Extract from Dickens’ Address to 1865 Festival Dinner
By Charles Dickens
Read by Simon Callow, Actor
At the second annual dinner of the Institution, held at the Freemasons’ Tavern, on Saturday, the 20th May, 1865, the following speech was delivered by the chairman, Mr. Charles Dickens, in proposing the toast of the evening:
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, – When a young child is produced after dinner to be shown to a circle of admiring relations and friends, it may generally be observed that their conversation – I suppose in an instinctive remembrance of the uncertainty of infant life – takes a retrospective turn. As how much the child has grown since the last dinner; what a remarkably fine child it is, to have been born only two or three years ago, how much stronger it looks now than before it had the measles, and so forth. When a young institution is produced after dinner, there is not the same uncertainty or delicacy as in the case of the child, and it may be confidently predicted of it that if it deserve to live it will surely live, and that if it deserve to die it will surely die. The proof of desert in such a case as this must be mainly sought, I suppose, firstly, in what the society means to do with its money; secondly, in the extent to which it is supported by the class with whom it originated, and for whose benefit it is designed; and, lastly, in the power of its hold upon the public. I add this lastly, because no such institution that ever I heard of ever yet dreamed of existing apart from the public, or ever yet considered it a degradation to accept the public support. Continue reading “St Bride’s Thanksgiving Service – Fifth Reading” »
70 years as a journalist
By W. F. Deedes
Read by Murdoch MacLennan, chief executive of the Telegraph Media Group
Bliss it was in the summer of 1931 to have a job – any job; for the number of unemployed had climbed to 2.71 million. But to be a newspaper reporter was very heaven!
The world was in turmoil. Within days of my joining the Morning Post, Britain faced bankruptcy, Ramsay MacDonald’s Labour government fell, and an all-party coalition under pressure from King George V was cobbled together to deliver us. Continue reading “St Bride’s Thanksgiving Service – Fourth Reading” »
The greatest company in the world
By Bill Connor (Cassandra)
Read by David Dinsmore, editor of The Sun
I have been on Fleet Street for thirty years and I have never laughed so much. There is no other job like it, so preposterous, so wildly improbable. The task which we impudently assume is to chronicle the whole pageant of life, to record the passing show and then, with unforgivable brazenness, to draw conclusions, to give a verdict and to point the moral. Damn and bless our bloody eyes.
I would never advise anybody to come to Fleet Street. Learning this trade is like learning high diving – minus the water. But I wouldn’t have missed it for all the treasures of Araby. The man who when he was asked what it was like to be in the First World War said: ‘Oh, the noise, and oh, the people!’ You can say the same thing about Fleet Street – ‘Oh, the noise, and oh, the people!’ Continue reading “St Bride’s Thanksgiving Service – Third Reading” »
What makes us special
By Vincent Mulchrone
Read by Paul Dacre, editor-in-chief of the Daily Mail
It’s like war, of course – 90 per cent sitting on somebody else’s laurels, the rest sheer panic. If, in the panic, you can find the words to convey the blood and sweat of the revolt in Oojiboo, and (which is frequently more difficult) get them back to a sub-editor worried about his train home, then you are a reporter, and the happiest animal on earth.
It is a thrill that lasts clear through to the next issue of the paper. And it is like war in that only the happy moments are retained in the ragbag of memory. The snubs from the great, the terror of not having coped, the other fellow’s scoop, all the group anxieties of the idiot, exacting trade, can be swamped by one good story. Today’s… Continue reading “St Bride’s Thanksgiving Service – Second Reading” »
Extract from ‘Streets Ahead’ Memoir
By Keith Waterhouse
Read by Simon Fox, chief executive of Trinity Mirror
An edited extract from Keith Waterhouse’s memoir, Streets Ahead. The young Waterhouse spends the Sunday before he is to join the Daily Mirror from his Yorkshire provincial paper wandering London’s newspaper village…
‘There were pubs, of course – were there not pubs! Fifteen of them in the short stretch between the George at Temple Bar and the Punch Tavern on Ludgate Circus, and twice as many lurking in the narrow thoroughfares behind. A favourite trick, which I was not to fall for, was to bet greenhorns that they could not drink a pint in every Fleet Street pub between lunchtime opening and closing time. Today, when the time came round for my mid-day pint, I ventured into the Bell Tavern, erected by Wren as a hostel for builders reconstructing St Bride’s Church after the Great Fire Continue reading “St Bride’s Thanksgiving Service – First Reading” »
20 02 2014
A tribute to Charles Dickens’ invaluable contribution in helping to establish the Newspaper Press Fund was one of the highlights of a thanksgiving service at Bride’s Church, Fleet Street, when media executives, editors, reporters and their guests gathered to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Journalists’ Charity.
