I still remember the day I was sacked by Bono. He had come in to guest-edit the paper and asked me to bring him a cup of coffee in morning conference. He looked at it and, in front of everyone, said: “I don’t like this. You’re fired.” I was really quite worried, but thankfully he was joking.
I’ve been PA to three real editors, starting in 2001 with Simon Kelner. Under Simon, Chris Blackhurst and now Amol Rajan, I’ve had to do all kinds of bizarre jobs. I’ve bought ties and underpants and tried on a woman’s designer coat. I’ve sewn buttons and helped with a daughter’s homework. I never did find out what mark she got.
It is a special relationship. You are a friend, ally and confidante. You learn the way they like things to be done, who they want to see, who they don’t. I’ve seen marriages and divorces, and working relationships end. There are things I know that will go with me to the grave.
I’ve chatted to Gordon Brown and the Archbishop of Canterbury, and been to the races with Robin Cook. But most of all I remember the journalists. I first arrived in the newsroom as a desk assistant in 1996. I’d come from the Civil Service and was shocked by how untidy it was. Their commitment, camaraderie and cynical sense of humour is what I’ll always treasure.
The Independent has been a been a family. I’ll always be proud to say I’ve worked here.
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