Former Shields Gazette journalist Janis Blower and Look North presenter Jeff Brown named Honorary Fellows named for The Customs House

Former Shields Gazette journalist Janis Blower has been chosen alongside broadcaster Jeff Brown in the latest round of Honorary Fellows named for The Customs House Academy.

Janis Blower.
Janis Blower.

The Academy, launched to mark the 150th anniversary of the building’s opening, recognises and honours the achievements of exceptional individuals who have made a major contribution to the world of arts and entertainment and have a significant connection with South Tyneside.

The theatre and arts venue is welcoming the latest two additions to The Customs House Academy on Sunday, June 19.

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Janis is an author and journalist, whose contribution to the Shields Gazette over 40 years won many awards.

Jeff Brown.

Her Cookson Country collection can be found in expat homes around the world, and Janis remains a local history doyenne who many in South Tyneside look to for her knowledge and expertise.

Named alongside her is another journalist, Jeff Brown, who worked in a number of roles before joining the sports team at Tyne Tees TV and ultimately moving to BBC Look North as sports presenter and then the regular anchor for the show.

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His play ‘Cornered’ tells the story of David Corner and the aftermath of the ‘Friendly’ league cup final.

The afternoon where the Honorary Fellows will be officially appointed will be hosted by the Voice of North East News, Stephanie Finnon from BBC Radio Newcastle.

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Ray Spencer, executive director at The Customs House, said: “Jeff and Janis are both Legends in their own fields and have that rare gift in modern journalism that they are loved and trusted by the communities they serve”

Jeff and Janis join a very exclusive club of Honorary Fellows that includes Sarah Millican, Jason Cook, Chris & Rosie Ramsay, Jade Thirlwall, Joe McElderry, Nadine Shah, Jamie Lambert, Encore, Ann-Marie Owens, John Woodvine, John Hays, Tom Kelly, John Miles, Andy Bogle, Lindsay Kemp, Sheila Graber, Bob Olley, Alex Ferguson, Richard Ord, George Iriving, Sandford Goudie and Nigel Begg.

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Tickets for the event are priced at £25 each can be purchased by calling 0191 454 1234 (Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 3pm) or online at

Spaces are limited and early booking is advised to avoid disappointment.