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July 17, 2017

Sir Ray Tindle steps down as company chairman aged 90 and declares: ‘Local news will live forever’

By Dominic Ponsford

Sir Ray Tindle has handed over control of the newspaper company he started 70 years ago to his son Owen.

Tindle started the company with £300 demob money given to him after serving in Word War Two. Be built it up to the UK’s tenth largest local newspaper publisher with 220 titles.

In recent years Tindle Newspapers  has been one of the few local newspaper publishers to avoid compulsory redundancies. It instead responded to the recession by launch more local titles staffed out of existing resources

He made his announcement at the Tindle Top Management Conference at the Oxon Hoath Retreat and Conference Centre in Kent which is run by his son Owen.

Tindle will continue to be involved as president of the company.

He said: “I must apologise for my absence recently through a series of illnesses and I must sincerely thank all the many people who have pulled me through and all those marvelous people who have pulled our papers through these recent troubled times.

“I would like to thank my wife Beryl.  She has been a rock upon which I have leaned heavily on for months now.

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“I also thank my son Owen and say how pleased I am that as of now Owen becomes Chairman of the Tindle Group.

“Thank you Owen for all you and your colleagues have done these last months and years.

“I would also like to take this opportunity of thanking Wendy Craig, vice chairman, and the managing directors of the various regions – Scott Wood, Attracta Astley, Simon Parsonson, Sandra Perraton and Jackie Smith  –  not forgetting Danny Cammiade who is doing so much for the company.

“Thank you all so much.  I continue as president of the whole set-up.

“Let me just say a word about the future of our industry.  I see a greater need for our local press now than I have ever seen in my 80 or so years connected with this business. Yes, local papers will survive.  Local news in depth is what people need.

“Names, faces and places.  There is no doubt about it – sufficient demand is still there.  Local detailed news is in a category of its own.  It has survived many years.  It will live forever.

“Many people have perhaps heard the story of how I was involved in producing a daily newspaper on a troopship in the Far East in the early 1940’s and my purchase of our first paper with the £300 demob money as back pay, but the connections actually started earlier than that.

“When the bombing of London started, schools still operating in the Capital were evacuated.  I was in one of many long queues at Paddington Station.

“Entirely through my own fault I returned from a visit to the loo and joined the wrong queue – I ended up in Torquay where I was allocated to a family in Paignton.

“Their neighbours were Charles and Kath Crook and their two daughters.  Charles was the Advertisement Manager of the Torquay Herald & Express.

“I owe them so much.  I fell in love with local papers then (1940) and I’ve been in love with them ever since.”

Owen Tindle said: “Thank you Sir Ray for that excellent and very moving speech and for giving me this new revered position. It is a great honour to be passed the baton of the family company which I will carry forward for many years to come I’m sure. I’m so glad that you are staying on as President and more importantly as our esteemed guru.

“Yours is a hard act to follow – an impossible act to follow, for you have created and built this group into one of the finest independent local newspaper groups in the country.  And you yourself must be the most accomplished and respected local newspaperman in the entire industry.

“No-one else has created and maintained such a successful and entirely family-owned group, remained in profit for over 40 years without incurring one penny of debt to anyone.  No-one else has remained so steadfast for so many decades through all the hard times and against such an array of adversaries, and carried themselves with such dignity, integrity and good humour.

“Over the years your advice has been sought by industry chiefs, senior parliamentary ministers and prime ministers. No-one else in the industry has received such a succession of high honours from OBE to CBE to Knight of the Realm.

“Of course it will not just be me who sees TNL into the new era but stalwart colleagues Wendy, Danny, Scott, Simon, Attracta, Sandra, Jackie and all of you here today.

“We will have to continually re-appraise and re-align ourselves with the realities of the times and the reduced revenues that we are all experiencing,  but we will go forward into the new era of local media, keeping things beautifully small and beautifully local.”

Pictured, left to right: Owen Tindle, Sir Ray Tindle and Lady Tindle.

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