Tuesday 26th April, Bob Shields, My Life in the Newspaper Industry
The erudite journalist Bob Shields, was the speaker at the Ayr Rotary Tuesday evening meeting. Without notes, he captivated his audience, by taking them on a journey of his career from the early days of being a paperboy earning 4 old pence a week to his present role as an uncompromising columnist for the Ayrshire Post. Bob engaged his eager listeners by recounting memorable businesses, places and schools in Ayr which held special significance in his rise through the newspaper ranks. As a young go ahead journalist, his potential was recognised by big city titles and he was soon poached by the Glasgow Evening Times and then the Daily Record. Of his many amusing stories, he recounted one in 1976 when working at the Ayrshire Post, he received a call to secretly hurry to Somerset Park. To his amazement, the Bayern Munich team emerged from a coach to train in Ayr before their European Cup final at Hampden Park against Saint-Etienne the following night. As the only journalist present, during practice, he was asked to kick a few balls at the keeper who was none other than Sepp Maier, scoring a few times, according to Bob that is. On another occasion, during his many international sojourns, his great friend Gordon Ramsay, asked him over to LA to cover and enjoy the opening of a new restaurant. This launch was totally under wraps, with Gordon Ramsay sworn to secrecy by MGM, his joint venture partners. They were unaware of Bob’s presence, let alone his profession. However, the ever resourceful Bob and his mate managed a photo opportunity on the roof of a building, using props to simulate a social event, with the iconic sign in the background. He concluded the enjoyable evening by showing photographs he had taken with politicians, film stars and sports personalities.
Dorothy Herd gave a well deserved vote of thanks