After almost 30 years, Michael Pollitt is standing down as agricultural editor of the Eastern Daily Press (EDP) – the longest-serving journalist in this role on the Norfolk-based regional morning newspaper in its 144-years history.
Coincidentally, just a few weeks after tendering his resignation, Michael was admitted to hospital after a dramatic blue-light ambulance ride and being diagnosed with acute pancreatitis. Happily, he is now recuperating.
As one of a diminishing number of farming editors on regional newspapers, Michael has maintained high standards reporting on agricultural and rural affairs issues over the years, more recently providing copy for the EDP’s online presence as well as the regular newspaper.
In 2010, his work was recognised by the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association when he received the annual award for making an outstanding contribution to promoting food, farming and countryside in Norfolk.
The Timothy Colman Prize was presented by the retiring Royal Norfolk Show president, Henry Cator, who said of Michael: “You are a very worthy winner. There is no doubt at all that what you have done, through the pages of the EDP and through your own efforts with events such as the Spring Fling, have truly embodied the meaning and the words of what the prize is about.”
Michael’s Spring Fling was his response to a challenge from Mr Cator when chairman of the RNAA’s council to stage an event to bring town and country together to promote understanding about food and farming. The event attracted an estimated 5000 children and adults to the Norfolk showground each spring.
As for stepping down from the EDP, which he joined in 1984, Michael says: “I have no plans to work in journalism or as a freelance after writing about farming related issues for close on 40 years. My first venture into print was writing about the scandal of low pay for washing cattle floats at the two Otley weekly market aged 13 in the Wharfedale & Airedale Observer, for which I was paid the Princely sum of ten shillings – now 50p. Not much has changed since 1969!
“Instead, I’m looking to do something in the voluntary or similar sector, which will compliment my current role as secretary and treasurer of Stalham Farmers’ Club. I hope to get out and about as soon as recovery permits and, with luck, to attend and report on my 30th Royal Norfolk Show at the end of June.”
Michael is pictured right performing a vital role as agricultural editor – holding his photographer’s flash gun during a chilly December assignment.