are limited so will be sold on a first come first served basis
Kick off: 7 pm 

Indoor BBQ: 7.30 with burger, sausage,rolls, potatoes coleslaw and salads.  Veggie option available  –  but please choose when booking on eventbrite ( link below)

Bar:  Open ’til late!

If the weather’s good we can spill out onto the terrace and gardens outside
Food will be followed by a quiz and a raffle with great prizes for both 
All proceeds to the Journalists’ Charity







Ricky’s long career in journalism included 25 years as Foreign Editor of the Daily Telegraph, directing 40 foreign-based correspondents and 80 stringers across the world. He was a member of the Charity’s council from 1980 to 2013 and chairman in 1994 and 1995.

Ricky Marsh, who has died aged 88, was for 25 years The Daily Telegraph’s foreign editor, calmly directing more than 40 foreign-based correspondents as well as home reporters sent out to cover specific stories – and some 80 stringers – around the world.

It was an efficient, predictable and comfortable operation, untrammelled by budgetary restraints, but requiring shrewd judgment on existing stories and their likely development. Marsh and his foreign room team in Fleet Street were supportive and sympathetic to those in the field as long as their stories were filed and postings were kept manned. When a correspondent in Sudan could not contact the office, he rang Marsh at home in Brighton at 3am to say he had not been killed, as the World Service claimed. “You’ve already filed this, of course?” was Marsh’s immediate reply.

Marsh bore with the interventions from the Telegraph’s managing director Peter Eastwood. But when the paper’s Russian specialist was sent to cover a Scottish Nationalist Party meeting the day that Solzhenitsyn was expelled from the Soviet Union, he shouted at the news desk: “You silly buggers! I want him in Germany now… today!”

Unlike reporters on other papers, Marsh’s men in the field did not have their expenses queried; they were never told how and what to write, and could report on offbeat subjects, such as the popularity of Boeuf Stroganoff in Iran after the toppling of the Shah.

Ernest Henry Marsh was born on August 26 1926 and gained the nickname “Ricky” – after Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, the mongoose in The Jungle Book – when he was in the Scouts. He went to Ilford County High School before joining the Ilford Guardian on 7s 6d (37p) a week. With senior staff leaving for the Forces during the war, he was soon running the reporting on the Dagenham Post before being called up to serve underground as a “Bevin boy” in the Nottinghamshire coalfields, from which he was released after a year because of poor eyesight. He was then commissioned into the Royal Army Corps Service and became a PR officer in postwar Germany.

On being demobbed Marsh worked as a news agency reporter for British United Press and Associated Press before joining Reuters, where he received a tip about Winston Churchill’s imminent resignation. This was officially denied for some days, prompting his editor to joke: “Either Churchill goes in 48 hours or you go,” until the prime minister finally resigned.After five years as diplomatic and political correspondent, Marsh crossed Fleet Street to join the Telegraph, though an old hand warned he would not like it. But in 1961 he became foreign editor and went on to supervise the coverage of the fall of the Berlin wall, the Kennedy assassination, the Prague Spring in Czechoslovakia, Watergate and the wars in Vietnam and the Falklands. So dedicated was he to his job that he always slept with the radio on.

When Conrad Black purchased the paper in the mid-1980s, Marsh was moved to managing editor, a job for which he was ideally suited as a discreet executive who would never offer open criticism, whatever he thought privately. He took part in union negotiations, became the ombudsman and guardian of correct procedure. When a Canadian airliner was forced to land in Communist China then sent on to Hong Kong in a news blackout, a correspondent traced its passengers to a hospital where he donned a white coat to conduct his own ward round. Told about this years later Marsh gasped: “Oh, I don’t think the Press Council would have approved of that.”

In retirement he went to Glyndebourne at least twice a year, was a fan of Brighton football club and kept in touch with his correspondents’ widows. He continued to read The Daily Telegraph in hospital until the day before his death.

Ricky Marsh married, in 1956, Kay Ramsay, with whom he had two sons.

