I am sorry to report that something terrible has happened to my beloved Northern Echo this morning – it’s been published with pages from The Journal.

I can’t believe it. It’s Christmas Eve, I'm on day off, and I was hoping for a nice lie-in – but the home phone rang with the appalling news.

It was my managing director: “Have you seen today’s paper?” he asked, crossly, before filling me in on what had happened.

It is perhaps the most bizarre cock-up in my time in newspapers. How can The Northern Echo be published with two pages from the Newcastle-based Journal?

The answer that is that Trinity, publishers of the Journal, now print The Northern Echo on Teesside and I can only assume someone at the print centre was too full of Christmas cheer last night.

The phones at our reception have been ringing non-stop with complaints.

To make matters worse, the first Journal page you come to reports the story about Darlington-built Tornado rescuing stranded passengers in Kent under the headline “100-year-old train rescues stranded passengers”.

Everyone knows it’s not 100 years old – it’s not even two years old yet. (It’s not a train either – it’s a locomotive – but I’ll overlook that seeing as it’s Christmas.)

These obviously aren’t the standards readers of The Northern Echo have come to expect and I sincerely apologise.

If nothing else, today’s Christmas Eve paper is a collectors’ item - but The Northern Echo must never again be brought down to this level.

Merry Christmas.