Largs Probus Club members were treated to a 'Confessions of an Editor' talk by Drew Cochrane, former editor of the Largs and Millport Weekly News.

Drew initially apologised for appearing in a tracksuit which he was wearing to attend walking football, of which he and Probus member Allan Little had been founding members of six years ago. Drew described the activity as the Men’s Shed, without the shed.

He then went on to describe that by the end of this year, he will have been retired from his roll at the “Wee Paper” for ten years.

Drew was appointed as editor to the paper as a 22-year-old, the youngest editor in the UK at that time.

He then went on to serve there for 40 years which accorded him the title of longest serving editor in the UK. He added that he thought he should retire before he ended up the oldest editor in the UK.

Largs and Millport Weekly News:

Drew brought with him some classic editions of the Largs & Millport Weekly News and passed them around the gathering, drawing attention to one headline from 1994 which reported “Largs Thistle, Champions of Scotland”. This produced cheers from the audience.

He went on give an account of his early days in reporting and explained he was well placed to become a reporter as he had gained a higher in English and Commercial Studies.

This was a class that equipped him with the ability to type and take shorthand, qualifications which meant that when he took up his first reporting position with the Ardrossan & Saltcoats Herald he could be sent anywhere and everywhere to cover events.

Largs and Millport Weekly News:

Drew regaled the gathering with many amusing anecdotes of his early days as a cub reporter and subsequently when he became editor at the News.

He remarked that one of the things about being an old school editor was that he paid attention to minding his “Ps & Qs” He explained how important grammar and punctuation were to journalism, adding that journalists were taught to observe the “Five wise Men of Journalism” i.e. to ask who, why, what, where and when and sometimes how.

He explained that a journalist asking these questions would normally get the correct context of a story.

Largs and Millport Weekly News: Pictured in the editor's chair in 2013Pictured in the editor's chair in 2013 (Image: Drew Cochrane)

Using punctuation correctly has a huge bearing on context and meaning and Drew displayed this importance by displaying some headlines with hilarious misplaced commas or apostrophes.

Jim Canning thanked Drew for his highly informative and amusing presentation on his long carer in journalism, which was well received by members.

Largs Probus Club will next meet in the Willowbank Hotel on Wednesday, March 20 for coffee and scones when members Bernie Rafferty, Douglas Coulter and John Riddell will speak for ten minutes on a subject of their choice. On March 27 Bill Roger will speak on Culzean Castle and the Kennedy Family.