Chichester Observer's Newbery walks to the pavilion after 14 years' service

Executive editor of the Observer group in Chichester Keith Newbery has retired, to be replaced by Colin Channon, chief sub-editor at The News in Portsmouth.

Newbery, who had been editor at the Chichester Observer since 1992, was given editorial responsibility over the West Sussex Gazette, Chichester Journal, Bognor Guardian and Petersfield Post series in his capacity as executive editor.

During Newbery's editorship, the Observer launched many vigorous campaigns, including one against the district council's decision to introduce fortnightly refuse collection, labelled the "Bluebottle campaign" — an issue which is currently being highlighted again in the national press.

One Observer front page featured pictures of all the members of West Sussex County Council's cabinet, planning to impose the biggest tax rise in its history, under the headline: "They should be ashamed of themselves."

Acting editor Alicia Denny, who has known Newbery since 1976, and has been running the titles since he contracted pancreatitis in January, said: "Keith will be a hard act to follow. His presence has loomed large, in more ways than one, over the Observer, The News and throughout the region.

"His weekly column is avidly read by thousands who appreciate his wry and often caustic look at politics, entertainment and the world at large. His colleagues will miss his wit, warmth and old-fashioned all-round journalistic talents. We wish him a very long and happy retirement."

Newbery started his career on the Isle of Wight Times and later went on to become founding editor at the Isle of Wight Weekly Post.

He was named sports writer of the year an unprecedented four times at the Press Gazette Regional Press Awards. He was twice winner of the British Sports Writers' Guild regional writer of the year, and winner of the Southern Press Awards feature writer of the year.

In 2003, his autobiography, Hacking It: Tales of a Very Provincial Journalist, was published, and a year later he received an MBE for his services to journalism.

Newbery told Press Gazette: "I am sorry to be leaving so many fine colleagues, but I am not sorry to be retiring. I'm looking forward to swimming, walking and becoming more involved with local cricket on the Isle of Wight.

"I leave secure in the knowledge that — thanks to the hard work and talent of its staff — the Observer remains one of the most respected and successful local newspapers in the country. It has become the established platform which readers can use to ensure their views will be heard, and the vehicle which will always fight for what it believes to be in the best interests of its tens of thousands of readers and advertisers. I wish Colin Channon every success. He is an experienced and principled journalist whom I have known him for many years. I am certain he will do an excellent job."

Channon worked at The News as a reporter before specialising in sport. He moved to the Evening Herald in Plymouth to become deputy sports editor and returned to The News as sports editor before becoming chief sub-editor.

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