COVID-19 and social distancing notwithstanding, the recent round of poignant farewells and toasts have sometimes left my throat clogged with emotion.
Yes, I’ve finally taken the retirement plunge – a massive step for me, as newspaper ink runs deep in my veins.
Not many can boast of ‘living 42 years in a job’, and they have been wonderful ones – full of highlights, milestones, opportunities, problems, struggles and triumphs, many of which are recorded on these pages. In between I have met and interviewed some amazing people, and travelled to far-flung exotic places.
But the fondest and unforgettable memories have been forged by working with and living among Bahrain’s great people. You welcomed my wife Barbie (the GDN’s former advertising director) and I with open arms, and left us proud, humbled and honoured by the experience. Our two daughters were born and raised here, and will forever call it home.
Yes, it has been a distinct privilege and pleasure to serve Bahrain’s community as Editor-in-Chief, enjoying an incredible career here alongside marvellous journalists and support staff of many nationalities. They helped build the paper from scratch into a formidable force for change.
My bosses – Chairman Anwar Abdulrahman and Group Managing Director Ronnie Middleton – have always been and still are my strongest advocates and supporters, and will remain lifelong friends. They themselves have played major pioneering roles in this nation’s media story. Their guidance and assistance have been invaluable, while the indelible moments we shared together over the years have always made the work fun and engaging – sustained by the support of an enlightened Royal Family and government.
The last 42 years have been fascinating and often madcap – overseeing the collective controlled chaos involved in bringing out a morning newspaper seven days a week! A task I know that my successors will relish!
Herman Melville, a favourite author, once astutely observed: “There are certain enterprises where a careful disorderliness is the true method”. That’s newspapers!
Despite challenging times for the print industry, I am optimistic that the GDN will ride the storm and emerge strong as part of Anwar and Ronnie’s impressive Al Hilal media group, with its unrivalled online sites, newspapers, magazines, and superior reach.
It goes without saying that after such a long association I am obviously and genuinely going to miss everyone – and especially Bahrain. But I promise that I’ll always stay in touch.