I started as a cub reporter in the Belfast News Letter over 50 years ago.

n my first day the editor, a hugely colourful character called Cowan Watson, took me for my first pint.

In ‘The Duke’s’ – The Duke of York. Where else? In those days it was one of the main rendezvous for reporters, when Lower Donegall Street and Royal Avenue were the hub for both local and national newspaper offices.