North Devon Gazette reporter stands down after 47 years

A veteran reporter has retired after working on the same paper for 47 years.

Geoff Staddon, who first started working on the Bideford Gazette in 1966 as a 16-year-old, has retired after a life of writing the news in North Devon.

Over his career, the Bideford Gazette became the North Devon Gazette, but he remained a constant.

Staddon said: “I was born and brought up here and had all my family around, and it’s a lovely place to live and work.

“You get people from all over the country wanting to live and work here nowadays, so it’s a privilege.”

Editor Andy Keeble said: “You really couldn’t wish for a better colleague than Geoff.

“His reputation for accuracy and honesty was second to none and will be sorely missed by everyone at the Gazette – not least for his quick wit, friendly manner and calm persona, even during turbulent times on the newsdesk.”

During his long service to Bideford and North Devon Staddon covered a wide range of stories, from local politics and human interest stories to sports reporting in his later years.

Bideford councillor and local historian Peter Christie said that Staddon’s reports were consistently fair and well worth reading

“Geoff was always willing to put councillors on the spot in the nicest possible way. His questions were always searching but never leading and you could always be sure his reports were fair and accurate," he said.
“If you saw a report with the name Geoff Staddon on it you knew it was one that was worth reading.”

The business of producing news has changed a lot since 1966, but Staddon commented that some things never change.

He said: "Someone entering journalism these days will need to know all the modern technology – be good with a computer and Twitter and Facebook and all that.

“But they still need to know how to talk to people, how to approach them and how to be trusted by people.”

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