Leeds will always have a special place in my heart as I sign off as Yorkshire Evening Post editor - Laura Collins

Today's column is going to be slightly different - and I've lost count of the times I've rewritten it.

By Laura Collins
Saturday, 9th July 2022, 4:45 am

It is my final message to you as editor of the Yorkshire Evening Post, a title that has defined my career as a journalist to date.

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Why 2021 is the year we lifted each other up - Laura Collins, YEP Editor

I'm not going too far away though. I'll still be keeping a watchful eye on the team as part of my new role as Publisher for our parent company NationalWorld, overseeing the strategic direction of some of its biggest city websites.

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Laura Collins with a copy of the Yorkshire Evening Post back when she was named editor in 2019.

As many of you will know, the YEP is the title where I have spent the last 15 years as a reporter, news editor and, most recently, the editor.

I have loved serving the city of Leeds, my second home, and it has been nothing but a privilege over the last three years to be able to edit the title that I first joined as a trainee reporter.

Leeds has had a special place in my heart ever since I moved here many years ago to start university. It is a city that took me under its wing and that is all down to the fantastic people who make it such a special place.

I would like to take the chance to say a special thank you to each and every one of you, our readers, for all the support you have given to me and our team over the last three years - one of the most turbulent times in a generation.

Within a matter of weeks of taking up the mantle of editor, the YEP found itself in the centre of a political storm after we published the story of a four-year-old boy who was forced to sleep on the floor at Leeds General Infirmary.

We faced criticism from all sides as the story became a political football in the General Election and trolls tried to smear our reputation by branding it fake news - but we fought back.

For me, this was a war on journalism and something we wouldn't take laying down. We stood our ground and I will be forever grateful to all those who showed their support to us at that time.

Just a few months later, we all found ourselves caught up in an unprecedented pandemic that turned our lives - and the way we worked - upside. As Covid swept across the country, we were all parted from our loved ones, forced to work from home and our daily routines were thrown into chaos.

Again, I will be forever grateful to all of you for continuing to show your support to the YEP and our team during this very troubling time. Your commitment to supporting us ensured that our journalists and your title were here to keep you informed of what was happening in our city.

Before signing off, it would be remiss of me not to mention one of the biggest highs of the city's history in the last decade after our beloved Whites were finally returned back to the top flight of English football.

It was a joy to see just how much that moment meant to fans, including those in our newsroom, who had stood by their team through thick and thin.

As I sign off for the last time, it only remains to say that it has been a true pleasure to campaign for, champion and serve Leeds. The city and its people will always have a very special place in my heart.

Thank you and best wishes to you all, Laura.