Tom Ashworth was a West Country journalist who fell in love with Whitby. He trained on the Torquay Times and somehow in 1937 ended up in the newsroom of the Evening Gazette, in Middlesbrough. After just a month he was offered the job of running the Whitby office, a challenge he didn’t relish, but nevertheless took on. When war broke out he opted for an RAF uniform and the chance to travel, eventually ending up in India, where after a war of concert parties, char wallahs and spicy food, he turned down the offer of a job on a newspaper in Calcutta in favour of returning to England and eventually Whitby. Over the next 30 or so years he became part of the fabric of the town: little happened that he didn’t know about. People were happy to tell Tom what they knew and sometimes even what they shouldn’t.
If there was an event, a meeting or a social function Tom would be invited and he rarely refused. He continued reporting faithfully the goings-on in Whitby until his retirement in November 1981. Read more here
I met Tom in 1967 when I became a trainee on the Whitby Gazette and we remained friends until his death. I’m indebted to his daughter Jill who has entrusted Tom’s archive to my care and agreed that we publish, on this website, many of the stories he wrote in the hope that others may find them an interesting snapshot into life in a Yorkshire seaside town over the years.
In the main Tom only archived stories which carried his name. Newspaper fashions change: in the 40s and 50s attributing a story to its author was rare. Even after that only a small number of the hundreds of stories he covered were attributed to him. But then this isn’t meant to be a history of Whitby and district just a collection of his words.