THE recent closure of the last national daily newspaper office in Aberdeen has brought back vivid memories for a former sports writer based in the city, now in semi-retirement in Perth, Australia.
Len Findlay worked for the Daily Record, whose office closure earlier this month meant there were no longer any national daily newspapers with an office address in Aberdeen. He emigrated to Australia in 1982.
Said Findlay: “I have many happy memories from the place. How about newsman, Tedd Kidd, and photographer, Peter Turner, wandering back from a longish Saturday lunch when working for the Sunday Mail? They see smoke and wonder: ‘That might be in Union St.’ Then: ‘That is in Union St, looks near the office.’
“It was the office – and The Press and Journal had the pics while they didn’t.”
The Record and Sunday Mail had operated an office in Aberdeen for over 50 years. The Record’s north-east of Scotland reporter, Charlie Gall, now works from his home in Stonehaven, to the south.
Before emigrating, Findlay left the Daily Record to join the Daily Express’s Scottish edition, then based in Manchester. Initially, he worked on the Melbourne Herald evening paper before moving to Perth and the Daily News, another evening paper.
He added: “The Daily News folded, like most afternoon papers. After a stint as cables editor – it was a long time ago – I moved to sport. A very rich man named Robert Holmes a Court had set up a weekly paper in Perth called The Western Mail and had the intention of going daily and taking on the mighty The West Australian. They approached me to be sports editor and for the next two years I had a staff of seven to produce seven pages a week.
“Instead of taking on The West Australian, a Court bought it – and folded the Western Mail. Do you see a pattern in closures here? He made me sports editor of The West and I led the coverage of the 1988 Olympics in Seoul.
“I did not like admin and quit that position in 1989 so they made me the paper’s daily columnist. Over more than seven years, I produced 2,000 columns then quit again. I went back to sport and was made golf writer. Heaven.
“That lasted seven years – I also helped on the soccer round – but the golf tour here got smaller and the paper was cutting costs and not sending to so many events, so, again, I moved, this time to obituaries editor which I did for three years until retiring two years ago.
“I keep my hand in with articles for The West’s real estate section and the odd travel piece. It is semi-advertorial, but keeps the brain functioning and beer in the fridge.”
Len can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org