Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Revenge attack, hotel fire and Mary Bell

Thanks for the generous reaction to our Editorial Centre anniversary (see previous post). It led to a flurry of Hastings memories on Twitter. Northern Echo editor Peter Barron, who ran the news-editing course and was always the ideas man, suggests I should ask for your favourite Hastings story, publish a list, and offer a prize to the best. I'm up for that. So far we have:

Richard Bowyer  @Sightscreen @EchoPeterBarron @petersands55 Memory, I turned up at the hotel in Hastings for the Editors' Chair course and a car had smashed into the bar
@EchoPeterBarron @petersands55 It's great when the story comes to you! The bar stayed open, fortunately!
@Sightscreen @petersands55 Blimey! I remember that. It was a revenge attack because the barman was having an affair with the driver's wife.

There was also a fire at the hotel. The contingent from The Irish Times were in the bar (inevitably) and had to let the firemen in as they couldn't negotiate the revolving doors. They then set about giving firemen's lifts to the women in the restaurant. The course presented the IT chief sub, Pat McGoldrick, with a toy fire engine.

@petersands55 @house_writer Favourite memory. False fire alarm in Fawlty Towers, the Irish Times lads giving firemen's lifts to old ladies.

And at the same time as that was going on, the course hacks claimed to have tracked down Mary Bell, who killed two boys in Newcastle when she was 11.

Jim Falla  @argyllscricket  I remember that brochure! Will never forget Spring 98 - news ed course, hotel fire and Mary Bell week

And then there was the story that made the splash in the Evening Argus in Brighton. Peter's jacket went missing for half an hour when we changed conference rooms. It was found and his wallet was still there, so no worries. But someone had taken his credit card details and used the number to fax a booking for a luxury hotel. The first Peter knew of it was when he received a letter from The Grand Hotel in Eastbourne inviting him back for another stay – and a bill for almost £400. Peter insists: “I’ve never even been to Eastbourne in my life but I have run up a huge hotel bill there with a woman I have never met." The story is on Hold The Front Page hereIt sounds like there was nothing but mayhem ... but there were gentler memories too.

And playing bingo on Hastings pier with Hazel Dolan and winning a tin of Fray Bentos corned beef!
Ian Reeve  @IanReevebiz Great wk there in 1992. But Bob James not impressed with 'Screw scrams in snout scam' headline I wrote in exercise about a prison officer fleeing a tobacco fraud

So if you have any stories from those heady days, let me have them and I will add them to the list. And who knows, you might win a bottle of something special, a toy fire engine or even a Fray Bentos pie.

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