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Read all about it! Ex-delivery man recalls his time at the Gazette

PUBLISHED: 14:23 21 August 2017 | UPDATED: 10:56 22 August 2017

Rick Oughton hands out free copies of the Hackney Gazette at the St Joseph's Hospice Summer Fete in 2011.

Rick Oughton hands out free copies of the Hackney Gazette at the St Joseph's Hospice Summer Fete in 2011.

Copyright Peter Gettins

Rick Oughton knows more than most about the Gazette's top stories over the last 20 years. As the face of the paper to newsagents across the borough he not only delivered the headline posters every week - he wrote them too.

"I really liked the job. The headlines Mick and Russ [Lawrence, news editor] came up with always made us laugh."

Rick Oughton

Before our news bills were printed at the touch of a button, Rick and his colleagues would spend all of Wednesday painstakingly drawing them onto paper in marker pen, ready to be given out the following day.

“I started part-time in 1998 and back then they told us what to write and we used to spend all Wednesday writing them,” he told the Gazette.

“When they started being printed we used to get them early on a Thursday morning.

Rick OughtonRick Oughton

“I remember getting them one day and the first one said: ‘A drop in crime’. Then the others were all about crime that had happened that week!

“We stuck them all up in the window before Mick [Ferris, then editor] came in and he had a laugh.”

Rick went full-time at the Gazette and sister paper the Docklands and East London Advertiser in 2000 and could often be seen in Tesco, Morning Lane, giving out goodie bags with a paper.

Rick remembers pinning these bills to the wall of the building.Rick remembers pinning these bills to the wall of the building.

He’d travel across the borough delivering the posters and promoting the paper all day.

“Tesco was our most popular place,” he said.

“There was also Rushmore Post Office in Clapton, the newsagents in Mare Street by the Hackney Empire and another one, Hamdy’s, on the corner of Stoke Newington High Street and Church Street.

“One year on Valentine’s Day we gave out roses and Hamdy’s took 600 of them. I think most of them came back!

“I really liked the job. The headlines Mick and Russ [Lawrence, news editor] came up with always made us laugh.”

Rick remembers the biggest selling editions during his time being the fatal stabbing of schoolboy Robert Levy outside Hackney Town Hall in 2005 and the murder of innocent schoolgirl Agnes Sina-Inakoju in Hoxton in 2010.

“There were some awful stories,” he added. “But they were the two big ones that I remember everyone wanting to read about.”

Mick left the paper in 2013, but still lives in Clapton and picks up the Gazette every week – though he now has to pay for it.

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