Remembering George Boulton

As requested by George himself, Carole Hughes shares the life and story of Cambridge newspaper legend George Boulton.

George Boulton.

The newspaper industry was in George Boulton’s blood.

His father Sam Boulton was one of the owners of the Cambridge Independent in partnership with Pip Vennel, Harold Petersen and Gib James.

So, George grew up with the Cambridge independent, probably for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

He eventually became Editor and Managing Director after learning the printing trade thoroughly.

Last week, George, at 88 gave up his fight with deteriorating health and at his farewell in the Union Church, Cambridge, the town and Leamington Rugby came to say their final goodbye.

After George retired and the Inde closed its doors, he could afford to look back on his family‘s years of involvement in the community.

His wife Bev and sons, Brent and Grant, are quick to say that a newspaper like the Cambridge Independent, a sole player for so many years in the Cambridge area, was the life blood of the town.

George‘s father Sam Boulton, had become Managing Editor in the 1940’s and had become a major shareholder along with Gib James, Harold Petersen, Pip Vennel. George’s future had always been sealed in the world of print.

George told the story, with his tongue in cheek, of how his father threatened him, “whatever you do, l will be up there and if anything happens to the business you’ll be down there.”

The Cambridge Independent was the only newspaper in the Cambridge area for many years and George’s leadership ensured that it was always the hub of the town and he led a fair and balanced news team.

This was all before the advent of technology and computers, and the reporting and advertising team became Cambridge personalities and were very much part of the town.

Gordon Chesterman became editor in 1978 and it was at this time that the Cambridge Independent won three Community Newspaper Awards for journalism, advertising and community leadership.

George had an easy and relaxed way of dealing with people, many of who felt comfortable walking into the Independent, chatting to the staff.

This was their newspaper and they loved it. They reacted with mild hysteria if they were missed in a delivery.

George’s personality, as large as his shoe size and height, extended into Rotary, Jaycees, sport and particularly Rugby. Ex All Black Richard Myers spoke of his dedication, taking on the position of Club Secretary for 20 years, Treasurer and Manager of two international touring teams.

A personality, yes but with a soft voice and gentle demeanour.

His two sons, Brent and Grant, went straight from school to the Cambridge Independent, both working in production and Brent also in photography.

Then the time came when typewriters were sent to the museum and this change in technology made its mark.

Above all, George listened to his editors and staff and with them strode into this technology.

George, as someone said, was a town dignitary, big in physique, passionate about the Cambridge Independent, about his wife, and his family.

All these passions created a dynasty for the Boultons, and dynasties are worth remembering.

Suffice it to say that when George retired he missed the newspaper world. To his delight he was invited by The Cambridge News to start up his column, “George is On About”, a continuation of a feature that he wrote for so many years in the Independent. This brought him back in contact with Cambridge people and he enjoyed every moment of it.

The Cambridge Independent and George Boulton have earned a place in the history of Cambridge because the people loved it and had a huge respect for him.  He and his staff provided a valuable service to Cambridge for so many years.

Married to Bev for 60 years, she shared the joy and pain which is involved in running a newspaper and a business. She, with her sons, grandchildren and greatgrandchild can look back with pride at George and their Cambridge loyalty and devotion.

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