Our Geoff bids farewell to a lifetime in newspapers.

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THE North Devon Gazette’s Geoff Staddon retired on Friday after a remarkable 47-year career at the newspaper.

It was two months before England won the World Cup and four years before man landed on the moon that the 16-year-old grammar school leaver was offered a job on the old Bideford Gazette.

Then produced at the former offices in Grenville Street, the Gazette was still a broadsheet – Torridge’s paid-for newspaper.

It was the time of hot metal, a time when the clickety-clack of the typewriter and the haze of cigarette smoke was the stuff of newsrooms.

During his long-service to Bideford and the wider North Devon community Geoff has turned countless stones on local democracy, reported stories of human endeavour and tragedy, and told incredible tales of triumph over adversity.

In later years, he turned his attentions to sports reporting, covering everything from football to model yacht racing.

Long-serving Bideford councillor and local historian Peter Christie said Geoff’s reports were always worth reading and could be relied on for their accuracy and fairness.

He said: “Geoff was always willing to put councillors on the spot in the nicest possible way. His questions were always searching but never leading and you could always be sure his reports were fair and accurate.

“If you saw a report with the name Geoff Staddon on it you knew it was one that was worth reading.”

Geoff bows out this week as one of the longest serving reporters in North Devon.

Gazette editor Andy Keeble said: “You really couldn’t wish for a better colleague than Geoff.

“His reputation for accuracy and honesty was second to none and will be sorely missed by everyone at the Gazette – not least for his quick wit, friendly manner and calm persona, even during turbulent times on the newsdesk.”

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