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June 13, 2014

Six more Oldie contributors and ‘irreplaceable’ sub-editor follow Richard Ingrams out of the door

By William Turvill

Six more contributors and a full-time member of staff have departed The Oldie since Alexander Chancellor was named editor of the title on Wednesday.

The departures come after founding editor Richard Ingrams handed in his resignation on 30 May after being summoned to a disciplinary hearing brought by publisher James Pembroke.

Sub-editor Deborah Asher, who Ingrams has described as “irreplaceable”, handed in her notice yesterday. Press Gazette understands she made the decision because of being “very unhappy about the circumstances of Richard’s departure”.

Private Eye journalist Tim Minogue, who contributed to The Oldie diary, Piers Brandon, Melanie McFadyean, Nigel Fountain and religion correspondent Melanie McDonagh have also announced they will no longer be working for the magazine. Press Gazette also understands diary editor Sarah Shannon has this afternoon announced her departure.

Following the news of Chancellor’s appointment, McDonagh wrote an email to contributors saying: “Dear friends, exciting news about Alexander: I wish him all the best. But although I have had great fun playing God I am conscious that it was Richard who appointed me and so I think I must leave with him. Melanie (or, as I prefer, God).”

Ingrams paid tribute to McDonagh, telling her she had made a “very noble gesture”. He added: “She will definitely go to heaven now.”

McFadyean said: "Had it not been for  Richard I would not have worked for The Oldie nor done that column I really enjoyed doing for some 18 months called Pearls of Wisdom.

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"Working for Richard was a great pleasure – he is my friend and was the best editor I have ever worked with and I don't feel right about working for the magazine any more.

"It will always feel like his magazine, his idea, his inspiration and it is very sad he is no longer there."

Brendon wrote: “After wrestling with divided loyalties I’ve decided, with much regret, to follow Richard into the wilderness.  He recruited me and I owe him a lot, especially in the way of admiration and affection. 

“What is more, we were at school together.  He saved my life (or he might have done if he’d had the chance). 

“I wish The Oldie well and I have no illusions that my departure will have the slightest effect on it or anyone else. But now seems to be as good a time in life as any to make a futile gesture. 

“I shall miss being part of Richard’s gang. I shall miss his postcards. I’ll even miss those disgusting meals at Simpson’s.”

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