Ricky Marsh, born August 26 1926, died March 31 2015



We are delighted to announce our special guest speaker at this year’s West Midlands  celebrity lunch will be Robert Peston, the BBC’s multi-award winning Economics Editor.

When: Friday October 16, 2015

Time: 12.30 start. Ends 15.00

Where: Banqueting Suite, Edgabston Cricket Ground, Birmingham, B5 7QU

Individual tickets : £48

Table of 10 : £450

Ticket price includes a three-course meal with a reception drink and tea or coffee.


To book

Queries or to request an invoice please email:

LONDONPRESSCLUBBALLLOGO2015 Tuesday  13th October 2015


Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), Kensington

Book the date in your diary  – and book early

This year’s London Press Club Ball is taking place in the stunning surroundings of London’s Victoria and Albert Museum  – the ‘V&A’.

Last year’s Ball – attended by HRH The Countess of Wessex and London Mayor Boris Johnson – sold out in record time and raised a record sum for the Journalists’ Charity. We expect similar superlatives in 2015

So don’t delay. Book early to avoid disappointment.

It’s the networking event you won’t want to miss and the highlight of the national media’s  social calendar.

The Ball is a glittering event attended by  editors, proprietors, senior journalists, top executives, programme-makers, star columnists, and TV and radio broadcasters. It is backed by major newspaper and media groups as well as generous sponsors.

Ticket/table prices include a champagne reception, a fabulous three-course meal with wine plus entertainment and dancing. A celebrity auction will help raise funds for the Journalists’ Charity.

Visit: (http://www NULL.thepressball

For more details, bookings and sponsorship opportunities contact:E-mail: (bookings null@null thepressball

Tel: 0845 450 4195

London Press Club Ball,  c/o Relish Events,  131-151 Great Titchfield Street, London W1W 5BB (x-apple-data-detectors://5/):  0845 450 4195


Many of the top names in British journalism have signed up to support the charity. Click to see the who’s there..

Lord Black of Brentwood, Executive Director of the Daily Telegraph, has kindly agreed to be our anniversary appeal chairman. In addition leading journalists from print, broadcasting and online have lent their names to support the charity’s work…and the list is still growing. Current Ambassadors are: Continue reading “AMBASSADORS” »

The Journalists’ Charity is to conduct a strategic review of its operations as it prepares to provide care and support for journalists and their dependents for generations to come.

Sue Ryan, chair of the Trustees of the charity, said: “As is the case with all businesses and organisations, the charity has to plan for the future and take a long-term view as well as meeting our day to day obligations.

“We are committed to continuing the traditions of the charity which date back 150 years to the days of Charles Dickens, one of our founders. Over the years, the shape of care and support in society has changed and evolved. As we are now in an era where people are living longer, it is inevitable that the need for greater support has grown and continues to do so.

“The charity is facing the same challenges as many other charitable organisations- continuing demands on funds in an extremely competitive fund-raising environment.

“The review will include a detailed examination of all assets, revenues and costs and will shape our long-term objectives. We will, of course continue to support our beneficiaries throughout the UK and would urge journalists of all ages to support the charity that cares for members of our profession when they are in need.”



Chris Moncrieff and Rob Hutton


An unprecedented reunion of parliamentary and political reporters packed the House of Commons press gallery to renew acquaintances and share recollections dating back as far as the 1950s.

Over 250 former gallery and lobby correspondents were tracked down and invited to what was dubbed the gathering of the veterans.

Some of the journalists had not been back inside the press gallery literally for decades.

They were regaled with stories of past scoops and escapades by the legendary Chris Moncrieff, who at 83 is the widely-acclaimed father of the press gallery which he joined in 1962 on becoming a parliamentary reporter for the Press Association.

Other veterans given a place of honour at the reunion (24.3.2015) included Gordon Leake, who started in the press gallery as a copy boy for the Glasgow Herald in 1953; Ian Aitken of The Guardian, who is now 87 and was with Daily Express when he joined the press gallery in 1962; Mrs Thatcher’s former press spokesman, Bernard Ingham (82); and the retiring father of the House of Commons, Sir Peter Tapsell.

