The latest newsletter of the Journalists’ Charity spotlights how the life of a former Scottish press photographer has been made that much more bearable – thanks to financial help from the charity.
In a by-lined article by former colleague, Allan Caldwell, the newsletter relates how a car accident at work ended John McCarroll’s career – and led to his subsequent financial plight.
Explains Caldwell: “A subsequent struggle to make ends meet on a single person’s pension plus invalidity benefit made life unbearable for John.
“Paying for the basics – electricity, gas, food and clothing – took almost half of his meagre income. The good life he had enjoyed, socialising with friends and holidays, were no longer an option.”
John began his career at the Scottish Daily Express – joining as a darkroom assistant straight from school, and then spending 26 years as a staff photographer before being made redundant in 1984 due to staff cuts.
He then spent three years with Olympic Airlines in Greece as a staff photographer before returning to Glasgow as a freelance photographer where he worked under contract for the Evening Times and Herald group for 16 years.
Writes Caldwell, a newsman who worked regularly on jobs with John at the Evening Times: “For years John had suffered with hip problems, but then in 2000 came the accident that ended his career. He fell from the editorial car which had started to drive off before he was fully in the passenger seat.
“This led to an operation for a double hip replacement – paid for by the company’s insurance – but John received only minimum compensation.
“He returned to work but struggled with immobility and pain. In 2003 he did his last job before reluctantly hanging up his camera.
“John is now aged 69 and, with the Journalists’ Charity support, he can make ends meet. He cannot use the bus, but from his small, rented apartment in Glasgow he is able to afford a taxi a few times a week to go into town to socialise, and not worry too much about paying domestic bills.
“One of his greatest pleasures is a forward-and-backward reclining chair, provided through the charity’s support, enabling him to sit and stand with ease.”
John, who spent a total of six months in hospital last year, is quoted telling Caldwell: “The Journalists’ Charity has been tremendous. You work so long in newspapers, but you never think that kind of financial support will be there when you need it at the end of your career. Thank you.”
Detailed information on the Journalists’ Charity, which has been helping journalists in need since 1864, is available on www.journalistscharity.org.uk