Terry, the man who changed my life

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SMOKE GETS IN YOUR EYES: Stephen Wood before he met Terry


I will always be in debt to Terry Evans. One phone call from him changed my life.

I met him in 1968 on the Evening Mail, Birmingham, where I was a news sub and he was on the picture desk. His wife-to-be, Christine, also worked on the EM as Editor's secretary.

We remained in touch while I worked as Picture Editor on the Express and Star, Wolverhampton, and we both washed up on the Daily Express night picture desk in the early Seventies.

I left in 1974 to go subbing on the Evening Gazette, Middlesbrough but, when I had had enough of choking on the fumes from the ICI plant at Redcar, seized the chance to work with my (first) father-in-law doing healthy outside work building electricity sub-stations around Cambridgeshire for Eastern Electricity.

Romantic notions faded after a year of ice-cold winds, heavy digging, cut fingers and grumpy site managers; but then in 1976 came the unexpected call from Terry. That unmistakeable soft voice tinged with Brum said: "There's a job down here mate. Do you want it?”

The night picture desk had picture production duties and was morphing rapidly into a night art desk, forming the nucleus of the Art Empire which told chief subs and night editors how to do their jobs.

We were taking on huge amounts of extra work drawing layouts for which, frankly, we had not been employed. The Art Director never spoke to us and the FoC wasn't interested. Suddenly, mild-mannered Terry fumed: "I'm going to see Derek [Jameson, Editor 1977-80] about this.” Bosh! Extra 500 quid a year all round, just like that.

Terry began his ascent through the picture desk ranks while I eventually ended up doing the job I loved best, Production Editor of the International Express under Ray "Red Mist" Mills.

Terry was a great help to the IX team, always a delight to chat with about the old days in Brum and I will for ever be thankful for that call. Good chap.

The nicest bloke in Fleet Street

A class act

© 2005-2022 Alastair McIntyre