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Butler retires after 60-year career

Sandwell | News | Published:

Not many people can boast a 60-year career. But Wolverhampton broadcaster Tony Butler has been doing his job for a full six decades.

Since he climbed on to the first rung of the journalism career ladder at the tender aged of 14 he has hardly stopped for breath.

But next month he will go on air for the last time. He will celebrate his 74th birthday on May 15 and finally stop for a rest.

He told the Express & Star today: "I think you know when it's time to retire, and I'm on my bike."

The famously straight-talking presenter from Lower Penn started working for Bayliss News, an agency in Birmingham's Broad Street.

He then started as a trainee reporter at a local newspaper when he was 16-years-old in 1951, and he worked there for three years before later completing his National Service.

Mr Butler then started work as a freelance journalist and completed a stint as sports editor on the Wolverhampton Chronicle before moving onto The Daily Telegraph as a reporter where he covered speedway and rugby.

He later joined BBC regional radio department to present Sport in the Midlands on a Saturday night and became the Head of Sport at Birmingham-based radio station BRMB for 10 years.

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He later re-joined the BBC as a reporter for Midlands Today and was also the star of three series for BBC Midlands including Biking Butler, Sporting Butler and Boating Butler.

Then in 1984, Tony was tempted away from the BBC to present the prestigious breakfast show on Xtra AM for four years.

But he later settled back at BBC WM in 1988 where he presented the flagship breakfast show for five years before returning to his nightly sports show.

His famous phone-in competitions also saw listeners trying to win a limited edition 'Butler Blower' football whistle.

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He said today: "I have been offered a few shows at the BBC but I don't want to be one of those people who clings on too long. I've got some holidays booked but apart from that I've got no plans."

He added: "The best part of my career came in my twilight years. I got to go out to Germany to cover the World Cup when I had already turned 70. That was brilliant."

Keith Beech, BBC WM Managing Editor said: "Tony is a great character and has played a big part in making our football coverage the best and most popular there is."

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