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Big names for Sunday

Three big-name writers have joined the Sunday Mercury as it consolidates its position as the biggest-selling regional Sunday newspaper.

The Birmingham-based paper, which covers a wide area of the east and west midlands, now has TV sports supremo Gary Newbon, campaigning journalist Don Hale and former top policeman John Plimmer on board.

And all three resulted from chance encounters in unlikely settings.

Newbon, the face of ITV Sport, was signed up during a posh charity lunch with Earl Spencer at Althorp.

Mercury assistant editor Bernard Cole got chatting, and secured the outspoken Carlton Controller of Sport as a new soccer columnist.

John Plimmer, the critically-acclaimed thriller writer and former top cop, is now writing a column offering the inside track on law and order.

“We met in a wine bar,” said Bernard. “Maybe that’s not so unusual, after all!”

Don Hale, the award-winning former editor of the Matlock Mercury, is the man behind the campaign to prove the innocence of Stephen Downing, who has served a life sentence for a murder he says he did not commit.

He was spotted by Bernard in the gents at Birmingham’s International Convention Centre after the BT Media Awards bash and now Hale is heading up the Sunday Mercury’s new East Midlands edition.

The edition is a development on the paper’s existing coverage of news in Derby, Nottingham and Leicester, and Hale will be pulling together the news side of the operation.

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