So often in life we go the full circle. Off we wander this way or that, even for years, but one way or another we often find ourselves coming back to where we started from, or somewhere symbolically similar.
I started my working career in Hemel Hempstead at the now defunct John Dickinson stationary factory in Apsley, as a sales clerk. Now some decades later, and I am not telling you how many, I am back in the town as the new editor of your favourite paper the Hemel Gazette.
My association with the town has been a long term affair and after leaving my job at Dickinson’s I embarked on a career in journalism, first at Dunstable, just up the road and later on to Luton.
But I was destined to return to Hemel. Stepping back into the town to work for the then thriving Evening Post&Echo, based in Mark Road. In those days the town was thriving and well visited for its shopping and modern town centre and had not yet been ravaged by recession.
Even as a nine-year-old Hemel played a part in my life after my best friend Kevin Haylock moved away from the north London streets where we were brought up for a new life in the then growing ‘garden city’. So Kevin if you are still out there drop me a line! Away from the reminiscing I am fully aware of the tremendous local history behind the Gazette going all the way back to when it was first published in 1859. Now of course we have the growing market of online journalism and the Gazette is no slouch when it comes to its internet and social media presence. I would suggest that overall audiences for the Gazette brand is now at its biggest for at least a decade.
Of course not everyone wants their news online or through social media. So our papers continue to play a major part in the fabric of the communities it serves and I hope you all appreciate the effort that goes into bringing you the stories every week.
In the coming months you will be seeing some subtle changes which I hope you will like. One has been the appointment of the highly respected journalist Damien Lucas as my deputy and it is he who will be taking the responsibility of looking after the Gazette series and HeraldExpress papers on a day-to-day basis.
Damien, 31, is an experienced journalist, driven by a passion for local news and he will be making sure you are getting all the breaking news the way you want it, in print and online.
If you have any stories you want to share please get in touch via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can also get hold of me at email@example.com