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'Awkward moral authority to be encouraged' – Ingham

Guests from the world of news, commerce, politics, showbiz and sport all paid tribute to the Yorkshire Post as it marked its 250th year of production.

And Margaret Thatcher’s former press secretary Sir Bernard Ingham led the tributes at the anniversary dinner to toast “Yorkshire’s national newspaper”.

Sir Bernard was a journalist at the newspaper for 10 years from 1952 and has rejoined the title as a columnist.

He told the guests: “What I want to see in the Yorkshire Post in what are left to me of its second 250 years is an assertion of Yorkshire independence – the exercise of the sort of inconvenient, awkward moral authority that Wilberforce, as a Yorkshire MP, exercised over the nation 200 years ago.

“My message to the Yorkshire Post in today’s debased political and media world is to dare to be a Wilberforce. Our country and our journalism need you. I hope the accountants will let us have you.”

Tim Bowdler, chief executive of the paper’s owners, Johnston Press, made the toast after divisional managing director Chris Green welcomed the guests. Bishop of Wakefield Stephen Platten said grace.

The celebration meal comprised the very best of Yorkshire produce, including Whitby crab, Yorkshire beef, brocolli from Harrogate and potatoes braised in beer from York’s own brewery.

Staff had previously had the chance to celebrate the paper’s success earlier this year when more than 150 employees, including van drivers, production, advertising, editorial and sales staff, gathered on the concourse inside the Post’s Wellington Street HQ.

During the evening guests enjoyed food, wine, and a specially-made anniversary cake.

They also heard a speech from Chris Green, who thanked staff for their hard work and paid tribute to the paper’s great achievement in having reached 250 and continuing to flourish.

The year of celebrations to mark the milestone also included a documentary Read All About It, aired on ITV the night before the dinner.

The programme was presented by Sir Bernard and looked at the newsgathering operation, how the paper is distributed around such a huge region, and the many key moments in its history.

  • The Post was launched in 1754 as the Leedes Intellingencer.

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