THE Berrow’s Worcester Journal is certainly the oldest newspaper in the world – and now it’s one of the best connected, too.
Because a former reporter has succeeded as the head of one of Scotland’s oldest clans.
Charles Colville, who worked for the Berrow’s in the 1980s, has become the 5th Viscount Colville of Culross, following the death of his father John Mark Alexander Colville, the 4th Viscount.
Charles, who also spent nearly two years on the Worcester Evening News, eventually left the area in 1986 to work in London and is now a producer and director for the BBC. He lives in Notting Hill.
David Chapman, a former editor of Berrow’s remembers Charles well.
“He came to us from our sister paper the Ludlow Advertiser when Berrow’s re-launched as the ‘big weekly read’ for the county in 1983,” said Mr Chapman.
“The first words he said when he arrived for his interview were: ‘I must go to the lavatory’.
“Charles proved an ideal choice for the direction we intended to take the newspaper and he proved a key element to its success.
“He was loud, very loud, opinionated, a bit of a whirling dervish and although he appeared somewhat geekish in his round-framed spectacles he never suffered fools gladly.
“Once, in the Farriers Arms, Worcester, in full animated flow, a pair of burly drinkers started making fun of his cut-glass accent. However, they didn’t reckon on the voracity and eloquence of Charles’ swift putdown of their attitudes and surprisingly they quickly slunk away.
“Anyone who met Charles during his time working for Berrow’s never forgot him. He was one of those larger-than-life characters. Perhaps his biggest triumph for the paper was a series of articles called Face To Face.
“He interviewed the great and good of the county and those who had a connection with Worcestershire – Dame Barbara Cartland, Lady Nabarro, Lady Beauchamp.
“He always claimed to being a childhood friend of Lady Diana Spencer, something we didn’t quite disbelieve. Then, during one Three Counties Show, Princess Margaret, who was the guest of honour that year, leaned across to the chairman of the Three Counties Agricultural Society and said quite distinctly in front of the assembled press corps: ‘Which one’s the Colville boy?’”
One of his predecessors, the Hon Charles Colville, fought at the Battle of Culloden in 1746, where he commanded the 21st Regiment of Foot, and his late father, the 4th Viscount, was a Home Office minister under Edward Heath and later an elected cross-bench member of the Lords.