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Malcolm Race  'A Half Century in Print'

Malcolm's talk was profusely illustrated not by photographs but by a rich vein of anecdotes & amusing incidents from a lifetime's experience as a reporter on the local newspaper.    His reminiscences of happenings in Middlesbrough covered the extraordinarily lengthy period from the middle of the Second World War up to modern times.

Malcolm was born in Middlesbrough & went to Middlesbrough High School.   He still has the label which was attached to his coat when he was evacuated to Barnard Castle, as the school was transferred to the Bowes Museum.    When he was 16 he returned to Middlesbrough to begin a 47 year stint as a reporter on the local newspaper.    His arrival coincided with the peak of the wartime bombing raids by the German Luftwaffe on Middlesbrough.   The paper was short-handed during the war & for the paltry salary of two shillings a week Malcolm reported not only on the usual weddings, funerals, inquests & proceedings in the magistratrate's court but on momentous war related events.    His first day coincided with the bombing of the Station Hotel in which 16 people died & 45 fire engines attended the fire at the hotel & neighbouring properties.    Dr Baxter, a surgeon at the local hospital was the hero of this event. At the start of the raid he climbed onto the roof to extinguish incendiaries, then attended the scene of a bombings to give morphine to a woman trapped in the wreckage & finally commandeered a bicycle to return to the hospital to treat further casualties.    The repeated bombing of Middlesbrough kept him busy as did the reporting of war casualties & the awards for bravery.    Two unusual war stories were the fining of a woman for allowing bread to go mouldy & the auctioning of 2 bananas that had come from Gibraltar.    This period of his career ended when he was called up in 1944 for service in the army.

After the war he reported on the visit of the Queen and Prince Philip to Teesside & their subsequent departure on the Royal Yacht for an official visit to Sweden. An amusing anecdote re he recalled was the arrival of royalty at the station, with the local dignitaries lined up on the red carpet to welcome their guests, & the consternation when the train pulled in to the wrong platform.    Malcolm had a very varied remit, reporting on the effects of the great storm in 1953 when 400 houses in Port Clarence were flooded & local rugby & football games.    At one game he was the only spectator.    A high spot in his career occurred when he was chosen to report on the opening ceremony of the tallest chimney at ICI Wilton & climbed nearly to the top before the event was cancelled due to high winds.     Another of his hazardous assignments was a trip to Berlin to report on the activities of the Durham Light Infantry who were manning an observation post on top of the ruined Reichstag building overlooking communist East Berlin.

Malcolm became the reporter on local government & witnessed at first hand the chaos & confusion as first Teesside was created then destroyed to be replaced by Cleveland which also was deconstructed.     His reward for attending all the council meetings came when Stockton was twinned with the Polish city of Szczecin. Malcolm travelled with the official party on the aeroplane provided by LOT the Polish State Airline.     He then endured many colossal banquets, some with seven courses, interspersed with vodka toasts.

Malcolm's half century in print has been anything but dull