Veteran political journalists who were unable to make the reunion, or too frail to make the trip, but who sent their best wishes included Maurice Woods, who at 98 is the oldest surviving press gallery member and resides in a nursing home in Beccles in Suffolk.


Sir Bernard Ingham and Chris Moncrieff

Woods was the political editor of the Eastern Daily Press and chairman of the gallery in 1972.

Rob Hutton (Bloomberg), the gallery’s current chairman, welcomed former colleagues on behalf of Westminster’s working journalists and he was cheered when he said how great it was to see so many former political journalists back in their rightful home.

The idea of organising a re-union was first mentioned by members of the Journalists’ Charity, which is to be the beneficiary of any surplus from the funds that were donated to pay for drinks and refreshments and collected on the night.

Rob Gibson of Gallery News, and himself a former press gallery chairman, co-ordinated the mammoth task of tracking down the veterans; negotiating with the House of Commons catering authorities; and then organising a team of runners to escort guests to Moncrieff’s Bar and the gallery dining room.

He paid tribute to stalwarts without whose help had been invaluable in rounding up the veterans: “Brigadier” John Deans (Daily Mail) a former secretary of press gallery, and its long-serving administrator Elizabeth Johnson. He thanked Charles Lewington of Hanover Communications for donating £750 towards the cost.

Gibson congratulated Deans on having the foresight in the 1980s to persuade the former Speaker Bernard Weatherill to become the press gallery’s president, a move that over the years has helped smooth relations between journalists and the House of Commons authorities.

John Bercow told the assembled veterans he was delighted to follow in Speaker Weatherill’s steps and he was honoured to see so many familiar faces. His opening remarks reflected changes in political journalism: the press gallery chairman is from the Bloomberg news agency and the lobby chair (Beth Rigby) is with the Financial Times.

In a dig at some of his erstwhile detractors among the “old and the bold” who worked for the popular press, Speaker Bercow said he could not resist complimenting the gallery on having officers from “distinctly up-market” news outlets. While some of those present might have been “amiable and professionally competent” he admitted that he had in the past been a victim of their “creative talent”.

Nonetheless he considered his role as Speaker included protecting the rights of journalists and he believed he had done what he could to respect the independence of the media and allow for a proper interaction between journalists and politicians.

One of the restrictions that he had removed was the ban on journalists visiting the House of Commons terrace, a privilege lost during the years when Michael Martin was Speaker. “Whether the removal of that restriction was popular with MPs, I don’t know, but I thought it was right journalists should have that access and we have got rid of the restriction.”

When Speaker Bercow praised Elizabeth Johnson for her efforts in tracking down veterans who had not been back to the press gallery for anything from 15 to 20 years, there were shouts from journalists who said that not been back for 30 and even 40 years.

Chris Thomas, a former parliamentary reporter for The Times, had probably notched up the longest absence. He was back in the press gallery for the first time since he left in 1975 to become a foreign correspondent.

The loudest cheers of the night were for Chris Moncrieff as he retold stories of journalists’ exploits in the “wild and raucous days” of late drinking in the bars of the House of Commons.

Moncrieff had lost none of his celebrated timing in harking back to life under Margaret Thatcher. He first met her at a reception Ted Heath held in 10 Downing Street in 1970. The invitation said journalists could only be accompanied by their spouse.

“I took with me someone else’s wife. Standing in the corner was Mrs Thatcher who had just been made a minister. She said ‘hello’ and then asked, ‘Where are you two going on holiday. My ‘wife’ said Sardinia and I said Walton-on-the-Naze. It was the only occasion I ever remember the Iron Lady being lost for words.”

Moncrieff said Mrs Thatcher had been a great friend of journalists and used to attend the children’s Christmas party in the press gallery. “There she was fussing about, trying to get the children to eat their sausage rolls and crisps. Next year one journalist told me that his daughter had said ‘Yes’, she wold like to go again, and ‘will that rather nice dinner lady be there again’.”

