Ant W

Senior Writer | Norwich

I am a retired journalist, having worked in newspapers and magazines for about 40 years. Most of my time was spent on the Eastern Daily Press, England’s largest morning regional daily newspaper, generally outselling the national papers in its circulation patch of Norfolk, north Suffolk, east Cambridgeshire and south Lincolnshire. I also worked on the Archant group’s stable of magazines, did some journalism teaching at City College Norwich and occasional radio work with the local BBC station. Before all that I went to Reading University, gaining an honours degree in economics and agriculture. Shortly after graduation a uni friend contacted me. He was working for the IPC group of magazines in London and one of them needed a trainee writer. I got the bug and it’s stayed with me. My passion is people and their back stories. They call it human interest—and it’s invariably very interesting! I am married with four grown-up sons and six grandchildren.
As a StoryTerrace writer, Ant interviews customers and turns their life stories into books. Get to know him better by reading his autobiographical anecdote below

Always Meet Your Heroes

For the first time in 40 years of journalism I was tongue-tied.

A lifelong cricket fanatic, but never good enough to graduate from the village sphere, I was talking (or trying to talk) to David Gower, former England captain and arguably the most stylish left handed batsman since the 1920s.

Gower was embarking on a nationwide tour of provincial theatres and a magazine editor and pal offered me the interview, which would appear in a series of lifestyle publications in our company’s portfolio. It was, he said, my retirement present.

My first question (schoolboy error) was “closed” – he could answer with a simple yes or no, which he duly did. And that’s what threw me… I was in conversation with a legendary international cricketer of the late 20th century and I couldn’t think what to say next.

There was a long and embarrassing pause before Gower chipped in with a question to me about my time in cricket. From the sublime to the ridiculous; but with the innate charm that had always gilded his career on the field and latterly in the commentator’s box, he managed to display an interest in my less than famous exploits in the game.

With this simple gesture, he managed to help me recover my voice and composure and the conversation began. When the great man’s PR stepped in, to my irritation after just half an hour, I already had my headline: “This Charming Man”.

After a shaky start, I was so glad to have met my hero— even if it was just over the phone, so I was denied the customary “selfie”!

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