Dickens, a former Parliamentary reporter, was one of the Fund’s earliest supporters and the author’s love of journalism was captured by the actor Simon Callow. Continue reading “St Bride’s Thanksgiving Service – another milestone in the life of the Journalists’ Charity” »
Top names from show business, print and broadcasting have signed up to help the Journalists’ Charity celebrate its 150th anniversary.
The charity is holding a service of commemoration at St Bride’s church, “the cathedral of Fleet Street” on February 20th. It will be conducted by the Rector of St Bride’s the Venerable David Meara
He said: “What better place is there to honour the work of caring for those in our profession who need help and support after their service to journalism?”
The charity was founded by a group of parliamentary journalists who decided that support was needed for colleagues who had fallen on hard times. It is still run by journalists for journalists.
Today it operates it own retirement, care and after care homes and spends £400,000 a year on grants and emergency payments to journalists in trouble.
“We want to use this anniversary year to make as many journalists as possible aware of the support the charity can offer. It is particular fitting as Canon Meara, who has been such a strong friend to journalists, is retiring this year and it will be an opportunity for many to say goodbye.”
For tickets please email email@example.com (enquiries null@null journalistscharity NULL.org NULL.uk)
More information contact Laurie Upshon, Chairman Journalists’ Charity at firstname.lastname@example.org (laurie null@null upshon NULL.com) 01386 725428/07836 532279
Journalists’ Charity, Dickens House, 35 Wathen Road, Dorking, RH4 1JYThe Journalists’ Charity is the working name of the Newspaper Press Fund and is a registered charity in England and Wales (208215) and Scotland (SCO42405)
06 02 2014
Reservations are now being taken for the West of Scotland Journalists’ Charity Ball which will take place on Saturday, March 1, 2014 at The Radisson Blu Hotel, Argyll Street, Glasgow. As always, all profits will go to the Journalists’ Charity. As anyone who has attended this hugely-popular event will confirm, the Ball is a fantastic opportunity to enjoy a great evening in the company of Scotland’s media.
Tickets cost £55 per person and include a three-course dinner and a half bottle of wine.
For further information please contact Margaret Morrison on 0141 302 7005 or email email@example.com (margaret NULL.morrison null@null heraldandtimes NULL.co NULL.uk).
Home from home for a former mother of the chapel
Shop stewards are few and far between in the upper reaches of the Conservative Party and mothers of the chapel are even rarer but her roots in local journalism are a badge of honour for defence minister Anna Soubry, chief guest at the Journalists’ Charity’s annual reception at the Embassy of Ireland.
She regaled members, supporters and friends with tales of her early days as a trainee reporter on the bi-weekly Alloa and Hillfoots Advertiser and Journal in Stirling.
There was even more amusement when she chided the charity’s chairman, Laurie Upshon, her former boss at Central Television, where she was a journalist and presenter and became mother of the chapel for the National Union of Journalists.
Ms Soubry was welcomed by the Ambassador of Ireland, Dan Mulhall, who spent eight years as a press spokesman for the Irish government and who said he was delighted to welcome guests at an event in the London embassy (30.1.2014) that brought together so many British and Irish journalists and their friends.
He said the Embassy of Ireland was proud to host an annual reception that celebrated the many close connections within the British and Irish media world.
Ms Soubry, MP for Broxtowe and Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Defence, described her initial training as a journalist as one of the happiest years of her life. The Alloa and Hillfoots Advertiser and Journal had two reporters and a couple of sub-editors.
“It was fabulous experience. I learned shorthand and passed my shorthand test and completed my indentures…I am not suggesting there are improper journalists but I like to think I am a proper journalist…I cut my teeth doing court reports.”
