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April 3, 2022updated 30 Sep 2022 11:12am

Sage of Sussex Adam Trimingham files his final Brighton Argus column after 45 years

By Frank le Duc

Long-serving local newspaper journalist Adam Trimingham will see his final column for The Argus appear next week after 45 years.

When it started in the 1970s the Argus column was called Just Trimingham and his insights, observations and opinions prompted a healthy mailbag for the Brighton Argus letters page.

The newspaper – then known as the Evening Argus – had nine editions and a daily circulation heading towards a peak of 120,000.

Adam once shaved off his beard and a new clean-shaven headshot duly appeared with his column. Readers responded in their droves, writing in to urge him to regrow his beard – and he did, restoring his familiar face.

His column ran for many years with the tagline “Adam Trimingham – the Sage of Sussex” while Adam also wrote most of the leading articles and was ever-present in the council chamber.

When Adam retired as a reporter, in 2004, he became the first honorary freeman of the city of Brighton and Hove, marking his long service, including his well-respected coverage of the council.

His name even appeared on the front of a local bus – an honour usually reserved for long-departed local dignitaries and celebrities.

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Despite drawing his pension, Adam continued to write regularly for the paper, contributing not only his weekly column but book reviews, local history features and well-informed nostalgia.

He set the national news agenda in 2007 when the Liberal Democrats held their annual party conference in Brighton.

Adam called on the 66-year-old leader Sir Menzies Campbell to resign and make way for a younger man. Few appreciated that Adam was 65 at the time.

But within weeks Sir Menzies quit and a relatively young and recently elected Nick Clegg took the reins.

While Adam’s remit encompassed politics from the council chamber to the world stage, he had a breadth of knowledge that meant he could write authoritatively and entertainingly on pretty much any subject.

In the early days of his column, he regularly riled dog owners over the state of the pavements and parks. These days, bins abound for dog mess and most owners clear up behind their pets.

Adam Trimingham Argus

Adam’s name even appeared on the front of a local bus – an honour usually reserved for long-departed local dignitaries and celebrities

Another recurring topic was sea swimming. Adam didn’t just confine himself to writing about Brighton’s long history of bathing in the brine but took a daily dip himself.

He celebrated allotment life from first-hand experience and was a persistent advocate of cycling as a healthy alternative to the car as a means of transport, having never been a driver.

His trusty old bike became a museum exhibit and when he married fellow Argus reporter Sue Taylor, they rode from the register office to the reception on a tandem.

The ingredients of success for Adam’s columns included not only his impressive memory, long working knowledge and widely respected integrity but his sense of humour.

He included the occasional paragraph from DAN – the Department of Appropriate Names – and the feature even appeared during the editorship of the aptly named Terry Page.

Editors worth their salt found Adam to be a well-informed, decent and reliable sounding board as well as a prolific writer.

His reporting was accurate, balanced and fair – and his opinions he kept for his columns. They may have spurred readers to write in and take issue but his words were measured and his writing was never pompous or boring.

By popular demand, he even penned a book called “Trimingham’s Brighton – An insider’s view of the town from the celebrated Evening Argus columnist”.

Now, with his 80th birthday looming, and 55 years after taking a job as a reporter in Brighton, Adam is retiring again.

His final column is due to appear on Wednesday 6 April.

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