End of Era for Black Country duo

Keith Harrison receives his signed shirt from Express & Star sports writer Tim Spiers.

Keith Harrison receives his signed shirt from Express & Star sports writer Tim Spiers.

Two stalwarts of England’s biggest-selling regional daily have left the newspaper after a combined 49 years’ service.

Bowing out with Express & Star editor Keith Harrison is business editor Simon Penfold (pictured), who first joined 24 years ago.

Express & Star editor Keith Harrison is stepping down after five years in charge and 25 years at the Wolverhampton-based title.

Simon, who was business editor for the last seven years, first joined the paper as a reporter in 1994 and has worked on its business desk since 1997. He began his career in journalism at the East Anglian Daily Times in 1980 and also had a six-year stint at the Hull Daily Mail before joining the E&S.

Paying tribute to the duo, Corin Crane, chief executive of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce, said in a post on LinkedIn: “They have both been brilliant partners to the Chamber of Commerce and to the wider business community, championing local business issues, raising the profile of our local success stories and holding decision makers to account.

“They were a huge part of the success of last year’s Business Festival and I imagine there are businesses across the Black Country who have worked with them in a similar way over the last 25 years.”

Dudley MP Ian Austin also tweeted that he was “very sorry” to see Keith go and described him as “a brilliant editor and great champion of the Black Country.”

Premier League football team Wolverhampton Wanderers marked Keith’s departure by presenting him with a special signed football shirt yesterday.

Preston North End supporter Keith tweeted: “Many thanks to @tim_spiers_Star @Wolves and @rubendsneves_ for this brilliant memento. I’m PNE to the core . . . but proud to be an honorary Wulfrunian.”