After two years as a reporter and presenter at Grampian Television in Aberdeen, she joined Central Television as a reporter and presenter at Central News East at Nottingham. She spoke fondly of her time as a mother of the chapel for the National Union of Journalists.
“I am an old shop steward. Indeed I was clearly appointed an NUJ shop steward because I was even more right wing than the bosses at Central Television!”
As a politician Ms Soubry did have one word of advice for journalists. “I am not sure the relationship between politicians and journalists is the healthiest. Journalists should stand up more to politicians and we should stand up more to journalists. Journalists should work to a strict code of conduct and we should know where the boundaries are.”
In welcoming the minister, the ambassador recalled the eight years he spent as a press spokesman for the Irish government in Dublin, Brussels and Belfast. He probably counted more British journalists among his friends and acquaintances than from any other walk of life. He felt he could say with authority that he was a genuine friend of the profession of journalism.
Quite a few of these friends used to come to him for advice, especially about the mysteries of the European Union. In Brussels he briefed among others Lionel Barber of the Financial Times and Boris Johnson of the Daily Telegraph. “But please don’t hold me responsible for any inaccuracies in Boris Johnson’s copy…but we did have a great time together and I have a lot of friendships as a result.”
Given the centenary this year of Great War, Mr Mulhall said it was fitting to recall the great role played by Irish war correspondents.
William Howard Russell from Dublin, who became a member of the Newspaper Press Fund, was sent to the Crimea by The Times after cutting his teeth reporting Irish general elections in the 1840s; in the 1880s two Irish journalists, Frank Power and Edmund O’Donovan, lost their lives in the Sudan.
“There is a long and distinguished record of Irish journalists contributing to British newspapers and it is entirely appropriate that the Journalists’ Charity should come here once a year so that the Embassy can host this event.”
Mr Mulhall promised that 2014 would be another great year for British-Irish relations. The President of Ireland Michael Higgins would be paying the first ever state visit to the United Kingdom in April.
“There has been outstanding progress in our relations in the last couple of decades. The Good Friday agreement lifted a burden from British-Irish relations, providing the basis for close neighbourly relations and genuine friendship.
The two countries had recognised that British and Irish history had overlapped when Irish people fought and died on the battlefields of the Somme and Gallipoli and the other battlefields of the Great War.
Last month the Irish Taoiseach and Prime Minister David Cameron had visited the cemetery in Flanders and seen the graves of Irish soldiers who had fallen in the Great War. To mark the 100th anniversary a Commonwealth war cemetery will be established this year within the Irish national cemetery at Glasnevin.
In thanking Ms Soubry on behalf of the Journalists’ Charity, Laurie Upshon recalled his first meeting with the minister thirty years ago and he implied he needed no reminding of her days as the NUJ’s mother of the chapel in Nottingham. “Perhaps for the first time I have the last word and not Anna!”
Mr Upshon thanked the ambassador for his hospitality and said it was fitting that the Embassy of Ireland reception should be the event that launched the charity’s150th anniversary.
He looked ahead to the next event in the charity’s anniversary year, a thanksgiving service at St Bride’s Church, Fleet Street, on the 20th of February. The actor Simon Callow and the Sky television correspondent Alex Crawford will be among those reading lessons.
Purple Poppadom Restaurant , Cardiff | Ty Bwyta y Poppadum Porffor, Caerdydd
It was a ‘noson lawen’ – an evening of good company, variety and fine food that attracted a wide cross section from the Welsh media – Broadcasting, Print, Online and PR.
The venue was the Purple Poppadom, an award winning Indian restaurant which specialises in nouvelle Indian cuisine and has this year been listed in the Michelin guide for the first time.
Speaking at the opening of the sell out event, Tim Rogers, the Chairman of the Wales branch, said it was the first of several events in Wales that are being planned for the anniversary year which will raise funds for the charity and provide an opportunity for journalists from all media to meet and celebrate what is best about journalism in Wales.
The guest speaker was sports columnist and rugby writer Peter Jackson, of the Daily Mail who shared tales of life past as a young reporter in Cardiff – from the cheap digs with windows that would never close – and the colourful characters at the South Wales Echo and Western Mail who live on in local legend and who helped to inspire what has since become a celebrated career.
The Wales branch meets once a month and is currently planning another event for May – details to be confirmed soon.