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Still working at 80: Agency journalist celebrates birthday

A news agency founder has celebrated his 80th birthday as one of the UK’s oldest working journalists.

Derek Bellis, left, founded news agency Bellis Media North Wales in 1963 and he remains working for it on a part-time basis, although he handed the reins over to his son Glyn last year.

He celebrated the milestone birthday on Thursday (30 May) after working in journalism for more than 60 years and said he would continue working when needed.

Derek began his career straight from school in 1950 as a reporter on the North Wales Pioneer before carrying out National Service for the Royal Marines.

He then returned to the Pioneer before moving to work at regional titles including the Northampton Evening Chronicle, Liverpool’s Daily Post and Echo and the now-defunct News Chronicle and Daily Herald newspapers in Manchester.

Said Derek: “I still enjoy working although newspapers aren’t the fun they used to be. I think the fun has been the best thing and working with some great colleagues. I am just winding down and I work for Glyn as and when required.

“I have covered lots of awful murders and lots of awful inquests but also a great deal of happy stories.

“I mourn the demise of family-owned newspapers which is a great loss for journalism.”

Derek said one of the stories he liked best from his career was when Ugandan Asians were thrown out of the country in 1972 and came to live in North Wales with no money and then went on to become highly successful.

His son Nigel also spent time working for the agency but is now a TV producer in New York.

Derek received a lifetime achievement award from the National Association of Press Agencies two years ago


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  • June 4, 2013 at 11:24 am

    A great guy and a diligent reporter. . Of course I cannot speak for his entire career. I have only worked with him since 1955

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  • June 5, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    Thoroughly enjoyed his birthday bash – would not have missed it for the world. A true gentleman of the Press – the kind that Leveson doesn’t even know exists!

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  • June 5, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    Many happy returns! It is always a pleasure to speak to Derek at Court. A true gentleman!

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