Maureen Hodges, a veteran specialist in agricultural journalism, has become a Member of the Guild.
As farming and rural affairs editor of The Cumberland News and News and Star, based in Carlisle, Cumbria, she has one of the biggest agricultural patches in the country to cover.
It’s a diverse job involving covering everything from protests over milk prices paid to dairy farmers to auction mart sales and summer shows.
She started at the paper in 1970 as a copytaker, then moved into subbing before becoming the then-editor’s secretary and later joining the reporting team.
In 1975 she left for a job as a reporter with the then Blyth News in Northumberland, before leaving eight years later for a job as a reporter and latterly political reporter on the Chorley Guardian in Lancashire.
A spell with holiday company Pontins, based at their head office in Eccleston, Lancashire, as pess officer and customer relations manager, was followed by 18 months with the Lancashire Evening Telegraph in its Clitheroe office as a reporter.
She returned to Cumbria in 1989 when she joined BBC Radio Cumbria for two years.
Maureen reported for the Hexham Courant for eight years, then joined The Cumberland News part-time when foot and mouth struck. Towards the end of the crisis, she was the main reporter dealing with conferences and briefings and fielding calls from farmers.
She left the paper in 2006 to emigrate to Spain to set up an adventure holiday business.
But seven years later she returned to Cumbria and her old job as farming and rural affairs editor.