FORMER reporter, now church minister at Chowbent Chapel, Atherton, Brenda Catherall recalls her time at the Journal:

I JOINED the Leigh Journal in 1976 and was thrilled at the prospect of working for the local newspaper which my family had bought for years.

Not so the all-male editorial enclave of eight journalists and two photographers dreading the first female reporter to arrive at Leigh for years.

I was quickly accepted as one of the lads due to my impressive skills at matchbox rugby!

Looking back on those days it was amazing to think of the differences in the newspaper world then.

We used typewriters and breaking news would be sent to from a telephone box and copy dictated.

We were also on the cusp of the demise of the industrial era. Most of the mills were closing but we still had the coal mines.

We covered big stories, occasionally traumatic ones, but also the quirky specialities like the ‘holiday run’ during the two-week local summer holiday, meeting Journal readers at places like Blackpool and having holiday parade photos in a special edition.

My greatest memory has got to be travelling to Whitehaven in 1982 for Leigh’s challenge for the Championship.

At the closing whistle with victory secured, Leigh fans flooded on to the pitch for a celebratory dance.

I too jumped over a hoarding and had an impromptu waltz with a pensioner who happened to live in the same street as me.

My time spent in journalism left me with many happy memories and lasting friendships.