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HTFP at 20: 20 people who made it happen

HoldtheFrontPage has had only four full-time editors in its 20 year history – but the success of the site has never been down to any one individual.

From its earliest days as part of the old Northcliffe digital projects division to its establishment as an independent business in 2017, it has always been a team effort.

The actual staff team has always been relatively small, but we have been fortunate to be able to rely on an array of outside helpers, from board members to finance experts, technical support people to legal advisers.

Here – with thanks – is my list of the ‘top 20’ people who have helped make this site what it is today.

1. Keith Perch

Keith PerchFounder and original driving force behind the site, the former Derby Telegraph, Leicester Mercury and South Wales Echo editor also served on its board for many years. Now journalism course leader at the University of Derby, where he allegedly employs more journalists than some of his old papers.


2. Elaine Pritchard

Elaine PritchardThe launch editor of the site, Elaine continued to oversee its development as a senior manager in Northcliffe’s projects division until 2008.  She now runs her own firm providing a range of writing, editing, consultancy and communication services.


3. Pete Pheasant

Pete PHeasantA former editor of the Ilkeston Advertiser, he took over as editor from Elaine in the summer of 2000 and ran the site until 2002.  Later ran the Northcliffe regional production hub in Nottingham and is now night editor of the Nottingham Post.


4. Patrick Astill

AstillBecame the site’s first full-time Publisher in 2002 and held the role for six years during which time it won several industry awards.  Now a communications officer with South Kesteven Borough Council in Lincolnshire.


5. Neil Benson

neilbensonBrought Trinity Mirror into the partnership that co-owned the site and served as its representative on the HTFP board.  Played a key role in ensuring the site continued as an independent business after the original shareholders sold up.


6. Tamlyn Jones

TamlynA top-class reporter who took the site’s journalism to new levels between 2007 and 2010 before leaving to help launch its new West Midlands portal.  Now works as a business reporter at Birmingham Live.


7. Helen Lambourne

Helen Lambourne

An assiduous reporter noted for never making a spelling mistake, Helen joined HTFP from the Mansfield Chad when Tamlyn moved on and remained with the business until 2015.  Now ‘enjoying life in Chesterfield’ according to her Twitter feed.


8. Steve Allen

SteveOne of the unsung heroes of HTFP, Steve has played a key role in shaping the site’s design and functionality as head of client services at our technical support provider Adaptive. Oversaw the move to a responsive platform in 2015 and subsequent redesigns.


9. Gary Mogridge

Gary MogridgeThe longest-serving and best of the sales executives who have come and gone in the course of its 20-year history, Gary has been with HTFP since 2013 and has worked hard to grow its revenues beyond its core regional press market.


10. David Sharman

David Sharman newNow in his sixth year as HTFP’s reporter, David has written more stories for the site than any other individual – more than 7,000 at the last count.  Part of a well-established and close-knit team that has now been together since 2014.


And not forgetting the following…..

11. Nikki Sargeson. Internet journalist who worked alongside Patrick in the early days and helped to build up our huge news archive. Now part of the marketing team at Active Partners Trust.

12. Henry Faure Walker. Johnston Press representative on the board that appointed the current Publisher, for his sins, and always a valuable source of help and advice. Now CEO of Newsquest.

13. Paul Collins. Former finance manager at Northcliffe/DMGT who acted as our company secretary and general financial guru until 2014.

14. Simon Delaney. Former Northcliffe technical team leader who oversaw the site’s first big redesign in 2011. Now software development manager at ‘trusted trader’ website Rated People.

15. Steve Hall. Former Derby Telegraph editor who allowed us to squat at the paper’s offices for six years and, as a board member, later helped establish us as an independent business.

16. Sarah Bould. Stood in for Helen during a period of maternity leave in 2011-12 and did a sterling job. Now working as a digital media officer for Erewash Borough Council

17. Steve Dyson. Former Teesside Gazette and Birmingham Mail editor whose Dyson at Large blog has graced the site for the past ten years.

18. Charlotte Cross. Spent an all-too-brief period with us before going on to a stellar career as an ITV reporter/presenter and making us all very proud.

19. Tony Jaffa. Along with his team at media lawyers Foot Anstey, supplies the fortnightly law column as well as saving us from the occasional little legal difficulty.

20. Darren Holden. Support developer at Adaptive whose technical fixes continue to help keep the site free of bugs.

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  • February 7, 2020 at 3:42 pm

    Well done, all concerned. Look at it weekly for latest, often bad, news.

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