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MONDAY 20  MAY 2024

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Stanley’s gone with the wind

OH BLOW IT: Just as colleagues were preparing to scatter Stan’s ashes outside the Express offices  in Manchester, a sudden gust of wind disrupted the ceremony

By GEORGE DEARSLEY

Former northern news editor of the Daily Express from 1969 to 1986, Stanley Blenkinsop, who died aged 78 in 2010, decreed that he would like his ashes scattered outside the paper’s offices in Ancoats, Manchester.


Colleagues duly left the reunion eager to fulfil the colourful and slightly eccentric journalist's wishes.


Stanley's ashes were divided into several packets. But at the moment of ejection a gust of wind blew and smothered the gathering with particles of the great man.


Scattering ashes in a public place, by the way, requires the permission of the local council, which may have been overlooked in this case.


I remember a rather amusing tale about Stanley, pictured, bumping into Hollywood legend Charlton Heston at the height of the actor’s fame following the release of Ben Hur. The pair met on Hadrian's Wall, while both were on holiday. Stanley was eager for an interview but the celebrity demurred, saying he was on a family break and seeking solitude. However, Heston asked Stanley a favour. Did he know any local restaurants providing first class food.


The newsman said he did and promised to call ahead and book a place for the Heston family for 7pm sharp. True to his word, Stanley rang the restaurant he had used many times.


"I'd like to book a table for four, for this evening at 7pm," he said. "What name is it for?" asked the owner. "Charlton Heston," Stanley replied.


"Oh Fuck Off," said the owner and put the phone down.


George Dearsley is the author of Twelve Camels For Your Wife. Available on Amazon


Daily Drone obituary 


Manchester Evening News obituary.