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Journalist, 95, returns to weekly where he began his career 74 years ago

A journalist who worked for a weekly newspaper in the 1940s has returned to visit its headquarters 74 years on.

John Barker, 95, paid a visit to the new offices of the Salisbury Journal, the paper where he began his career in 1949.

John worked as a trainee reporter for one month at what was then known as the Salisbury and Winchester Journal, as part of the British Army’s process of facilitating his transition to civilian life after his two years of National Service.

While there, he covered the victory of a racehorse that had been recently purchased by Winston Churchill at Salisbury racecourse.

John Barker, left, with his son Jonathan at the Journal's office

John Barker, left, with his son Jonathan at the Journal’s office

John later worked as a journalist in Sunderland, Newcastle and Manchester before founding the Border Press Agency and the Lakescene magazine in Carlisle. He retired in 1988 after nearly 40 years in the industry.

Speaking to the Journal, John said: “It was not really far away from the end of the war and Churchill was a great hero at the time and everything he did was big news and the very fact that his horse was racing in Salisbury was quite a big thing.”

“I cannot have done so badly in that month on the Journal because after I left the Army and returned to my home in Keswick in Cumberland, your newspaper wrote to me offering a job. I was sorry to turn it down.

“After a year, I finally did get a reporter`s job on a newspaper near home called the Penrith Observer.”