After working for almost six decades, we look back at the illustrious career of Chronicle editor David Jones - who has become affectionately known by many as 'Mr Glossop'...
From tales of the unexpected, including staking out his reportedly haunted local Co-op overnight, and stories of UFOs and aliens landing on the moors in the 1990s, to the more down to earth 50 plus year campaign for a local bypass - David has relayed it all in the pages of the Chron.
His Watchman comment column over the decades, reflecting on the week’s news, has become legendary in its own right.
Sniffing out another exclusive!
David’s story could be a reflection on a bygone age of reporting, but he is living proof of the value of local, grass roots journalism to local communities and its value to this very day.
While Facebook, internet sites (including the Chron’s own), plus social media all have their place – and David has embraced them all - the weekly Chron remains the town’s news bible, hugely well supported and respected by local residents and businesses.
It remains to this day the first port of call for news, events, and has undoubtedly been instrumental in reflecting the community, highlighting local concerns, raising countless amounts of money for good causes, and shaping opinion as a true voice for the community it serves.
Its value in this last year - being sort out as residents seek the latest local news about the pandemic - has been invaluable too.
David has lived through a number of changes in the title’s history, from different ownership, the switch from broadsheet to tabloid and the introduction of colour photographs, not to mention the wholesale changes in recent years of how the news is reported and digested.
But throughout it all, David has remained the consummate professional newsman, ensuring his beloved publication is brimming with local news, gossip and campaigns throughout it all.
Prior to the pandemic the biggest challenge to the continuation of the titles came in 2012 following the financial challenges of the banking crash.
Just short of 50 years in the job, it looked like David might be hanging up his trusted pen and notepad for the final time, as the paper briefly ceased publication for six weeks.
There was much consternation in the town, but as a sister title to the Tameside Reporter, a small, dedicated team of former employees was determined to put the paper back on its feet and thanks to financial backing from a housing association, the Glossop Chronicle began publishing again as a proud, wholly editorially independent publication.
David was a vital member of that team and was now at the helm of his own paper and it is undoubtedly the fact that the Chron today simply wouldn’t have existed without him.
When David had first started out in 1963 he was part of a district reporting team of four.
From 2012 he was on his own, producing ten change pages of local news and sport single-handedly each week.
Having joined forces with Tameside Radio too in 2012, he contributed daily news for our hourly bulletins and became a regular radio interviewer and contributor himself for our news shows.
David with Tameside Reporter editor Nigel Skinner (left) holding up special Remembrance editions of the Reporter and Chronicle in 2018
There are, sadly, a diminishing number who can boast, especially in this day and age, of such an illustrious career in local journalism and David is a member of a very exclusive club.
David Jones - Mr Glossop - is not simply a star of the newsroom but a saviour of his community’s local newspaper - and of the local news itself.
For that we salute him and he undoubtedly deserves a medal - and most certainly a well deserved and peaceful ‘retirement’.
In 1966 Ian Brady and Myra Hindley were convicted of the Moors Murders. It wasn’t just the Saddleworth Moors which were searched in the early days, but the moors across the High Peak too. David was there and also reported from Hyde Magistrates’ Court where the pair first appeared before the trial was sent to Chester Crown Court. He was key locally over the years in being the voice for residents demanding the pair never be released. He also reported on the demolition of the evil couple’s council home in Hattersley when tenants who subsequently lived there claimed it was haunted. Plus he was the first to pen the stories of how bricks and debris were stolen from the demolition site and sold as sick souvenirs.
On the front line
In the early 1970s David was on the front line as the National Front staged a march in Hyde – the scale of the march is put into context when you discover that it was patrolled by no less than 2,000 police officers. David braved the missiles and objects hurled at the officers as they attempted to keep law and order in a truly frightening experience, which he remembers vividly to this day, to file his report.
What the doctor (Shipman) ordered
Doubling up on reporting duties for the North Cheshire Herald in Hyde, David knew Harold Shipman well. He was even approached by the notorious doctor to run an appeal in the paper to raise money to buy surgical implements, so Shipman could carry out procedures in his surgery. The doctor said this would help greatly, as older patients wouldn’t then have to go to hospital. David was one of the team to report on the subsequent trial, with his knowledge of the evil doctor contributing fascinating background detail afterwards, not least because David had known victim Kathleen Grundy so very well too, for she had been a local councillor and previous Mayor.
It’s Hall over (the front page)
David had met and reported frequently on Stuart Hall before his infamous fall from grace. The former celebrity, who attended Glossop Grammar, was a regular visitor to local events. David reported on how the celeb was painted into a picture placed in Glossop Town Hall - and then reported on how he was subsequently painted out again years later when the news of his crimes came to light. David also exclusively interviewed one of Hall’s victims from our area who bravely stepped forward.
Lowry keeps quiet
David interviewed famous artist LS Lowry, who lived in Mottram, on a number of occasions, but the shy artist, who was not well known then, never had too much to say. In fact at one exhibition more than 50 years ago, put on in his honour by the local council, his quote was: “I’ve never spoken in my life – and I prefer not to now!” David dutifully took down his utterings. Lowry used to take his paintings to Mottram Show – and David remembers, very rarely sold any of them.
Saving the (news) day
When David first worked at the Chron it was an age of typewriters and ink. He and the other reporters in the Glossop district office (then part of the Ashton Reporter Group of Newspapers) would type up their reports on individual sheets. David would then package these up in a brown parcel and pop outside to hand them to the conductor on the local SHMD bus bound for Ashton, where they were duly collected at the head newspaper office at the other end. One day, popping across to the shops on his break the conductor dropped the ‘package’ in Glossop town square, where soon, in a era when the IRA were highly active, a police cordon had been thrown up around the small but suspect bundle. David eventually came to the rescue to save the news from imminent destruction!
David Jones retires