Most reporters are lucky to get a speech from their editor and a mock-up front page from the subs’ desk on their retirement.
But for David Ward, who last week stepped down after 30 years in The Guardian’s Manchester office, his colleagues had arranged something rather more cultured.
At a party at Salford’s Lowry Centre last Friday, 150 friends and co-workers from across the country heard the world premiere of two classical music pieces, both commissioned especially for Ward.
One was performed by a quartet from Manchester’s Halle Orchestra and written by its education director Steven Pickett, while the other was played by an ensemble from the Royal Northern College of Music and
written by young composer Michael Doherty, who researched Ward’s life and work for the piece.
Martin Wainwright, The Guardian’s northern editor, said: ‘It was fantastic to see so many big hitters from Manchester, the wider North and indeed London turn out to honour David, and to have a proper do for a colleague who has served The Guardian and the region outstandingly for so long.
‘We wanted lots of music because the only criticism I’ve heard of David has been a bit of shushing in the office when he exercised his famous habit of bursting into song a bit too close to colleagues’ deadlines.”