A seasoned journalist who started his career on the Accrington Observer has released a book documenting his days on the paper.

Irvine Hunt worked at the Observer in the early 1950s, and has penned his ninth book, based on his experiences in his first reporting role.

His book, Cub Reporter: The Accrington Observer, will be serialised in the Observer over the next few weeks.

Irvine, 83, said it is fitting that the story of his time in Accrington will be featured in the paper where he began his career.

"I was 20, earning £3 a week and was working alongside five other staff members including the editor. He was really great, a very good editor. He helped me develop my writing and was a good journalist who was strict and very hard but fair. They were the days of hot type and typewriters and we were covering all kinds of stories and meeting all kinds of people."

Irvine said working at the Observer, then based on Edgar Street, was a ‘rich and exciting experience’ and one which set him up for his later career on the Daily Telegraph.

He managed to secure the position after talking to a man from Accrington who told him to apply for a job at the newspaper in his town.

It was five years after the Second World War had ended and the 20-year-old Irvine was working as a key man on Fleetwood Pier, looking after penny slot machines.

But his dream was to become a reporter.

Irvine Hunt
Irvine Hunt
 

With the encouragement of his friend, he took a trip to Accrington where he ‘gatecrashed’ the Observer office in a desperate bid for a job.

In a meeting with the editor, Tom Watson, Irvine told him he enjoyed writing, but had scarcely heard about Accrington until a week ago, except that he knew now it was a mill town, and it looked a bit grim.

When he heard nothing back from his interview, he feared the worst and took the train to the town once again.

Impressing Mr Watson with his determination, he got the job and worked alongside five other staff members for the next two years.

IRVINE Hunt is also the author of nine books including an adventure novel, The Drover’s Boy and a book of evocative short stories.

He was also personal assistant to the general manager at the National Film Theatre, a lecturer on cinema history for the British Film Institute.