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SUNDAY 14 APRIL 2024

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CLEVER TREVOR

Ace reporter got to the doorstep first by putting Doctor On Call in his car

ON THE ROAD: Trevor Kennard Reynolds in his car, number plate ACE 1

By GEORGE DEARSLEY

One of the most colourful journalists I ever worked with was Trevor Kennard Reynolds, of the Daily Mirror, who happened to live close by in Stockport. He always rode around with a Doctor on Call sign in his car window and a stethoscope on the back shelf, so he could park as close as possible to a house where rival journos had gathered.


His car number plate was ACE 1.


Sometimes to gain access for an interview he’d hobble to the front door on crutches, which he always kept in his boot. He would also don a green, gilt-buttoned suit, with a pair of wings pinned on the breast, resembling, at first glance, an Aer Lingus pilot’s uniform. 


When off duty he'd walk around our village in a burgundy velvet tracksuit with the gold monogram TKR on his left breast. He always wore white gloves, the legacy of a skin complaint.


The old saying “facts are sacred, opinion free” was slightly lost on Trevor. Once when doing a story about actor Paul Newman helping a motor racing garage in the North of England he filed copious quotes from the Hollywood star. When his boss asked for a phone number for Newman in case there were any queries later on, a red-faced Trevor blurted: “Well, it’s what he would have said.”


Once we got a one-line news flash about a train crash. Trevor immediately put copy paper into his typewriter and wrote: “There were tears in the eyes of emergency services staff as they found a young girl’s mangled doll on the trackside.”


He once came away from the door of a widow, who had turned away 15 reporters with a no comment, saying: “I couldn’t shut her up.”


He would go to the local  pub used by the Press pack and ask the barman to call out: “Is Wing Commander Reynolds in?” A mutual friend, Phil Braund, came into the office one day to see Trevor writing a story but with Phil’s name on it. Trevor said it was “to give it credence”. The story was published with a joint byline.


Trevor, who died in 2007 aged 71, even wrote his own obituary in 1997 and left it with a close relative. The envelope was sealed and when it was opened after his death, his self eulogy ended with: “Let’s hope it’s another 20 years-plus before you have to use this. Best wishes and give it a good show. Pictures to follow…”


Mirror man Maurice Chesworth said: “He asked me to write his obit and spent an hour telling of his escapades on the Daily Express, many of which I had witnessed. The next night we were on lates together and I presented him with the obit. He said it was too far fetched and he’d write his own.”


KEITH GRAVES told the Drone: George Dearsley’s recollections of Trevor Reynolds reminded me of my time over 60 years ago on the Sheffield Telegraph. I was somewhat in awe of people like Peggy Robinson (Daily Express) and Bill Davies (Daily Mail) and, of course Trevor (Daily Herald) who were the national newspaper district corrs in the area. 


Peggy was somewhat aloof but Trevor was always willing to offer advice and guidance to young local reporters. One day he and I arrived at the same time at the home of a couple whose two small sons had drowned whilst playing by a nearby river. 


Together we knocked on the door and Trevor soft-soaped us into the house where, amongst other lines, he explained that the fresh faced and obviously nervous youth with him had just started on the local paper and badly needed a few words from the clearly grieving parents. It worked and they even gave us pictures of the children. 


As we left Peggy was just arriving. Trevor turned to the bereft parents and said ‘of course it’s really your fault for letting two lovely little boys play unattended by the river. No doubt the coroner will have something to say about that’.


Back at our cars I said ‘How could you say that to them? It clearly really upset and angered them.’


‘Listen and learn’, said an unrepentant Trevor. ‘They’ll be so pissed off with the media they won’t say a word to anybody who calls’.


They don’t make them like that anymore. Which is probably just as well.