Our Alan to retire

Alan Brook, stalwart reporter at the Bridlington Free Press. Picture by Andrew Higgins 120810a 20/02/12
Alan Brook, stalwart reporter at the Bridlington Free Press. Picture by Andrew Higgins 120810a 20/02/12

FREE Press chief reporter Alan Brook is retiring.

He joined the paper in 2000 for the final 11 years of a lifelong career in the newspaper and media industry.

Alan Brook, stalwart reporter at the Bridlington Free Press, pictured with the rest of the editorial team. Picture by Andrew Higgins 120810d 20/02/12

Alan Brook, stalwart reporter at the Bridlington Free Press, pictured with the rest of the editorial team. Picture by Andrew Higgins 120810d 20/02/12

Alan, who retires tomorrow, two days before his 65th birthday, said: “I will miss the many friends and colleagues I have made at the Free Press, and those I have been involved with in the community. It has been a rewarding experience, an adventure and I am now looking forward to starting another one.”

One of his first tasks in Bridlington was to spend almost a year covering the Marina public inquiry earning himself the nickname of “Mr Marina”.

“It is strange to think the story is still rumbling on more than 10 years later and there is still no marina,” he said.

He started working on weekly newspapers in his early 20s, regional daily papers followed, then five years as head of news on a commercial radio station in Bradford during the 70s working alongside Austin Mitchell, then a TV presenter, now MP for Grimsby, Frazer Hines (Joe Sugden of Emmerdale) and even cricketing legend Geoffrey Boycott.

“It was hectic, but huge fun as it also involved radio phone-in programmes, music shows and the occasional public appearance.

“It also meant the chance to interview most of the top 70s music stars who had no other way of promoting themselves in those days other than by touring radio stations. Pop videos, the internet and YouTube, even CDs didn’t exist.”

A move into public relations saw him organising events, writing company brochures and newspapers, making instructional and promotional videos and even running a model agency. It was then back into newspapers, but this time as marketing controller for Wakefield based Yorkshire Weekly Newspaper Group responsible for 13 weekly titles, circulation and distribution, leaflet sales and distribution, reader offers and reader holidays.

Organising large scale outdoor events and exhibitions, theatrical events and concerts were all part of the brief.

When the group was taken over by Johnston Press Plc, and more titles were added he was general manager of the newly acquired South Yorkshire Times and Times Extra in Mexborough for 18 months, integrating it into the new organisation, before returning to his marketing role.

But writing was always the attraction. “The move to Bridlington came when I was able to choose to return to what I started out doing.

“I have always been a great believer in weekly newspapers, in my opinion they are an honest and reliable news and information source. They really are part of the community they service and can achieve change in that community.

“If we get something wrong, or offend, people are quick to come knocking on the door to tell us - try doing that with the national press.”

He has no set plans for his retirement.