Farewell to Cyril: In his own words

The Cyril's Shorts column ran for 20 years
The Cyril's Shorts column ran for 20 years

Cyril explains how he became a sports reporter at the age of 61, and his favourite memories of the job

“Since leaving Mexborough Grammar School at 16 in 1947, up to last weekend, I have always been in employment and therefore consider myself a very lucky man.

Cyril with former Bridlington Town chairman Ken Richardson.

Cyril with former Bridlington Town chairman Ken Richardson.

“However, my luckiest break came in 1993 when I was 61 when, after a 45-year working career which included 10 years as a railway fireman with British Rail, a further 10 years as a turbine operator with the CEGB and almost 20 years in the machine tool industry, I successfully applied for a job as a sports reporter with the local paper and will forever be grateful to the then editor of the Bridlington Free Press Glyn Belcher, who took a gamble employing me

So on August Bank Holiday Monday I reported to the Free Press office little knowing that I would be there until the office surprisingly closed in December 2013.

“Glyn left not long after and it was his successor Nigel Skinner (no relation) who came up with the idea for Cyril’s Shorts. Several times after deadline someone would usually contact me with a notice of a meeting or event which needed to be published that week and I would ask Nigel: ‘Can you fit it in? It’s only a short piece’, so he decided to have the regular spot for Cyril’s Shorts.

“He produced the caricature and asked for my approval. I insisted on one change - the football shirt was blue and I requested it be changed to red for Barnsley and Brid Town.

Cyril receives a signed shirt from Bridlington Town chairman Peter Smurthwaite.

Cyril receives a signed shirt from Bridlington Town chairman Peter Smurthwaite.

“Other editors during my term were Selwyn Dunford and Nick Procter and I can honestly say all the editors and sports editors were extremely helpful and understanding throughout.

“During my 21 years with the Free Press there has been lots of changes in personnel, possibly a three-figure total, within editorial, advertising, reception, cleaners and photographers and I don’t think I have ever had a wrong word with anyone.

“Over the years I have had the pleasure of covering a multitude of sports and met lots of very talented sportsmen, women and children whose feats have enabled the sports desk to publish some first class sports pages. It would be unfair to pick out any individuals because there are too many worthy cases. So I would like to thank everyone who has contributed over the last 21 years.

“I have been asked if there are any highlights I would like to mention and again there are far too many, but considering what good the Bridlington Half Marathon has brought to the town and is still going as strong as ever, I was pleased to be a member of the team that produced the inaugural one.

“Bridlington Town Football Club secretary the late John Brunton and president Malcolm Taylor were the founders of the event and when the football club decided to drop the race, Bridlington Road Runners took over the reins and thanks go to Judy and Bruce Allison and their colleagues for their efforts in keeping the event on the local sporting calendar for so long.

“Another outstanding event was the Winmau World Masters which took place in Bridlington for eight years.

“So a 21-year enjoyable journey comes to an end. Thank you to everyone who has helped and supported me on the way.”