Mobile navigation


Newspaper legend bids Archant a fond farewell

Archant Norfolk legend, newspaper sales manager Mervyn Freeman, has bid a fond farewell to the company after an action-packed 19 years.

Scores of colleagues gathering for a presentation at Prospect House in Norwich on April 12 to hear glowing tributes from Archant Anglia MD Johnny Hustler, editor-in-chief Nigel Pickover and audience growth director Darron McLoughlin.

(Pictured are Mervyn Freeman (centre). With him (from left) are Archant Norfolk editor in chief Nigel Pickover, audience development director Darron McLoughlin, Mr Freeman’s wife, Sue, and Archant Anglia managing director Johnny Hustler.)

Merv was a familiar figure to many newspaper readers from his appearances at hundreds of events he helped organise across Norfolk – and was famed across the newspaper industry for his ‘chocolate-laden goody bags’.

He started at the company as a canvasser and worked his way up to newspaper sales manager.  In 2009, Merv was named as Archant’s Unsung Hero of the Year by Archant chief executive Adrian Jeakings at an awards lunch in London.

Johnny Hustler paid tribute saying: “I have worked with a lot of people but Mervyn is the most committed, most loyal and hardest-working colleague I have ever worked with bar none.

“He was here first thing in the morning and last thing at night, weekends and events and would never say no to a request. Mervyn is a fantastic role model and we owe him a great debt.”

Darron McLoughlin showed a picture presentation which revealed that Mervyn had worked in a range of roles and with a wide range of celebrities including Martin Clunes, David Jason, Tommy Walsh and Frank Bruno, whom he challenged to a fight. Frank declined saying: “You are bigger than me and I don’t want to take you on.”

Darron said: “It has been an absolute pleasure to meet and work with the legend that we will never forget. Merv’s commitment to the company will always be remembered, as will his enthusiasm and larger than life character.”

Merv was also well known for the number of story tip-offs he gave to the newsdesk, one week providing three front page leads in a week.

Outside Archant, Merv was a Special Constable and was promoted to sergeant and received a long-service award, presented to him by the Prince Charles.

On Friday, Merv was presented with several gifts from staff including a Norfolk Century book, shopping vouchers and a ‘mock-up’ EDP front page, listing his achievements.

Merv said: “I have loved my job and worked with a brilliant team all the way and I’m sad to go. I will miss all the friends I have made here, and wish everyone all the best in the future.”

“The biggest thing of all, I will remember, is the events. We set up events all over the county, and they just got bigger and bigger.”

Merv is taking early retirement and, true to form, he now plans to open a stall selling sweets and ‘goody bags’ on Norwich market.