Heydays writer Simon Blumenfeld has been officially recognised as the world’s oldest weekly newspaper columnist.
The 96 year old journalist, playwright and novelist was formally presented with a Guinness World Record certificate at the offices of The Stage this week.
Said Blumenfeld: “It has come as quite a surprise. My son, daughter and nephew were all in on the secret and no-one let it slip. I’ve never heard of a writer being mentioned in the Guinness awards so this is an enormous honour.”
Blumenfeld’s entry in the Guinness database will state: “the oldest active weekly newspaper columnist is Simon Blumenfeld (born 25 November 1907, UK), aka Sidney Vauncez, who has written a column for the performing arts and entertainment trade paper The Stage, since June 1994.”
This year will mark the 10th anniversary of the launch of his column, which began in the debut issue of Heydays. Blumenfeld’s own association with the publication began much earlier. Writing under his former nom de plume of Sidney Vauncez, he first contributed to the publication some 50 years ago, before becoming light entertainment editor in the sixties.
The Guinness presentation coincided with a ceremony to mark the departure of some long-standing friends of The Stage. This month the newspaper’s tenant, the Association of British Theatre Technicians, quits for its new home in Farringdon. May also sees the retirement after 25 years of Patricia Bowman who, together with husband John, has been responsible for cleaning the Bermondsey Street premises.
Managing director of The Stage Catherine Comerford paid tribute to the Bowmans for their many years of hard work and service to the company and praised the work of ABTT administrator Jenny Straker, saying she and her colleagues would be “greatly missed by us all”.
*The ABTT’s new home from June 1 will be: 4th Floor, 55 Farringdon Road, London EC1M 3JB.