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Weekly’s longest-serving editor dies aged 92

George McHardyThe longest-serving editor in the history of a Welsh weekly title has died aged 92.

Tributes have been paid to George McHardy, who ran the Powys County Times between 1964 and 1988.

Beginning his career at the County Times before the Second World War, he returned to the paper as deputy editor in 1962 before landing the top job two years later.

Under his editorship the paper went through extensive changes, both of ownership and of style, being one of the first papers to introduce computerised rather than hot metal production methods, and put on circulation establishing itself as the area’s leading paper.

George, who died last month, was born to Peter and Martha McHardy in May 1923 on their poultry smallholding at Moel-y-Garth, Mid Wales, in a home delivery later written about by his older brother Eric, also a journalist.

According to an obituary to George in the County Times, Eric, then 14, described being instructed to run the three miles down hill to Welshpool at 2am to fetch the midwife, under instruction to “hurry or the baby might die”.

The young George lived, and 16 years later left school to follow in his brother’s footsteps as a journalist at the County Times, four months before the outbreak of the Second World War.

He was rejected for military service due to a congenital heart murmur, and became a member of the Home Guard instead.

Once a qualified journalist he moved to the Montgomeryshire Express, where his friend Derek Pugh had worked before he was killed in action in 1943 in Italy.

In 1949, he took a job subbing on the Lincolnshire Echo, returning to his native Wales two years later to work at his father-in-law’s egg packing business for a decade before resuming his journalism career in 1962.

His successor at the County Times Graham Breeze said: “He gave me my first job as a trainee reporter back in 1969 and helped fashion my career until I was ready to become his successor.

“He was completely dedicated to the newspaper and proud of its independence.

“A true newsman, but most of all a true gentleman who was responsible for helping launch the careers of many budding Mid Wales journalists.”

George’s wife Doreen died in 2011. They had two children, Anne and John.