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Editor retires after regional press career spanning six decades

Mark LeslieAn editor has retired after a regional press career spanning six decades – prompting a restructure at the publisher where he worked.

Mark Leslie has left the Lynn News, which he has edited since 2014, following a career that began as an 18-year-old trainee in June 1979.

Mark’s departure has led to publisher Iliffe Media merging his role with that of Spalding Guardian editor Jeremy Ransome, who has now become group editor for Spalding and Lynn.

Rebekah Chilvers has moved from her role as digital news editor in Suffolk to become head of news in King’s Lynn, while senior reporter Andrew Brookes has been promoted to head of news in Spalding.

Mark, 62, wrote in a farewell column: “I told my wife I would be gone by the time I was 60, so rather than retiring early, I somehow feel that I’m running a little late.

“It wasn’t an easy decision. It’s a great job and one that I feel is a privilege to do.

“We have had one or two depart recently after a long time of stability – always the way-  so we have something of a new team coming in, which will be exciting.

“Jeremy Ransome, former deputy editor of the paper will be taking over as editor and Rebekah Chilvers, also formerly of this parish and someone who has continued to live a stone’s throw from the office, returns in the newly-created post of head of news.”

Mark, pictured, went on to note he had “seen a lot of changes” during his career, adding they had “gathered increasing pace in the past five years or so”.

He wrote: “Now we very much are geared to the digital product. That is genuinely excellent because the days of working to a couple of deadlines a week (in the case of the Lynn News) are long gone.

“Every day, every minute is a deadline. Which means the cycle of news never stops.”

Mark, who was deputy editor at the News before stepping up in 2014, added: “I’m part of the Iliffe family, a company I can honestly say has proved to have been the best I’ve worked for… and as I may have mentioned, I’ve worked in journalism for six decades.”

Paying tribute to Mark, Iliffe editorial director Ian Carter told HTFP: “It’s a remarkable achievement for Mark to make it through to retirement age as a serving editor.

“Apart from one very brief spell as a freelance journalist, he has been continuously employed since entering the industy, guiding dozens of reporters into successful careers. I know it was a tough decision for Mark to retire, and we will miss him greatly.”