Hail this Ruddy marvel

The most complex documents that most journalists will have to prepare are their expenses claim forms. So spare a thought for James Ruddy, deputy editor of the Eastern Daily Press, who has spent the past two and a half years immersed in the sort of legal paperwork that would have sent lesser hacks scurrying pubwards.

It wasn’t, fortunately for him, because of some horrendous libel case he was having to defend, but a legal loophole that had been highlighted by one of his newspaper’s campaigns.

The EDP had helped raise money for an endowment fund for carers across the county of Norfolk, but was prevented from topping it up with National Lottery funding because of an anomaly in the law.

Painstakingly, Ruddy engrossed himself in the paper’s efforts to put together the case for changing the law, approaching local MPs to back a private members bill, chivvying ministers and preparing legal dossiers. That bill is now law and will benefit people all over the country.

This sort of dedication rarely gets credit from a public whose perception of the job is stuck at the “sleazy” end of the scale. Yet it will have a positive impact for charities nationwide.

There can be few better reasons for being in the business.

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