Hunts Post reporter Julian Makey has retired after almost half a century covering local news

Julian working at home during the pandemic. 

Julian working at home during the pandemic. - Credit: JMAKEY

Hunts Post reporter Julian Makey has retired after spending almost half a century covering his local patch.

Julian joined The Hunts Post in 1975 as a trainee reporter and spent nine years reporting local news and events. He then joined what was then the Cambridge Evening News and returned to the Post five years ago. 

He says: "Like most other would-be journalists at the time I envisaged a career progression beginning with a couple of years at my local paper, moving on to a bigger provincial newspaper and then Fleet Street, possibly ending up as a war correspondent.

Instead I found myself at a desk a few feet away from where I spent most of my formative years at The Hunts Post and am now retiring after more than 45 years in a job which has taken me to the Prime Minister's flat in Downing Street, to patrolling the streets of Londonderry with the Royal Anglians during the Troubles and to meeting hundreds of local people across Huntingdonshire.

Julian waiting at Number 11 in 1990 for the new Prime Minster John Major. 

Julian waiting at Number 11 in 1990 for the new Prime Minster John Major. - Credit: JMAKEY

Early stories included coverage of the long, hot summer of 1976, the following year's Oxmoor plane crash in which three children and the crew of two from a Canberra jet were killed and the arrival and departure of nuclear cruise missiles at RAF Molesworth.

Julian reporting from RAF Molesworth in 1986.

Julian reporting from RAF Molesworth in 1986. - Credit: JMAKEY

"On a personal level one of the stories I enjoyed most was obtaining half a dozen garden gnomes donated by a local garden centre to replace those stolen from an elderly woman whose life revolved around looking at her rockery from the window of her care home.

After nearly 10 years at the Hunts Post I transferred to the Cambridge Evening News, which had an office in Huntingdon, where I stayed for more than 30 years. Since I was still doing the same things in the same place, people I dealt with regularly did not realise I had made the change, even when I returned to The Hunts Post decades later.

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I was also overwhelmed to be made a Paul Harris Fellow by the Rotary Foundation in recognition of my work.

Over the years I have seen the job change from the end of hot metal - in which print was put together using molten lead - through to digital technology and the introduction of computers. I could do most of my job now using a mobile phone, although a notebook and pen have remained a constant throughout.

I have written about people at their best and at their worst and will miss that, having spent a lifetime doing a job which rarely seemed like work.