John Marquis, variously dubbed as a “ruthless bastard” and a “firebrand campaigning journalist,” celebrated the milestone with a party in the legendary smuggling village of Mevagissey.
Friends and colleagues from from half a century in journalism were at The Sharksfin restaurant to help the former Falmouth Packet editor mark his big day.
They included Tom Arms, a former Packet trainee who went to become diplomatic correspondent of Thomson Regional Newspapers and launch Future Events News Service (FENS).
Tom, who first met John at the now defunct Evening Echo at Hemel Hempstead in the early 1970s, described John as “a first-class investigative, campaigning firebrand journalist.”
He added: “He was also considered a ruthless bastard, but only by the low-life he exposed.”
Guest of honour at the party was Ken Thompson, 86, who gave John his first break in journalism in 1960 by recommending him to John Barrons, then managing editor of the Northampton Chronicle and Echo.
Ken, who was editor of the Coalville Times at the time, later went on to edit the Packet, run his own freelance agency and become Cornwall’s tourist officer.
Said John: “It was a memorable occasion because it brought my family and newspaper friends together for the first time.”
John also worked on the Nottingham Evening Post and Guardian Journal before moving to the Bahamas in the mid-1960s as a political reporter on the then colony’s two principal dailies.
He returned to the islands as managing editor of Nassau daily The Tribune in 1999.
During his ten-year ‘reign’ he repeatedly fell foul of politicians who sought to deport him and was credited with bringing down the government in 2007 after exposing a sex scandal.
Since retiring in 2009, John has been writing books and running his publishing website, First Edition Press.