An editor who worked for a Newsquest weekly for 15 years has bid farewell to readers ‘with a heavy heart’.
David Rankin, pictured left, spent nearly 15 years at the Surrey Comet and was also editor of the Elmbridge Comet, Richmond and Twickenham Times, Wandsworth Guardian and Kingston Guardian but left the role earlier this month.
It is understood that he was one of six journalists to leave Newsquest as part of a restructure at its South London titles which saw an 11-day strike held.
David has now moved on to work as day editor for The Times’ website.
David wrote: “After nearly 15 years at the Surrey Comet, this week’s was my last edition and I would like to take the opportunity to thank all the people who have made Kingston such a special place to work.
“I leave with a heavy heart, but very proud of what my teams and I have done through the years.
“From a 20-year-old starting as a trainee reporter, navigating the borough with an A to Z, of all things, to the multimedia organisation we have become, I have never lost belief in the importance of local news.
“Where once we searched for newspaper sales, now we seek web hits. When once people waited for their weekend Comet, or the midweek editions, people follow us on Twitter and Facebook, seeking the latest news as it happens.
“I have been lucky enough to get to know the area well – the people, the places, the politicians. It has been a genuine honour to serve a borough with a history and identity like no other.
“To Sean Duggan, who also leaves the company today after 20 years, and to June Sampson, who has been awarded the freedom of the borough for her work with the Surrey Comet, and the borough as a whole, I am in your debt for helping me into this industry.”
He also thanked his successors, news editors David Lindsell and Ross Logan, and encouraged the people of Kingston to continue to support the newspaper.
The strike by members of the NUJ saw journalists from the South London titles walk out in June over plans to place 16 weeklies under a single group managing editor.
The plans put 14 senior roles at risk of redundancy but three new roles were created and those at risk of redundancy were also considered for 11 other vacancies.
Following the strike, talks between Newsquest and the NUJ saw a deal reached over the restructure, which resulted in six journalists leaving and an agreement to pay the London Living Wage to trainee reporters.