One of the longest-serving and most highly-respected regional editors in the country has announced his retirement after 18 years.
Under Derek’s leadership the P&J has become the third highest-selling regional daily newspaper in the UK, behind his previous paper – the Express and Star in Wolverhampton – and the Liverpool Echo.
“I would like to think I am leaving the Press and Journal in good shape,” he said today.
Derek, 57, was born in Liverpool and once served as a flight lieutenant in the RAF Volunteer Reserve.
During his time as P&J editor he has completed two terms on the Press Complaints Commission, been chairman of the Scottish Daily Newspaper Society Editors’ Committee, and was awarded an honorary doctorate by Aberdeen University in 2007.
However Derek told the paper he was most proud of the Press and Journal’s role as champion of the communities it serves across the north and north-east of Scotland.
“We have raised something like £10m for good causes in my time, including £5m for the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital, Friends of Anchor, Saving Sight in Grampian, Ucan and now the appeal for a Maggie’s cancer centre in Aberdeen,” he said.
“Our Gift of Life campaign encouraged 5,000 people to sign the organ donor register and thousands more joined the Anthony Nolan Trust’s register of potential bone marrow donors because of the Millie Forbes appeal.
“It has given me an enormous amount of pleasure to see these things happen – not because of anything I did but because of what it says about the readers of the Press and Journal and the sense that this is very much their local paper.”
Aberdeen Journals managing director Alan Scott said he was grateful for all Derek had brought to the Press and Journal over the last 18 years.
“Derek’s track record speaks for itself. It is thanks to the high standards that he has always set that the Press and Journal enjoys the reputation it has today and, as a colleague and a friend, I hope he has a very long and happy retirement.”