A sports editor whose CV includes seven Ryder Cups and interviews with some of golf’s finest exponents is leaving his paper today after more than four decades of service.
John Whitbread, left, joined the Surrey Herald in 1966 and, after three years learning the ropes as a news reporter, he switched to sport.
During his tenure, the 61-year-old has covered the biennual golfing showdown between America and Europe and also enjoyed five visits to Wembley Stadium reporting on Walton & Hersham and Woking football teams.
“Through the golf I’ve reported on some great moments,” he told HTFP.
“I’ve interviewed Tiger Woods and Seve Ballesteros and I’m good friends with Bernard Gallacher. I helped his daughter Kirsty get her first job at Sky.
“I’m going to be looking for freelance opportunities. I know it’s a very difficult time with lots of journalists being put out of work but I’ve made some reasonable contacts in golf and football.
“I can also do athletics and tennis as well as cinema and theatre reviews. Hopefully, I will be busy.
“After 43 years you feel like you’re institutionalised but I’m excited and a bit scared.”
John is leaving the Herald as part of a restructure by parent company Trinity Mirror on its Surrey, London and Bucks titles which will see a centralised production hub, 16 redundancies and two offices closed.
Also saying goodbye is Hounslow-based Janice Raycroft, who has been series editor of 15 Trinity Mirror Southern titles for the past six years.
The 53-year-old told HTFP she had no idea what her next move would be but was looking forward to some time relaxing at home.
“I have had a really fantastic time working with a great bunch of people but after 35 years in business, I have always known when it’s time to run away,” she said.
Happy not to be with TM anoymore (31/03/2009 12:57:30)
I would like to wish John all the best for the future. In my role as Sports Editor on another TM title in Berkshire, I came into contact with John quite frequently. He was always very helpful as well as knowledgeable. He will be sorely missed by the readership he has served for so many years.
Andrew Gidley (03/06/2009 11:57:19)
Best Wishes for the future John.