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Sir Harry drops in on his former newsroom

Legendary former Sunday Times editor Harold Evans dropped in on his old regional press stomping ground as part of a nationwide promotional book tour.

Sir Harold was editor of The Northern Echo during the 1960s before achieving journalistic fame as a campaigning editor of both The Sunday Times and The Times.

Now living in New York, he is in the UK to promote his new autobiography My Paper Chase.

As well as visiting his old paper at its Darlington HQ, he also lavished praise on it during an appearance on Andrew Marr’s Sunday AM show at the weekend.

When asked about his time working in the local press, Mr Evans said: “The Northern Echo today is better than when I edited it.”

He also complimented the Newsquest daily on its campaign to cut NHS waiting times for heart surgery, which was launched following the death of Echo photographer Ian Weir.

Writing on his blog, current Echo editor Peter Barron described Sir Harold’s coments as “very generous.”

“The truth, of course, is that Harry Evans remains the figure all editors of The Northern Echo must look up to,” he said.

Added Peter: “It was fascinating to listen to him talk about his memories of his time in Darlington, when he edited the paper in the 1960s.

“It was also wonderful to see the passion light up in his eyes when we talked about the value of campaigns.”

During his visit to the Echo’s newsroom, Sir Harold was reunited with an old colleague Shirley Dodds.

Shirley was a librarian at The Northern Echo and was at the cinema with her boyfriend the day President Kennedy died.

A message from Harold flashed up on the cinema screen telling Shirley to get straight back to the office as the pictures had been misfiled.

Shirley and said boyfriend, photographer Mel Attrill who became her husband, both dropped in to see Harold during his visit.