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A lifetime career in local journalism comes to an end after 66 years

A career in local newspapers spanning six decades has finally come to an end.

Daphne Hughes, who turned 82 on Wednesday, started out as a cub reporter with the Hemel Hempstead Gazette back in 1942, earning just £1.25 a week.

Over the next 66 years she served eight different editors during three stints at the paper, at one stage becoming the Gazette’s chief reporter.

Daphne also worked at the Hants and Sussex News, Bucks Advertiser, Scarborough Evening News and Wembley News and was a freelancer as well as taking a career break to raise a family.

She said goodbye to her colleagues this week at the Gazette after deciding to retire and enjoy a spot of gardening.

Daphne said: “I have never regretted going into journalism – I have found it really satisfying.

“I am sad to leave such a great bunch of people who all love their work but I am looking forward to doing what I want with my time, particularly in the garden.”

For the past decade, Daphne has been working part-time at the Gazette, walking to work at the office in Hemel Hempstead as she never learned to drive.

She has devoted her time principally to court reporting and her In Touch volunteer column in the Gazette’s sister paper the Herald Express.

At the Scarborough Evening News she enjoyed interviewing the many celebrities who visited the town and also penned her own column, Mary Castle’s Notebook.

It was while working at the Wembley News that Daphne was reunited with a former schooldays admirer and her future husband Derrick.

The couple returned to Hemel Hempstead to raise their two sons Ben and Julian who all still live in Hemel Hempstead.

Sadly, Derrick died shortly after Daphne returned to part-time work.