Former Gazette editor receives MBE for services to Teesside

Simon Austin's picture
Bob Cuffe

Bob Cuffe, who was made redundant as Trinity Mirror’s North East MD for a second time in April, has been awarded an MBE for his services to business and economic development on Teesside.

Cuffe, who grew up in Redcar and is the son of a barmaid and plumber, rose through the ranks at The Gazette newspaper in Middlesbrough before becoming editor.

He has been heavily involved with business organisations in the area, including the Teesside Chamber of Commerce, the CBI and Institute of Directors. For the last nine years he has been a Teesside University governor and was also the only media representative on the SSI taskforce during the Redcar steel crisis.

He is ns now on the board of the body overseeing its redevelopment, the South Tees Development Corporation.

Cuffe told The Gazette: “It’s strange that at the age of 58, my first thought was back to my roots with mam and dad, but I know how proud they’d have been. I’m very humbled and gobsmacked. This sort of thing doesn’t often happen to people like me but I’m immensely proud that it has.

“If I’m defined by anything in my career, I’m immensely proud to have been associated with The Gazette - not just a commentator on events but an active participant in the outcomes.

“The Gazette was a prime mover and I was proud to be a part of that. Most of the stuff I did externally when I was with The Gazette was about the regeneration of Teesside.

“I’ve always fought back against our innate Teesside pessimism. I’d hear ‘oh, there’s no jobs on Teesside’ and that ‘it’s not a good place be raised in’ but that was a default setting I’ve never agreed with.

“Some council leaders and politicians have, throughout my working life, by and large talked the area down. The business community has always been the most optimistic and The Gazette has been an important part of that, getting the hopes and aspirations of business out there.

“I don’t care about political parties. When Lord Heseltine was involved after the steelworks closed, I asked him ‘why are you here?’ He replied ‘Because I want to help’ and I thought, ‘that’s good enough for me’. If anyone wants to support Teesside, I’m quite happy to be their friend."