Friday, 1 June 2012

My fond farewell to the Bath Chronicle and the city

After six and a half very happy years (and more than 330 in-paper columns!), I will be leaving my position as editor of the Bath Chronicle on Friday, June 1 and so this is my farewell to you all.

As I said when the announcement was originally made, I have just reached a stage in my life where I feel I need to do something different and the fact that I have absolutely no idea whatsoever what that ‘something’ is, is obviously just a mere footnote. All I do know is that if I can find any other role that can give me the same level of satisfaction and pride that I’ve been able to have in this position then I will be a very lucky man indeed.

I first came to Bath in September 2005 and I have to admit I knew nothing about the city before I came. In many ways I saw this as a great advantage because it meant I didn’t carry any baggage or have any set opinions about the important issues that affect our community. This allowed me to go on my own journey of discovery to try and help shape the direction of this wonderful and important local newspaper.

Welcoming in the Chronicle's 250th anniversary with my friends and highly-talented colleagues Graham Holburn and Paul Wiltshire 
Of course, some of you may never have forgiven me for being part of the team that turned the Chronicle from a daily paper to a weekly one but the truth is that was a move that has secured the paper’s long-term future and has made it a far more successful and respected title as a result. We have won a number of awards since becoming weekly but far more importantly, we’ve won more readers and when combined with our success online and our increasingly strong presence on the social media, we are now being read by more people than ever before. And I’m extremely proud of that fact.

But, the real reason why I will be able to look back on my time here with sheer pleasure is because I have been privileged to work with some amazing colleagues and to be part of a remarkable community based on decency, goodness and unshakeable community spirit.

This is a city which has, as its backdrop, some of the most glorious architecture in Europe but it is not the bricks and mortar that define the strength of a community it is the quality of the people and in this regard Bath truly is second to none.

One of my happiest days - welcoming Nicolas Cage to the Roman Baths after he turned on the Christmas lights. Pictured with my lovely MD Sarah Pullem. 
Week in week out, I have been amazed at the generosity of people to charities big and small. From our prized local philanthropists to those with little to spare but who are still determined to help others, I have been truly touched and inspired by the kindness of local folk.

Maybe Bathonians don’t think this about their community enough but let me tell you all that Bath truly is special and that’s because of the people who make it so. And I feel truly honoured to have been able to have played a small part over the years in helping to make sure that this city is served with the best possible newspaper to celebrate the city's bewildering amount of achievements.

Whatever the future holds for me, I’ll still be around Bath at times I hope because as, we all know, this is a city that once it gets you, you stay ‘got’. It’s a special city with special people – thank you all for allowing me to be part of it.

(Please feel free to follow me on Twitter at @samholliday).

PS My in-paper column may have ended but my blog will continue. Please visit again!!! 

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