Liverpool-based Reade, 56, is one of the most high-profile national journalists to still live in the North. The former Echo columnist writes two weekly columns for the Mirror – one on sport, the other on anything – and so reaches a good proportion of the near-million who still buy the paper every day, not to mention the 50 million users who browse the site each month.

Last month he donated a kidney to his son Philip, also a journalist, and a sufferer of renal kidney failure since birth.