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Editor-in-chief quits industry for charity role after 31 years

An editor-in-chief at a weekly newspaper group is stepping down at the end of this year after 31 years in journalism to start a new role with a local children’s hospice.

Sally Stevens, left, who leads the Berkshire Media Group, will leave her role next month to become director of fundraising and communications at Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice Service.

Sally started out on the Reading Chronicle and its sister title the Bracknell News in 1982 and rejoined the group, which also includes Slough & South Bucks Observer and the Royal Windsor & Maidenhead Observer, in 2004.

She later moved to the Bournemouth Echo and then the Ealing Gazette, where as sports editor she was the first female to win the British Sports Council’s weekly sports writer award before working on the sports desk of The People.

Sally moved back into local papers at the Windsor & Slough Express and the Maidenhead Advertiser before becoming editor at the Slough and Royal Borough Observer.

She was then made editor-in-chief when Berkshire Media Group acquired the Reading Chronicle and Bracknell News.

Said Sally: “I have lived in Berkshire all my life and it has been a privilege to deliver community news on my home patch since joining the company nearly 10 years ago and it was a very special moment to return to the Reading Chronicle after the acquisition from Trinity Mirror South, 25 years after I first joined which was just two weeks after leaving school.

“I have had the most exciting career in local and national newspapers, on news and sport, spanning hot metal production to Twitter and Facebook – it seems incredible. It has been an amazing career as a journalist and it has taken an even more amazing challenge to take me away from it.

“I will miss working at BMG very much, miss knowing all the news first, miss the deadlines, and most of all, I will miss the team.

“I have especially enjoyed supporting our trainees through their NCTJ exams and I hope I can still be involved with the NCTJ in some way – it’s work is more important now than ever given the debate over press regulation and accountability.”

Her role with the Alexander Devine charity will see her drive forward the £5m fundraising campaign for a new hospice for children near Maidenhead, which is planned to open in 2016.

Graham Morrison, managing director of the Berkshire Media Group, which is part of the Romanes Media Group, said: “Sally joined the company in 2004 and during that time has transformed our Berkshire portfolio of titles, shaping the editorial and news agenda and being a wonderful ambassador for the business.

“The quality of the Berkshire titles and their standing in the communities they serve are testament to Sally’s skills and leadership.”

Further information on the Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice Service can be seen on its website.