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City journalist to retire after 41 years in newspapers

Nottingham Evening Post journalist David Lowe is to retire after 41 years reporting for the city’s newspapers.

Since joining the newly-merged Evening News and Evening Post in 1963, David, who retires on Friday – his 60th birthday – has had numerous jobs in the newsroom, including cub reporter, news and sports reporter, health correspondent and feature writer.

David has seen many changes to the way the job is done, and has covered some of the region’s biggest stories, including the Kegworth air crash and a fire at Nottingham Forest’s football ground.

He told HoldtheFrontPage: “Looking back it has been a real privilege. I’ve met some interesting people and it has been a good job to be in.

“I remember in the early days of the newsroom (when the Evening News and Evening Post had just merged) there was hardly enough seats for all the journalists to sit down.”

In the late 1960s, David combined news and sports reporting and covered Nottingham Forest and Derby County in the era of Brian Clough.

In those days local reporters were allowed to travel on the team coach, giving him and the then Derby Evening Telegraph sports editor George Edwards (later editor of the South Wales Evening Post) the sort of access to the team that would be almost unheard of today.

David said: “They were exciting times to be around. In terms of tabloids Cloughie led the back page at least three days a week. He was the big voice of football.”

He added: “At that time you didn’t have a phone in the press box, you had a runner. You would have to write out your report long-hand and then the runner took it to a phone box. It’s amazing to think back now that we have laptops!”

It was during this period that David also covered a fire at the Nottingham Forest football ground, when flames spread through the main stand as the team played Leeds United.

He and another reporter could smell smoke, but he continued to report on the match until fans started to move on to the pitch.

He said: “I only abandoned my post once smoke started to come up my trouser leg.

“The emergency services did a great job. There were 30,000 people there but no one was injured.”

Another memorable story which David covered was the Kegworth air crash on the M1 just outside Nottingham which killed 47 people in 1989.

At the time he was health correspondent at the Evening Post and covered the scenes at the city’s Queen’s Medical Centre where 79 survivors were treated.

As well as working on the Evening Post, David also spent time on its sister morning paper, the now-defunct Guardian Journal, and spent two years away from newspapers from 1979 to 1981, working for a local charity.

In the mid-1990s he helped set up the Neighbourhood News section, and is currently involved with Bygones.

David said: “I am a Nottingham man and I have always been fortunate that I’ve worked on a newspaper of sufficient size to offer a different challenge every three to five years.

“Just when you think a job is burning out something new has come along which is a different ball game and spurs you on again.”

  • David co-ordinated a 20-year campaign Old & Cold to protect the health of elderly people during the winter months. He estimates it raised £300,000 during that time – and helped spark legislation in the The Warm Homes and Energy Conservation Act 2000. His work won him a mention in the Parliamentary journal Hansard.
  • He also joined archivist Paul Swift to co-write The People’s Hospital, a comprehensive collection of photographs and anecdotes of Nottingham City Hospital, published to mark its 100th anniversary.
  • The City of Lace, written by David Lowe with Jack Richards, former President of the British Lace Federation, has been sold in 15 countries.
  • In 1982, he went to the Sudan with former Broxtowe MP Jim Lester to get a front-line view of a joint Post and Radio Nottingham famine relief campaign. Do you have a story about the regional press? Ring 0116 227 3122/3121, or e-mail patrick.astill@and.co.uk