EX-JOURNAL reporter and later Bolton Evening News sports editor Peter Mensforth was the only Journal reporter to have covered the story of a home town Wembley win and remembers the day The Beatles came to town:

THURSDAY was always Journal day in our house.

And it was the same in many other households judging from my experience as a newspaper delivery boy. But that was only the start of the Journal’s involvement in my life.

The newspaper may be celebrating its 140th anniversary but a mere eight years of its history certainly shaped my life.

In July 1964 I was employed as a junior reporter, which led to a career of more than 40 years in journalism.

The editor was Fred Pinder, who had a clear policy for the paper.

“Lots of names,” he would say.

“That’s what people want. They want to read about their neighbours, their friends. They will scour the paper to see who they know. It’s human nature.”

Some of his senior reporters had similar views and they also had it in their heads that they knew exactly what the paper should contain – even at a cost of ignoring the advent of Beatlemania in the early 60s.

A man came into the front counter of the Railway Road office to try to get some publicity for his group.

The man was Brian Epstein and he just wanted a story about the four Liverpool lads, The Beatles, who he had just taken under his wing.

But he was given short shrift by a reporter, who sent him on his way saying the Journal wasn’t in the market for giving out free adverts.

Epstein slunk out of the office, but the Journal certainly reported on the group’s appearance at The Casino on February 25, 1963, coinciding with their record Please Please Me becoming their first number one.

I covered everything from council meetings to fires and one of the saddest pieces I had to report on was the reaction of relatives from Leigh after some of their family members had perished when a Dan Air Comet crashed en route to Spain in 1970.

But there were many good times and probably the best when I covered Leigh’s Challenge Cup win at Wembley in 1971.

As far as I was concerned I was writing about a historic moment for the town.

Unfortunately that didn’t impress my mother, who always turned to the births, marriages and deaths pages first.

“Not many deaths in the paper this week. Perhaps everybody was at Wembley,” was her comment.

Names, names and names is what she wanted.

Just as Fred Pinder had said all those years ago.