A one-paper reporter due to retire this week has received parliamentary praise after covering her hometown for more than four decades.
Northamptonshire Telegraph reporter Helen O’Neill has spent the past 43 years reporting on goings on in Corby, where she was born and raised.
Such has been her impact on the town, its MP has even brought up her retirement in the House of Commons.
During her tenure at the Kettering-based paper, Helen has also served as news editor, sub editor and night editor.
Andy Sawford raised the matter during a culture, media and sport debate in Westminster on Thursday.
Addressing Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, he said: “After a remarkable 43-year career as a reporter at the Corby Telegraph, Helen O’Neill retires next week.
“Will the Minister join me in sending congratulations to her and in saying that she shows the very best that local journalism and newspapers can be, and how much they can contribute to our communities?”
Mr Vaizey responded: “I think that Helen O’Neill’s 43-year career in journalism is a testament to the fantastic contribution that local newspapers make to our democracy.”
Adding his own tribute, Telegraph editor Neil Pickford said: “We completely support and agree with everything Mr Sawford said in parliament but I know Helen was very shocked, overwhelmed and astonished.
“She doesn’t feel she’s done anything over and above what the average local newspaper journalist has done.
“However, as her editor over the last three and a half years, I’d like to say she’s been an absolute stalwart and thoroughly deserves every accolade that has come her way.
“That kind of experience is incredibly difficult to replace and whoever does so will have some big shoes to fill.”
Helen will work her last day at the Telegraph on Thursday.