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Newham Recorder 50: Former editor Colin Grainger spent 40 years on the paper

PUBLISHED: 14:00 13 June 2018

Colin Grainger and Tom Duncan with the late Tony Banks, Baron Stratford. Pic: Colin Grainger.

Colin Grainger and Tom Duncan with the late Tony Banks, Baron Stratford. Pic: Colin Grainger.

Archant

Campaigning, caring, fighting for and serving the Newham community. That was my mantle in 40 years at the Newham Recorder.

I joined as a trainee reporter in 1972 and it was my honour to become the paper’s second editor for the last 15 years of my career there.

Now freelancing and working for charities, I still refer to the ‘New’am’ as my paper and say ‘we’ve done this or that’ because it will always be in my blood.

My former guv’nor and close friend Tom Duncan, who taught me the right way to do things, launched the paper back in 1968 with a mandate to ‘make it a success in a year.’ He did that and so much more. He led from the front and was later made a Freeman of Newham for his services to the community.

We regularly out-scooped Fleet Street and won many awards, including campaigning newspaper of the year nationally. We fought for justice. Everything from gangland and other killings, housing scandals, IRA bombings, the murders of policemen and women were major stories on our patch.

We were, and still are, Newham Council’s opposition.

Taking them and others to task when things go wrong, uncovering scandal and injustice but also working in partnership with them on projects that enhanced lives.

Government ministers demanded to know how I got exclusives like the one about Newham’s new hospital. We won police praise for our part in reporting on missing youngster Daniel Handley every week for a year until his body was sadly found. child cruelty cases and murders like this rocked you.

One of the hardest stories I had to write concerned my mother Lily’s death in a tragic fall. She was well known in the community.

One of my proudest achievements is the Christmas Toy Appeal launched 41 years ago to give children and families who would otherwise go without a season of goodwill. It has raised 15,000 toys a year worth over £3 million involving every section of our community.

I’m proud to say the paper is still a champion of the community – and has changed lives for the better. So let’s raise a class to celebrate 50 years of the Newham Recorder.

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