A journalist who once spent three months reporting from a dangerous expedition to the Himalayas has retired from the Manchester Evening News after nearly 50 years.
Tom Waghorn, 76, has spent nearly half a century working for the regional daily, working initially as postbag editor then spending 12 years as chief sub-editor before moving into his dream job as feature writer and outdoors columnist.
He started working for the title in 1963 following a telegram from then editor Tom Henry when he was on holiday, after being left without a job when the MEN’s rival the Evening Chronicle folded.
Despite officially retiring from the paper a number of years ago, he has continued to write a weekly outdoors column but has now penned his final piece saying goodbye to readers.
Editor Maria McGeoghan said: “Tom has been a fixture in the MEN newsroom for nearly 50 years and throughout that time he has been a great journalist and a true gent.
“Now he has decided to hang up his notebook for good we wish him well – and he still won’t be able to resist ringing the newsdesk with story tips. Good luck Tom.”
In his farewell column, he describes the three-month expedition he made in 1968 to the Karakorum Himalayas to mark the paper’s centenary.
Tom said as part of the celebrations, he had suggested the paper could part-sponsor a group of Manchester climbers as they went to plant the MEN flag on the summit of a previously unclimbed mountain, with him providing exclusive reports for the trip.
He managed to get copy back to Manchester from the trip despite being stranded at one point with drug smugglers on the Afghanistan border and the fact the ‘desperately dangerous’ expedition failed, with one member of the party not surviving.
In Tom’s role as feature writer and outdoors columnist, he once received a personally-signed Christmas card from Prince Charles after a series on his Prince’s Trust.
And his campaigns on drug misuse, drink-driving at Christmas and road safety earned him a letter of appreciation from Greater Manchester Police.
Ending his farewell column, Tom writes: “I’m eternally grateful to the editors who’ve employed me. Tom Henry, Brian Redhead, and Doug Emmett, who turned us from broadsheet to tabloid, have gone to the great newsroom in the sky.
“Our paper was redesigned under Michael Unger and Paul Horrocks took us into the digital age. Now the MEN has it first woman editor – Maria McGeoghan, who has so brilliantly, in modern parlance, shattered the glass ceiling.
“Finally, as I drift into retirement, I’m proud, really proud, of my near-50 years’ contributions to Britain’s best newspaper and an outstanding multi-media operation. Long may the MEN continue to flourish.”