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Former PA man Beal receives an MBE

Former Press Association northern editor Peter Beal has been awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours List.

He received the honour in recognition of his services to journalism, having retired last March after 30 years with PA.

Peter, (58), had also worked on a number of regional newspapers, beginning his career on the Skyrack Express, then part of the Wakefield Express series in his home town of Leeds, and then moving to the Burton Daily Mail and Coventry Evening Telegraph.

In August last year he completed a 1,150-mile walk from Land’s End to John O’Groats, raising more than £7,000 for the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

Peter joined PA’s reporting staff in London in 1976 before moving to Scotland and then to Manchester as chief northern correspondent.

In nearly 20 years there he covered virtually every major story in the North, including the miners’ strike, the Lockerbie, Kegworth and Manchester Airport air disasters, the Heysel and Hillsborough football tragedies, the Bradford City fire and the crimes of killer GP Harold Shipman.

He specialised in major trials and covered those of Shipman, James Bulger’s killers, the Leeds United footballers and nanny Louise Woodward in the United States.

His most recent role at PA had been at the agency’s operations centre in Howden, East Yorkshire, from where he was responsible for its regional reporters in England and Wales and was involved in the development of its multi-media operations.

Peter’s walk of the length of the country was a long-held ambition and raised funds for motor neurone disease in memory of his friend and former colleague, Derek Smith, who lost his two-year battle with the illness in October 2005.