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Regional journalist retires after 44 years with BBC station

A journalist who went from a regional daily to a 44-year career with a BBC radio station has retired.

Jill Bennett was one of the founder members of the BBC Radio Norfolk editorial team at the station’s launch in 1980 after joining from the Eastern Daily Press.

The station began broadcasting on the evening of 11 September 1980, with Jill reading the 6.30pm news headlines.

At the time she was the only woman on the news team, and went on to become one of the first female news editors in BBC local radio from 1984 to 1999.

Jill pictured with former BBC Norfolk MD David Clayton on the station's 20th birthday.  Picture: BBC

Jill pictured with former BBC Norfolk MD David Clayton on the station’s 20th birthday. Picture: BBC

Said Jill:  “It was very much a male institution. It took a long time to change.

“It took a lot of work by a lot of women. I’m not sure we’re there yet.”


After 15 years as news editor, Jill moved in 1999 to become the station’s district reporter for West Norfolk, based in King’s Lynn, where she stayed until her recent retirement.

Jill added: “I think I’m like most people who work for the BBC, I think it does amazing things. I’m very proud to be part of it.”

BBC senior head of content production for East and London, Robert Thompson, said: “Jill is a BBC pioneer not only a founding member of Radio Norfolk, but also as one of our first female news editors when she was appointed in 1984.

“She has made a lasting impact on the BBC and we wish her the very best on her retirement.”

Jill trained as a journalist in the early 1970s and worked in South Africa and the Caribbean before settling in Norfolk.

She joined the Norwich-based EDP as a local government reporter before switching to the BBC in 1980.