End of the story for wire man Norman

WIRE MAN ... Norman Tulip, third from the left, who started with the Gazette at 14.
WIRE MAN ... Norman Tulip, third from the left, who started with the Gazette at 14.

BEFORE computers silenced their clatter, telegraphic machines were a vital, thrilling, part of newspaper life.

It was through them that stories and pictures went back and forth across the country - the world even, through agencies such as Reuters and the Press Association.

They brought updates on everything from disasters to General Elections, to which horse had won the 2.30 at Kempton Park. The top stories and photographs from what is now South Tyneside went in the other direction, and their operation was a highly technical skill.

I can’t let the week end, then, without saying goodbye to my old friend and former colleague in the Shields Gazette’s ‘wire room,’ Norman Tulip, whose funeral took place in South Shields earlier this week.

Norman, who was 83, was part of our Gazette family for more than 50 years, having started with the paper as a messenger boy at the age of 14.

He rose to become a telegraphist, and his job was held open for him during his term of National Service.

For many years afterwards, from the newsroom, I was one of the beneficiaries of his wisdom, his kindness and his humour. The picture here is from that era, nearly 30 years ago, taken at a Gazette retirement function.

Away from work, he and his wife, Audrey, enjoyed dancing and foreign travel; also family life with their sons, Keith and Barry, and, eventually, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

So Norman, no more ‘mf’ but certainly no ‘end’ of memories.