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Local journalist completes 50 years at one paper

A veteran journalist has clocked up 50 years writing for a South Coast newspaper.

John Dowling  worked his entire career as a reporter and deputy editor on the Johnston Press East Sussex title the Bexhill Observer, contributing more than 60,000 stories in 2,500 editions.

John, 65, took early retirement in 2009 but still contributes to the title regularly on a voluntary basis.

To mark the occasion friends and colleagues surprised John when they presented him with a special gift to mark his half-century association with the Bexhill Observer.

To tie in with a shared love of history, John and his wife Ann were presented with English Heritage membership during a barbecue held at their house.

John (left) with wife Ann and Bexhill Mayor Stuart Wood

“The surprise was as complete as it was pleasurable,” said John

As a bonus Bexhill Mayor Stuart Wood joined the party to present John with a miniature pine tree ‘to help compensate for all the newsprint John’s stories had soaked up.’.

John has written up many tales from his long career in a book called Three Men and a Quote, in collaboration with colleagues Ken McEwan and Philip Elms. The book has been published by Rag Doll Media UK.

All three began their careers at the Bexhill Observer in the 1960s. After going their separate ways, they were shoulder-to-shoulder once more as they were eased through the exit door when the 2009 recession took a firm grip on the industry.

In the book each gives his own version of how it all started … and finished. See for more information on the book.