Queen’s New Year honors: former editor-in-chief of BEM’s “humiliated but delighted” newspaper


Former Fermanagh man honored for his service to journalism and community

A former Fermanagh and Old Portoran man, who lived in the family home near Ederney for around 30 years, Wesley Atchison said he was “humbled but delighted and grateful” to have received an Empire medal (BEM) to Her Majesty The Queen’s New Year Honors List 2022 for service to journalism and the community.

The 66-year-old Omagh native joined Tyrone’s oldest newspaper – the Tyrone Constitution – as a junior journalist directly after completing his A-level education at the Royal Portora School in Enniskillen.

He became Associate Editor and then Editor-in-Chief in January 1995, before retiring in August 2020, having spent his entire journalistic career spanning 46 years with the newspaper.

Receiving the Cabinet Office letter informing him of the honor a few weeks ago while recovering from recent surgery, Wesley said it was a welcome boost, as well as a surprise total.

He also said he was sure there were many more deserving of such an accolade, but he was extremely grateful to have been named and recognized.

Born in Gillygooley on the outskirts of Omagh – and having attended the local elementary school there – Wesley moved as a child to Drumbarron, Ederney, where his parents, the late Thomas and Ethel Atchison, bought a general merchant business.

Upon his marriage, Wesley returned to live in Omagh with his supportive wife, Karen, née Steele, of Kesh, who is the principal of Cooley Elementary School, Sixmilecross.

He also has a brother, Alan, who still lives in Ederney with his wife, Oonagh.


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