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John Hopper - from Grub Street to the sunny uplands

In the Stone Age of news agency journalism, the telegraphists and scribes were bound together as the PBIs (poor bloody infantry) of Reuters. The late John Hopper was a star "puncher" of ticker tape in his early career in the London Bureau, where I once worked too long ago to recount. It was situated off Fleet Street, then a news hub, and known as the Street of Shame and metaphorical branch of Grub Street, where toiled low life hackery.

He was a lovely fellow and a whiz at his job, which could on occasion involve disentangling the prose oddities of hacks having serious drink taken (yes, it was like that in those Wild West days).

He was clearly officer material, a rare promotion then, and was duly taken to the sunny uplands of Reuter executivedom where he performed worthy things for the Baron. Thereafter we rarely, if ever, encountered our old comrade, remembered now with affection by other strugglers from the trenches along the Boulevard of Broken Dreams. ■