Friends and colleagues say a Cromer ‘farewell’ to Richard Batson, long-serving journalist with the EDP

Richard Batson with EDP editor-in-chief Nigel Pickover, and others at his surprise farewell gatherin

Richard Batson with EDP editor-in-chief Nigel Pickover, and others at his surprise farewell gathering in the Cromer office of the EDP. Picture: ANDREAS YIASIMI - Credit: Archant

Friends and colleagues gathered in the Cromer office of the

North Norfolk News and its sister paper the EDP for a surprise farewell to long-serving journalist Richard Batson.

Mr Batson, 60, has left EDP publisher Archant after 40 years divided between its newspaper offices in King's Lynn, Wisbech, Dereham, Swaffham, Diss and Great Yarmouth.

He finished his newspaper career with a 23-year stint in Cromer as chief reporter and later editor of the North Norfolk News.

Nigel Pickover, editor-in-chief of the EDP, attended the reception and recalled Mr Batson's time with the company, including the many major and minor stories he had covered.

He described him as a 'great journalist and a gentle man'.

Mr Batson received gifts from colleagues, and grateful Cromer Pier staff presented him with a plaque for a seat of his choice in its pavilion theatre for use in future visits, plus a lifetime's Friends of Theatre membership.

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Pier spokesman Bruce Stratton said Mr Batson had been a loyal supporter, and a fair, frank and honest reviewer over many years.

At a later gathering with colleagues in Norwich Mr Batson, who is about to start a new job in public relations, received a watch and a spoof front page of the EDP dedicated to his time with the company.