Sir Bob Russell is Liberal Democrat MP for Colchester, a seat he has held since the 1997 general election.
Sir Bob obtained his NCTJ Proficiency Certificate in 1966 at North-East Essex Technical College (now the Colchester Institute), having worked on the Essex County Standard.
Following the completion of the certificate, he went on to spend 18 months as news editor on the Braintree and Witham Times before becoming the youngest newspaper editor in Britain when he took over the helm of the Maldon and Burnham Standard shortly before his 22nd birthday.
All three titles were weekly newspapers which were part of Essex County Newspapers (now Newsquest).
Sir Bob also worked as a sub-editor for four years in London, mostly on the former Evening News before moving to the Evening Standard, and spent time as a publicity information officer and press officer before his election to parliament in 1997.
He said: “Local newspapers are the best place for journalists to train. If trainee journalists follow the guidance of NCTJ tutors, combining the basic rules of fairness and impartiality with the importance of individual flair and style, then there is a bright future in whatever sphere a career in journalism is taken.
“This September marks the 50th anniversary of when I embarked on my career as a trainee reporter. It was great. I worked hard, but enjoyed it.
“I would observe that nearly 50 years later I write my own news releases about my work as a Member of Parliament. So the NCTJ training of nearly half-a-century ago is still being put to good use!”