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Campaigning editor Evans publishes autobiography

The life story of a former regional and national newspaper editor who led a landmark public health campaign in the 1970s is to be told in a new book.

My Paper Chase is the autobiography of Sir Harold Evans, who was assistant editor of the Manchester Evening News and editor of The Northern Echo, before taking the helm at the Sunday Times in 1967.

The book includes two chapters on his four-year spell as Echo editor where his campaigns included winning a posthumous pardon for Timothy Evans who was wrongly hanged for strangling his baby daughter.

The Echo also fought for the cervical cancer screening pilot which led to foundation of a nationwide service.

But it was his 14-year tenure as editor of the Sunday Times for which he is most famous, notably the long-running battle to take on the drug companies producing the Thalidomide pill.

The paper’s campaign successfully fought for compensation for babies born with birth defects as a result of expectant mother taking the drug to stave off morning sickness, while the government was forced into changing the law which inhibited the reporting of civil cases.

Born in 1928, Sir Harold grew up in Manchester and, although his origins were relatively humble, he was known at school as ‘Poshie’ as he was the only child whose father owned a car.

He went on to graduate from Durham University having studied politics and economics and has written a number of best-selling books, including Good Times, Bad Times which detailed the Thalidomide campaign and his battles with proprietor Rupert Murdoch.

Sir Harold moved to the US in 1984 and became an American citizen in 1993, currently living in New York.

In 2000 he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Teesside and was knighted for his services to journalism in 2004.

  • My Paper Chase is published at the end of September by Little, Brown Book Group.