Nicholas Jones 25.8.2013 (parliamentary reporter The Times 1968-72, political correspondent BBC 1998-2002)

Wales Media Awards 2015 Winners Announced


Ciaran Jones, winner of the Wales Media Awards 2015 Journalist of the Year, with Huw Edwards (left) and Askar Sheibani, from headline sponsors Comtek.

Media Wales reporter Ciaran Jones is the Journalists’ Charity Wales Media Awards 2015 Journalist of the Year. He received the top award at a gala evening in Cardiff last night (Thurs Mar 19), hosted by the presenter and news reader Huw Edwards.

Ciaran Jones also won the awards for Print News Reporter of the Year and Young Journalist of the Year.

 Charity’s North Wales district representative Derek Bellis pictured with Huw Edwards and Wales branch secretary John  Curzon after receiving his award for an outstanding contribution at the Wales Media Awards in Cardiff. Derek has been working as a journalist in Wales for more seven decades and at 82 still reports for the news agency he founded in 1963.

Charity’s North Wales district representative Derek Bellis pictured with Huw Edwards and Wales branch secretary John Curzon after receiving his award for an outstanding contribution at the Wales Media Awards in Cardiff. Derek has been working as a journalist in Wales for more seven decades and at 82 still reports for the news agency he founded in 1963.

The award for the Outstanding Contribution to journalism went to Derek Bellis, from north Wales, who has covered stories in Wales for seven decades.

The other award winners are:

TV News Reporter of the Year – Aled Huw, Newyddion 9, BBC Cymru ar gyfer S4C

Radio News Reporter of the Year – Alun Thomas, BBC Radio Cymru

Online News Reporter of the Year – Sally Williams, Media Wales

Political Reporter of the Year – Martin Shipton, Media Wales

Business Reporter of the Year – Brian Meechan, BBC Cymru Wales

Feature Writer of the Year – Kirstie McCrum, Media Wales

Sports Reporter of the Year – Chris Wathan, Media Wales

News Photographer of the Year – Mike Lewis, South Wales Argus

Daily Newspaper of the Year – Western Mail

Weekly Newspaper of the Year – Cambrian News

Community Outlet of the Year – Caerphilly Observer

News Website of the Year – Wales Online

TV News and Current Affairs Programme of the Year – Wales at Six, ITV Cymru Wales

Radio News and Current Affairs Programme of the Year – Good Morning Wales, BBC Wales

Scoop of the Year – Richard Gurner & Gareth Hill, Caerphilly Observer

The Wales Media Awards have been held this year for the first time in over a decade. All profits will go to the Journalists’ Charity. The sponsors are Comtek, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Western Power Distribution and Effective Communications, and the partners are Quadrant Media & Communications, Cleartech, Cymen and Natasha Hirst Photography.


Press Inquiries: Christine Warwick, tel: 0777 1568357, on behalf of Wales Media Awards 2015 organising committee

Sarah Ickens, Camelot with Margaret Morrison, Ball Organiser

Sarah Ickens, Camelot with Margaret Morrison, Ball Organiser

Scottish journalists and their guests gathered in the Radisson Blu, Glasgow, on the first Saturday in March for the annual Charity Ball of the West of Scotland branch.


Dancing into the wee hours!

Chairman Richard Walker welcomed 210 diners to the event organised almost exclusively by his PA Margaret Morrison.  Camelot were the main sponsors of the evening which was also well supported by Lidl, who generously provided wines for all the tables, and British Airways who donated two business class flights to New York.


Denny Macgee, British Airways with raffle winner Margo Smith

The entertainment was provided by Amplifive who had guests dancing until the wee small hours.  MC Archie Mackay, owner of media2k, encouraged guests to support the charity with a raffle and an auction which helped to raise around £15,000 for the Journalists’ Charity.


Full banqueting suite

He said: “The star of the night as always was Margaret who worked tirelessly to sell all the tables and encourage companies to donate prizes and she richly deserved the floral tributes made to her and, after midnight, helped her enjoy her birthday even more.”

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