Coventry Evening Telegraph journalists were caught “sleeping on the job”.
But it was all legit…. they were staying at the Telegraph Hotel which has been converted from the former Coventry Evening Telegraph building where bedrooms have been fashioned out of the old newsroom.
Among them was Asif Khan. He was reunited with Colin Walkey, who he worked with in the mid-1970s and who he had not seen since Colin helped him and his late wife Joan, who had also worked at the Telegraph, to move to London in 1977 to further his career when he went to work for Visnews, now Reuters Television.
They were among a reunion of 20 journalists that worked at the newspaper and who returned to the city to stay at the Telegraph Hotel in Corporation Street, taking the opportunity also to visit some of the many redevelopment projects which are taking place.
Clare Turnbull, who organised the reunion and worked at the newspaper from 1978-1986, said it had been wonderful meeting up with so many old colleagues.
She said: “Asif and Colin had not seen each other or chatted since Asif left Coventry so it was a wonderful reunion after nearly 45 years!
“The Coventry Evening Telegraph, as it was then, was a fantastic training ground and stepping stone for journalists to national newspapers, television, national magazines and public relations.
“Among our reunion group there were people who have worked – and some still work – for the Financial Times, The Guardian, The Independent, Sunday Times, The Observer, the BBC, Central TV, the national tabloids and many more.
“We were all blown away by the new hotel. Some of us saw it four years ago when it was in the process of being refurbished. We were all so impressed by the overall quality and finishing of everything as well as the attention to detail.
“The front desk has been incorporated into the reception area and we could still picture people coming in with their birthday photos and adverts.
“Some of our group stayed one night and others two nights. The quality of service from the staff was exceptional. We had dinner in a private dining room one night and it was great to swap stories and catch-up on our news.
“Representatives from Historic Coventry Trust took us on a special guided tour of the London Road cemetery and Charterhouse. It was absolutely fascinating to see the work taking place in terms of making Coventry a real destination place. These are exciting times for the city.”
The 88-room Telegraph Hotel, which opened in May, has been included in the prestigious Sunday Times 100 Best British Hotels guide.
It is operated by Bespoke Hotels following a two-year £18 million investment programme by owners Complex Development Projects.
General manager Amy Windsor said: “It was fantastic to receive such glowing comments from a group of journalists who spent so much of their working lives in this building – I assume it was the first time they had slept in the building!
“Some were working out where the newsroom and advertising departments were and the 1950s design has certainly been a hit with our guests since we opened which is fantastic.”
Caption: Front, either side of the Telegraph, Clare Turnbull (left) and Annette Witheridge. Next row, from the left, Barbara Walters, Sarah Crompton, Jane Pickard (front), Bev Monkman, Patsy Fuller. Next row, from the left, Peter Walters, Andrew Grice, Aileen Boughen, David Brindle, Mary Harding, Colin Walkey, Alison Knibbs, Jackie Arnot. Centre of pillar: Stefan Wagstyl. Right of the pillar, John Lamb, Roger Monkman, David Harding, Chris Arnot. Back row, right of the pillar, David Fuller, Asif Khan, Roger Harrabin.