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Dowell heads for the beach

For the first time ever, a BT Midlands Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Media has been presented to Ian Dowell, editor of the Birmingham Evening Mail, who is retiring, aged 60.

Ian Dowell is preparing for a new life on the south coast of England after retiring as editor of the Birmingham Evening Mail.

Today will be his final day after 35 years with the Midlands paper – and he couldn’t be happier.

He told HoldtheFrontPage: “Birmingham has been very good to me and I’ve enjoyed my time here. But I turned 60 last November and felt it was time to stand down and let a younger man take charge.”

Ian started his journalism career as a reporter on the Exmouth Journal and then spent time working for Woodrow Wyatt before joining the Post and Mail group in the late 60s.

He became editor of the Evening Mail in 1986 and most of his fondest memories in journalism stem from this period in his career.

Ian is most proud of the paper’s campaign to save the city hospital from closure in the late eighties.

He explained: “We fought for two years to save that hospital and now it is home to the Princess Diana Children’s Hospital which is absolutely magnificent.”

The fight to safeguard the future of Rover workers at the firm’s Longbridge plant also ranks highly in Ian’s list of memorable campaigns.

He said: “We helped galvanise support for the John Towers consortium and for 36 consecutive days, we showed our support on the front page of the Mail.

“When he was finally successful, he came into the Mail newsroom and gave us a silver tankard for our efforts.”

As he calls time on his editorship, Ian predicts good times ahead for the regional press.

He explained: “I have to say that the future of print journalism looks very rosy.

“A newspaper has a duty to get involved in its community rather than sitting back and reporting the news. TV and radio news doesn’t get involved like papers do.”

Ian is now planning to move to Exmouth after buying a harbour-side cottage there.

He explained: “I never intended to do something as boring as moving back to my home town, but I saw these cottages were up for sale and couldn’t resist buying one.

“Now I’ll probably spend my days relaxing or running along the beach!”

The Mail’s new editor will be Roger Borell who currently edits the Lancashire Evening Post.

For more on Ian and his award, click here.

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