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NCTJ’s longest-ever serving staff member dies aged 64

Jan Alder 1The longest-ever serving staff member of the National Council for the Training of Journalists has died aged 64.

Tributes have been paid to Jan Alder, who worked for the NCTJ for nearly thirty years.

Jan, pictured, initially joined the NCTJ in April 1989 as an administrator in its examinations department, before moving to become director Keith Hall’s personal assistant in October 1990.

She then worked with three succeeding chief executives – Rob Selwood, Sally Mellis and Joanne Butcher – before leaving in 2019.

Jan passed away peacefully at Colchester’s St Helena Hospice on New Year’s Day after a battle with cancer.

Paying tribute, Joanne said: “Jan was a stalwart of the NCTJ, a wonderful close colleague and friend who I will miss terribly.

“She was a loyal, proper old-school pa, who always did everything professionally to exacting standards and with a smile. She was also enormous fun to work with, mischievous, good-humoured and no-nonsense.

“With so many years of outstanding service, Jan was the unofficial NCTJ historian; what she didn’t know about the council wasn’t worth knowing.

“I’m heartbroken she won’t be there as we celebrate our 70th anniversary year. My thoughts are with her beloved husband, David, at this very sad time.”

Kim Fletcher, chairman of the NCTJ, added: “It would be pushing it to say the NCTJ has ever been soap opera, but there have been occasional dramas as we’ve adapted to the changes in the media industry.

“Whatever the excitements, however tense the exchanges, whoever was making a fuss, we knew we could rely on Jan Alder to radiate calm. With a nudge on the tiller here, a warm word there, Jan used to brilliant effect the experience she had built up over nearly three decades.

“Some folk who give so much to an organisation become set in their ways. Jan didn’t. She was up for change and loved finding ways to make new things work.

“She liked journalists – someone has to – and relished journalism. What a joy it was to see her at a party, a drink in her hand and a mischievous twinkle in her eye, clocking the guests, enjoying the mood.

“And while you might have trouble getting her to talk so seriously about it, she was immensely proud of the NCTJ.

“We have no such inhibitions in saying how grateful we were to Jan – and how much we have missed that friendly face around the Newport office.”