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Editor “chuffed” after Cameron praises weekly’s appeal

A weekly newspaper which secured a hero’s send off for a Second World War veteran has been praised by David Cameron.

The Thurrock Enquirer’s successful appeal for Bomber Command veteran Stan Franks to be given a fitting funeral with full military tributes was brought up in Prime Minister’s Questions by local MP Jackie Doyle-Price.

Mr Cameron responded by congratulating the Essex-based newspaper on its front page appeal for Mr Franks, who died alone at his home with no immediate family and was destined for a pauper’s grave until the Enquirer stepped in.

As reported by HTFP last month, Enquirer editor Neil Speight launched an appeal for funds and succeeded in raising more than £3,000 as well as arranging the funeral which will be attended by senior RAF personnel, MPs and civic and church dignitaries in the region.

The Thurrock Enquirer has ensured Stan Franks is given a fitting funeral

Neil has also found a pilot who will “buzz” the crematorium in a replica Spitfire in honour of Mr Franks who flew 31 missions over Germany in Lancaster Bombers at the age of 19.

“It’s all been very rewarding and I consider it a privilege to be in a position do something like this and I am so pleased everything has turned out as well as it has,” he told HTFP.

“However, I must admit to feeling extra chuffed and with a degree of pride when I heard Jackie raise her question in the House and Mr Cameron be effusive in his reply about the appeal.

“Newspapers get a fair bit of stick from politicians so it was nice to see us getting the “hear, hears” rather than” boos” for once.

“It’s the sort of thing local newspapers are all about and where better for that message to be shouted than from the despatch box.”


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  • December 13, 2013 at 10:47 am

    I’ve noticed David Cameron handing out praise for local newspapers like confetti in recent months. Anyone would think there was a general election round the corner. Oh, hang on…

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  • December 13, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    Forget the Cameron angle.
    Campaigning for the underdog is something that Speighty has done brilliantly for years.
    Good on yer Neil, my boy!
    You’re a top man.

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  • December 13, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    It is nice to see that Neil hasn’t lost his touch. He knows local papers should only launch appeals that will succeed. Great story, great campaign idea.

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