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Journalism charity marks milestone

The worlds of media and showbiz will combine to help the Journalists' Charity celebrate its 150th anniversary this month.

The charity is holding a service of commemoration at St Bride's church - the cathedral of Fleet Street - on February 20.

Actor Simon Callow will read work by Dickens who was one of the charity's founders in 1864.

He will join Daily Mail group editor-in-chief Paul Dacre, Sun editor David Dinsmore and Trinity Mirror chief executive Simon Fox.

The address will be given by Sky correspondent Alex Crawford.

Many of the UK's leading journalists are expected to attend the service, which will be conducted by the Archdeacon of London and Rector of St Bride's the Venerable David Meara.

He said: "What better place is there to honour the work of caring for those in our profession who need help and support after their service to journalism?"

The charity was founded by a group of parliamentary journalists who decided that support was needed for colleagues who had fallen on hard times. It is still run by journalists for journalists.

Today it operates its own retirement, care and after care homes and spends £400,000 a year on grants and emergency payments to journalists in trouble.

Charity chairman Laurie Upshon said: "I am delighted that so many leading figures have volunteered to support the anniversary service.

"It is very rare to have so many of Britain's leading journalists together at an event such as this.

"We want to use this anniversary year to make as many journalists as possible aware of the support the charity can offer.

"It is particular fitting as Canon Meara, who has been such a strong friend to journalists, is retiring this year and it will be an opportunity for many to say goodbye."

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From Belfast Telegraph