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Deputy editor calls time on 42-year career

A stalwart journalist who rose from cub reporter to deputy editor with the same title has retired after more than 42 years in the business.

Les Stewart joined the Perthshire Advertiser in July 1967 after spells working for insurance firm General Accident and the Ministry of Overseas Development in London.

On his return to Perth, he began his journalism career under then editor William Coupar and chief reporter Eddie Balfour, whose role he would later take on when Eddie retired in the 1970s.

Les was promoted to deputy editor in the late 1980s by then editor Robin Keay.

Among the big stories he covered were the Dunblane Massacre in 1996, several murders, major fires at the Isle of Skye Hotel and Baptist Church in Perth and devastating local floods.

He was a committed trade unionist during his time with the Advertiser, serving as Father of the Chapel with the PA for many years.

Les is also a former chairman and secretary of the Perth branch of the National Union of Journalists and former secretary and latterly deputy FoC of the Scottish and Universal Newspapers’ Group Chapel, the division of Trinity Mirror which owns the PA.

He attended more than 30 annual delegate meetings and was a member of the former Provincial Newspapers Industrial Council and the Scottish Executive Council.

The 62-year-old said: “It has been an eventful and satisfying 40-plus years with the PA and my thanks go to everyone who has helped and supported me over the years.

“It was a bitter-sweet day when I received my retiral presentation but the time was right to call it a day.”

Les will not be severing all ties with journalism as he plans to do some freelance work as well as work on reducing his golf handicap and enjoying some overseas travel with his wife.

  • Les (front left) receives a farewell gift from Perthshire Advertiser editor Alison Lowson and colleagues