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Lincs editor to retire after 50 years in newspapers

George Wheatman, editor of the SE Lincs Target Series, is to retire at the end of the year.

The 66-year-old has spent more than 50 years working for newspapers in Boston, starting out as a trainee for the Lincolnshire Standard Group.

He also worked as sports editor for the Standard Group and was editor of the Boston Standard before helping to build the successful ten-edition Target Series.

George (right) said: “I left the Standard to work for the Lincolnshire Echo for six months with the view to launching the Boston Target, which will celebrate its 20th birthday in March.

“It was started, like many free papers, to prevent someone else doing it. From day one it was editorially led and unlike what people were accustomed to.”

It is this strong editorial emphasis which George believes has been secret of the Target’s success.

And from one newspaper launched with a team of six staff in a tiny old office with an outside toilet, the series now boasts ten editions, distributing and selling more than 100,000 copies every week in an area stretching from Mablethorpe in the north to Spalding in the south, and employs some 50 staff across five different offices.

George said: “We cover basic community news and try to use whatever people send in, if we can, without altering it too much.

“The letters pages are also extremely popular and allow our readers to be quite outspoken.”

But now, after 20 years with the Target Series, George has decided to step down and let someone else take the reins.

He will leave the papers at the end of the year after a short hand-over period with the new editor – Lincolnshire journalist Glyn Belsher, who has previously edited the Bridlington Gazette and the Citizen in Boston.

George said: “The irony is that I gave Glyn his first ever job as a 17 or 18-year-old, as a trainee on the Boston Standard, and now he has come full circle and taken my job.

“I’m proud of what I’ve achieved, but I’m concious that the papers may benefit from a breath of fresh air from someone with energy and enthusiam and I’m sure Glyn will bring that.”

Lincolnshire Echo Group Newspapers managing director Malcolm Pheby said: “Make no mistake, George’s achievement at the SE Target series over the past 20 years has been breathtaking.

“The breadth and depth of editorial coverage under his leadership has grown immensely, providing a superb platform for readership and advertising growth in a fiercely competitive arena.

“Not only that, his enthusiasm and passion for newspapers remains unabated. Everybody in Boston knows George. He is a consummate professional and embodies all the values of a true community editor.”

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