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Editor retires after 15 years

Home Secretary Jack Straw has paid a glowing tribute to Peter Butterfield, editor of the Lancashire Evening Telegraph, who has announced plans to retire at the end of May.

Mr Butterfield, once of the longest-serving editors in the UK regional daily press, has edited the Telegraph since February 1985.

Jack Straw, who is also a Blackburn MP, speaking at the Tidy Britain Group’s Grimewatch awards, praised the editor for his dedication and commitment over the past 15 years.

Mr Straw said: “The reason that politicians get so little sympathy from journalists when they fall off the high wire is because editors fall off the high wire with even greater frequency than we do, so surviving 15 years is an astonishing achievement.

“Doing it as well as Peter has done is remarkable.

“Those of you who are old enough will remember that 15 years ago East Lancashire was not at its best. We had come through a very difficult period in the late 1970s and early 1980s and the fortunes of a regional newspaper were very closely tied to the fortunes of the local economy.

“Peter saw the paper through its transformation from its old broadsheet format to the tabloid format, introduced colour and survived three changes of ownership and it is a thriving newspaper with a profundly important role in our community.”

He added: “Peter has put so much back into the community in other ways and one of the best ways he has done that has been by his active sponsorship and leadership of the Grimewatch campaign.”

Born in Sunderland, Mr Butterfield began his career with the weekly Gateshead Post before joining the Newcastle Chronicle and Journal as a district reporter at South Shields, Sunderland and Blyth.

He moved to the Reading Evening Post where he worked as crime reporter, a sub-editor, assistant chief sub-editor and deputy news editor.

At the Evening Post-Echo, Hemel Hempstead, he was news editor and chief sub-editor.

Mr Butterfield moved to Lancashire in 1980 as assistant editor of the Telegraph. He left in 1983 to be deputy editor of the Western Mail, Cardiff, before returning to the Evening Telegraph as editor.

Mr Butterfield has said he will bow out on May 28, his 57th birthday.

He has told readers of his paper: “As I approached my 15th anniversary, I took stock of my career and decided to bow out now while I am still young enough to take up another challenge. I have had a jolly good run in an enormously rewarding role, but now the time has come to do something new.”

He added: “I love this part of the world and I have no intention of moving away.”

Mr Butterfield, a keen football fan, said he had one ambition before he leaves – to see both Blackburn and Burnley get promotion.

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