A CUMBRIAN journalist, who has dedicated her career to promoting farming and agriculture across Cumbria has been recognised at a prestigious awards ceremony.

Newsquest Cumbria’s Farming and Rural Affairs Editor Maureen Hodges was given the coveted Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by leading Cumbrian accountancy firm David Allen at the Cumbria Farmer Awards 2023.

The award was particularly poignant being handed to Maureen on the year she celebrates an incredible 50 years in their industry.

She started as the editor's secretary in the early 70s then trained as a journalist and after moving to Spain, she returned to Newsquest’s Cumbria titles in 2013.

Maureen knew nothing about the celebration of her contribution to the farming world, with the task of keeping the award top secret extremely difficult.

On receiving the award, Maureen said: “I was overwhelmed and humbled to receive the final award of the evening.

“There were a number of people in that room that deserving of such an honour, I had absolutely no clue that I was receiving this award, even when they Caz started reading out the citation.

“It’s been a rollercoaster 50 years and I’ve written some amazing and exciting things in that time, probably one of the saddest times for me was the foot and mouth crisis in 2001, but since then it’s been satisfying seeing the agricultural industry rise to the challenges that they have faced.”

“I’d like to thank my colleagues and all the friends and contacts I have built up over the years.”

News and Star: Cumbria Editor Joy Yates, Farming and Rural Affairs Editor Joy Yates and Times and Star Chief Reporter Bridget DempseyCumbria Editor Joy Yates, Farming and Rural Affairs Editor Joy Yates and Times and Star Chief Reporter Bridget Dempsey (Image: Newsquest)

A video was played on the evening honouring Maureen, with words from a number of contacts and colleagues, who Maureen said have ‘become friends’ over her years in journalism, this included words from Joy Yates, David Allen, Heather Pritchard, Alistair Mackintosh and Georgina Lamb.

Newsquest Cumbria Editor, Joy Yates said: “Newsquest is extremely lucky to have a specialist writer of the calibre of Maureen.

“Her knowledge and expertise and unrivalled, in-depth knowledge of the sector has led to much of Maureen’s sought-after content hitting national headlines.

“We are all familiar with her enormous enthusiasm and passion for the subject and Maureen is trusted, respected, and admired by the farming community.

“Maureen is simply a phenomenon, a one-off. She has energy - and quite likes a chat, but this may be the one occasion where she is lost for words.”