I first encountered The Cambrian News over 20 years ago. It served a huge area of rural Wales, centred on Aberystwyth. The newspaper was launched at Bala as the Meirionydd Herald in 1860, and adopted its current name four years later. You can work out that 2010 is the occasion of its 150th birthday, and there was a 'grand bash' at the Parc Hotel. When I first knew the Cambrian News, it was owned by the Read family, the editor was Roy Hancock, and the young journalist I worked with was named Bev. Today its owned by the Tindle Newspapers. Roy Hancock was a guest and Beverly Thomas is the impressive Managing Editor and a "Pearl beyond price" according to the company's boss, who was the star turn today.
And what a star Sir Ray Tindle is. Ferreting around on the Internet, I note that he is 84 years old, and remains the driving force behind the huge company which he chairs. It was a last minute decision on my part to go to today's party, but I'm really glad I did - just to meet Sir Ray, who stuck me as one of the most inspirational people I have ever met. And charm personified.
First thing to strike you is that he has no voice box, having lost it to cancer a few years ago - no more than a minor inconvenience. Sir Ray delivered an amusingly confident and engaging speech, about 15 minutes long that held us all enthralled. Unusually we saw the proprietor of a newspaper (a minor part of the huge group) basking in the adulation of the workers. Today's event was a birthday celebration for a successful local weekly. For me it was the chance to meet a very special man.