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Bill waves bye bye to Press after 46-year career

A journalism career spanning five decades and spent almost entirely in the regional press comes to end next week.

Bill Hearld, deputy editor of The Press in York, will begin his semi-retirement next Friday as he plans a new career doing freelance PR and photography.

Bill, 61, told HoldtheFrontPage: “Photography has been the love of my life along with The Press.

“Initially, I’ll just be doing some freelance PR and I’ll work wherever people pay me to.

“I’ve been working for 46 years and now it’s my time to retire – I’m looking forward to it very much.

“I’ve never had single day out of work and never taken more than two weeks’ holiday at a time.

“I’m a bit sad about leaving The Press as I’ve devoted my life to it. I’m wondering a bit whether I have done the right thing and only time will tell.”

Bill, from Selby near York, started his career as a cub reporter with the Goole Times in East Yorkshire before moving onto what was then the Yorkshire Evening Press.

He has also worked for the Northern Echo, in Darlington, and as a press officer for Regional Railways when it went through privatisation during the early 1990s.

Bill then returned to The Press in 1997 as news editor and has been deputy editor for the past four years.

He added: “I’ve interviewed Prime Ministers and film stars, such as Paul Newman when he stopped overnight in York on his way to a shooting holiday in Scotland.

“But my most memorable story was about a pregnant woman who advertised her baby for sale.

“She got offers from all over the country. I was the local reporter at the time and the News of the World went big on it.

“I was a bit naive and a freelance journalist picked it up and sold it on.”

Bill’s new business venture Proper PR is open for offers of work from August 4 and he can be contacted on hearld@btinternet.com.

  • Bill joins a growing list of regional press journalists featured on HoldtheFrontPage who have clocked up impressive lengths of service. We recently told you about Margaret Wilson, of the Dewsbury Reporter, and Gerry Henshall, of the Macclesfield Express, who have both spent 50 years with the same paper.
    Know anyone who can boast such a feat? Please let us know on editor.htfp@and.co.uk
  • Comments

    Sue Nelson (28/07/2008 18:31:12)
    I began work on the Press 25 years ago when Bill joined the paper for the second time after his spell on the Northern Echo. He’s one of the finest journalists I’ve ever met – one of those (rare) people who can tease a story out of anyone and then craft it into the written word. I loved working for him.

    Alan Cameron (30/07/2008 12:10:50)
    I worked alongside Bill in the early 90s when we both apparently suffered the same brainstorm, left our newspapers and worked for Regional Railways and Railtrack respectively. He is a class act and a lovely guy.
    All the best with your new venture Bill.
    I think it’s your round, by the way.

    Mike Morrisey (30/07/2008 17:54:15)
    Good luck in `retirement’ Bill! I did the same at 63 in 1993 and have never looked back. A Teesside industrialist said when I left the Evening Gazette after 25 years: “There is life after retirement.”
    He was right.

    Annette Logan (11/08/2008 14:19:31)
    Bill has been my boss for the past 7 years. He’s a great person to know and will be missed a lot. All the best Bill.