Printing Charity luncheon pays tribute to Baroness Dean

Rhys Handley
Friday, November 23, 2018

The Printing Charity brought together colleagues and patrons at Stationers’ Hall to commemorate its 191st Annual Luncheon and pay tribute to absent friends.

Gathering in London yesterday (22 November), the luncheon is the first since the death of the trade union leader Baroness Brenda Dean in March, who spent her life working within and alongside the print industry.

She served as president of the Printing Charity last year and was the guest speaker at the 2017 luncheon. Her husband, Keith McDowall, was in attendance.

Printing Charity chair Jon Wright said: “Baroness Dean supported young people entering our sectors. She was committed to the care of old people and regularly visited our care home Beaverbrook House.

“She was an inspiration to everyone in the industry and will be remembered by us for her tremendous support and great energy.”

Wright also commemorated the efforts of the charity over the previous year, saying: “Last year, we helped around 1,300 people in total and we have already exceeded that this year so far. We can offer financial support, shelter and sometimes simply a friendly voice at the end of the telephone.

“At almost 200 years old, we are still relevant. If you know someone in the sector who needs help, please point them in our direction.”

The guest of honour, and this year’s Printing Charity president, was Financial Times editor Lionel Barber, who has helmed the newspaper since 2005 and previously enjoyed an award-laden career at titles including The Scotsman and The Sunday Times.

He spoke about his paper’s evolution in the digital age and how its journalists have adapted their approach as the internet “turned the world upside down”. He called the printed paper “still a fantastic piece of marketing” and detailed its recent redesign and the design of a new font to go alongside.

“My father left school at 14 to be a copy boy at a local Leeds newspaper,” he said. “His love for the printed word was unconditional – every day he read at least six newspapers and he read more than 100 books a year. Journalism was a family business for us.

“I think the digital revolution has led to an explosion of creativity. It is unbelievably challenging and complex, but the printed newspaper still offers a deeper reading experience as well as a snapshot of a moment in time. In the age of information overload, there is still a lot of mileage in print.

“The press should have the freedom to get it right and to get it wrong. I am deeply conscious of the responsibility we have. I say, long live print and long live the printed word.”

It was announced by Wright at the end of the luncheon that Barber would follow in the footsteps of Charles Dickens by sitting as charity president for a second consecutive year.

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