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Bar demolition project brings in cash for hard-up hacks

Cash raised after a film was made to mark the closure of the House of Commons Press Gallery Bar will go towards helping journalists in times of hardship.

A cheque for £250 was handed to the Journalists’ Charity by award-winning amateur film-makers Ian Craig and Paul Desmond.

Their 15-minute film, Time Gentlemen Please tells the story of the Press Bar and the people who passed through its portals to enjoy one of the most exclusive bars in London.

The cash was raised through donations for copies of the film, which won silver in the 2008 British International Amateur Film Festival and gold in the Essex film festival.

Ian Craig, political editor of the Manchester Evening News, said: “The Press Gallery bar has been the scene of many dramatic moments over the years and it was sad to see it demolished as part of the refurbishment of the Gallery.

“But Paul and I were pleased to be given permission by the Commons authorities to film the old bar before it went and to put on record the views of veteran journalists.”

Paul Desmond, a City PR, said: “I was impressed by the deep affection so many of the journalists – especially the older ones – had for the bar.

“They clearly had spent many, many happy hours there with colleagues and former colleagues and felt that its closure marked the end of an era.”

Highlights included veteran PA political writer Chris Moncrieff recalling some hilarious incidents on film.

Journalists’ Charity chairman Robert Warren said: “The Journalists’ Charity has incurred a great deal of expense over the past few years because of the rebuilding of our state-of-the-art care home.

“We have had tremendous support from corporate donors – but we welcome every penny.”

* The Journalists’ Charity is the leading provider of charitable help to journalists working in all branches of the media. And it needs your help to help journalists like you: an appeal has gone out for existing members to contribute a regular small amount of money by direct debit.

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