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Sports reporters honoured for service to journalism

The European Golf Tour has recognised two long-serving sports journalists who called time on their careers this year for their coverage of the sport.

Mike Aitken, formerly of The Scotman, and the Surrey Herald’s former sports editor John Whitbread both received a clock as a retirement gift from the tour’s chief executive George O’Grady at the Annual Golfer of the Year Luncheon.

Mike, who retired in August, spent 36 years with the Johnston Press daily which he joined in 1973 as a trainee reporter before taking on a variety of roles, latterly becoming the golf correspondent.

John joined the Surrey Herald in 1966 and switched to sports reporting after three years covering news, eventually becoming sports editor in 1974.

Following his departure in March as part of a company restructure, he turned to freelance work and still contributes to the Herald today.

Mr O’Grady said: “It is with great sadness that The European Tour must say goodbye to two fine journalists and respected members of the golfing media.

“Mike and John have both had outstanding careers and should look back on their many accomplishments with pride.

“I sincerely hope we have not seen the last of either of them, as I understand they may continue to be involved with European Tour events in a freelance capacity, if not just as a fan and lover of the game. We all wish them luck for the next chapter in their lives.”