Former reporter Lucy Millard starts new job at Beaumond House after 40 years at the Newark Advertiser
Please excuse the indulgence, but after many years of writing about other people’s lives, I have been asked to write about mine.
I joined the Advertiser as a reporter 40 years ago. When I started, the newsroom was a noisy place with the constant clatter of typewriters and endless ringing of telephones.
The paper has always prided itself on moving with the times and so it was not long before computers replaced our clattering keys, emails became an essential way of communicating, digital cameras replaced the photographers’ darkroom, and colour pictures became the norm.
The community and what is happening in the area have always been at the heart of the Advertiser. Over the years I have sat through countless council and health meetings, reported on crown and magistrates’ court hearings, attended hundreds of events, and lost count of the interviews I have done.
I quickly learned it was wise to politely decline the celebratory glass of sherry at special wedding anniversary celebrations and to wear boots rather than heels when covering ploughing matches and countryside events.
Royal visits have always been special occasions for the Advertiser’s reporting team. Among my most memorable are the Queen’s visit to Southwell Minster for the Maundy Thursday service, Prince Charles’ visit to Newark School of Violin-Making and Princess Diana’s visit to RAF College Cranwell.
Celebrity interviews are part of the job. My first, as a young reporter, was with Ken Dodd during one of his regular visits to the Palace Theatre. As usual his show had over-run, going on past midnight, but he was still happy to give me as much time as I needed for an interview afterwards. A true gent.
Over the years I have covered a wide range of articles and interviewed some inspiring people. Some stories have been heart-warming and brought smiles, including a little boy on a mission to find a new father and the schoolboy who achieved his dream to meet his pen pal in America.
But I have also had some very emotional interviews to do, most recently with the family of six-year-old Liam Andrew, the little boy from Newark who died from a rare brain tumour. It was a story that touched the whole community and I am so grateful to Liam’s family, and many others, who have trusted me with their stories.
All reporters rely on their contacts and many of mine became friends. Historian and teacher Chris Grant was a mine of information and always so happy to help, and retired journalist and author Trevor Frecknall was an inspiration and a constant encouragement throughout my career.
Newark has so many organisations run by dedicated volunteers, whom I can not praise highly enough. It has been a joy to cover Newark Amateur Operatic Society and see young performers develop their talents; to cover the annual St George’s Day parade and see the hundreds of Scouts and Guides, to help with the launch of Newark Community First Aiders and the return of the Newark Half-marathon.
Churches and their clergy play a vital role in the community and I have always enjoyed covering services, ranging from the pomp and pageantry at the installation of a new bishop, to the more informal outdoor events in Newark castle grounds involving all denominations.
Charities are essential to the town and district and I have always done my best to help promote their work and their events.
Beaumond House Community Hospice is one of the charities that has always had a special place in my life.
My first news editor, Maurice Cable, was a driving force behind getting it started, and I know many families, my own included, have used the hospice and been so grateful for the love and care it provides at one of the most difficult periods of your life.
I therefore feel very fortunate that I have been given the opportunity to take on a new challenge and become the new volunteer co-ordinator at the hospice, a job I started on Monday.
As I look forward to the next chapter in my life I would like to thank everyone who has helped me in so very many ways over the past 40 years.