John Bingham bid the Lurgan Mail a fond farewell last week after 40 years’ service to the newspaper.
He started at the paper under editor Louis Malcolm and went on to work under seven different editors including Eric Villiers, Lindsay Kilpatrick, Bill Ireland, Richard Elliott, Clint Aiken and current incumbent Alistair Bushe.
When he first started as a cub reporter in 1973, the world of journalism was very different than it is today. Every article was bashed out on a typewriter and the only way to get in touch with contacts was landline telephones.
When John joined the company, Morton’s was undergoing a major change from hot metal printing to compugraphic printing. John remained a constant as the company continued to undergo change and is surely one of the few journalists to embrace both typewriters and Twitter.
The Magheralin man was an all round sportsman in his youth, excelling at cricket and football as well as pool, at which he represented Northern Ireland.
He channelled his passion for sport into his writing and for many years he was the Lurgan Mail’s sports editor as well as the deputy editor of the title.
John also covered council and courts and on many occasions had stories on both the front and back page of the ‘MAIL’.
Having served the newspaper for so long, John became the de facto historian putting together the ‘Way Back When’ page and ‘Back to the Future’ feature in recent years.
The quiet man of the office, John didn’t feel the need to share stories about his years in the newspaper trade, but when called upon for help and advice John was a font of journalistic knowledge.
Although John has officially retired from Morton Newspapers he plans to ‘keep his hand in’ by covering the local courts for the Lurgan Mail and Portadown Times as well as continuing in his role as ‘MAIL’ historian.
The staff at the Lurgan Mail and Portadown Times wish John all the best for the future.
‘MAIL’ editor Alistair Bushe said: “John has been an outstanding servant to the Lurgan Mail over the course of four decades.
“He was an old-fashioned journalist, with a razor-sharp knowledge of so many of the personalities and characters who have dominated life in Lurgan over the last 50 years.
“John will still be on the end of the telephone line for any help that we need over names and places and I’m hoping he will still have an association with the Lurgan Mail in the years to come.”