PETER BARRON, editor of The Northern Echo, has today been presented with an MBE for services to journalism and community life.

Mr Barron is the longest serving editor in the paper's 144-year history, and has led some of its most notable campaigns, principally the Chance to Live campaign which changed Government policy on heart bypass waiting times.

In 2011, he was appointed the first official ambassador for the Butterwick Children’s Hospice at Stockton in recognition of his fundraising efforts.

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A Northern Echo fund-raising campaign helped to build the children’s hospice after the death of Princess Diana and Mr Barron has since personally raised more than £20,000 for the charity through speaking fees and his Dad At Large books.

Mr Barron received his honour from Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace.

After starting at the Scunthorpe Evening Telegraph, he joined the Echo as a reporter in 1984. He left in 1997 to edit the Hartlepool Mail before returning as Echo editor in 1999.

Mr Barron is a board member of the Future Sport charity, the National Council for the Training of Journalists, Darlington Partnership and Darlington Cares, and a governor of the Tony Blair Sports Foundation. He is also President of Darlington Operatic Society, and serves on the advisory panel of Darlington Football Club. Last year, he was made a Deputy Lieutenant of County Durham.