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Peter Hill
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Peter Hill

New Senior Fellow of the Guild

Published on 13th December 2013

George ThomsonGeorge Thomson, a retired Fleet Street agricultural journalist for 50 years and a former Guild chairman, has become a Senior Fellow of the Guild, joining Peter Bell, Eddie Gillanders, Peter Ryder and David Steers.

"Fellowship is awarded at the discretion of the management Council in recognition of special service to the Guild," explains current chairman, Jane Craigie. "The Guild has five Senior Fellows, based on when they received their Fellowship, who are invited to attend Guild Council meetings to offer advice and wisdom as and when they wish to do so."

George was destined to become a journalist from his mid teens when he and his brother worked on the Barnett Council Youth Magazine. To develop some of his lifelong journalistic skills, their mother paid for a tutor to come to their home to teach the boys shorthand, a skill which George says stood in good stead during his career.

It was also during his childhood that he developed an enduring interest in agriculture – he helped with ‘wartime farming’ on farms around Barnett during WWII.

George's Fleet Street career started with the Edinburgh Evening Dispatch, followed – after 18 months in the army for his National Service – by a London-based reporting role with The Scotsman. He remembers fondly the features he wrote on the Festival of Britain Exhibition held on the South Bank in 1951.

After this, he had a desire to get into agricultural journalism, so became the London-based agricultural correspondent for The Scotsman. Following this role, he spent five years in public relations at the NFU, but yearned to get back to Fleet Street. This he did, joining United Newspapers as an agricultural correspondent working on three evening papers and Farmers Guardian. George was Guild Chairman in 1979/80.

"He is still an avid follower of the farming industry, the Journalist’s Guild and our own Guild, and is a former trustee of the Charitable Trust," says Jane. "We're looking forward to seeing him at our London Council meetings if he wants to come."

George made his debut at the December Council meeting: "It's a great honour for me to become a Senior Fellow, although I'm conscious that it has only come about because of the passing of my great friend Derek Watson earlier this year - his shoes will be very difficult to fill," he said.

Others to have been honoured with Guild Fellowship are Roger Abbott, John McB Allan, Arthur Anderson, Nick Bond, Godfrey Brown, Peter Bullen, Rosie Carne, Denis Chamberlain, Mary Cherry, Denis Frost, Jeremy Hawkey, Stephen Howe, David Lloyd, Joe Watson and Teresa Wickham.

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