Malcolm Ryding looks back on his 21 years in the editor’s chair at the Journal:

HOW would the ‘Lobbygobbler Leythers’ take to a ‘Big Wiggin pie-eater’?

On Monday, June 11, 1979 at 9am I was to find out. And it was to be the start of a journey which would take me through to New Year’s Eve 2000 as editor of the Leigh Journal.

The Journal was big on charity and fundraising stories. I’m chuffed to have played a part in three campaigns which had an impact on the welfare of that community – and beyond.

They included campaigning against the building of a new hospital complex on the Hindley/Ince boundary which would have seen the closure of both Leigh and Wigan Infirmary, raising more than £50,000 for heart defibrillators to be placed in local emergency ambulances and taking relief supplies to Romania.

On March 5, 1984, the year-long miners’ strike began. They were fighting for their livelihoods rather than just a wage increase knowing that if they lost, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher would decimate the coal industry.

Five years after the strike, Golborne Colliery closed and 600 miners at Bickershaw and Parsonage Collieries lost their jobs when the pits closed on March 13, 1992.

A sad day for Leigh, a tragic day for many families.