A FLEET Street journalist who has worked on The Daily Telegraph for more than 30 years is the new president of the London-based Montgomeryshire Society.

John Eifion Jones was handed the chain of office at a reception at the Grosvenor Chapel, in Mayfair, London, by the outgoing president Aileen Richards.

John Eifion’s family is originally from Gwynedd. Born in Bangor, his family came to Montgomeryshire in 1954 when his father became the curate at Penstrowed, also taking services at Caersws and Llanwnog.

“My Father took the people of Montgomeryshire to his heart,’’ he said.

A couple of years later his father became vicar of Trefeglwys, where John Eifion himself received his formative education. He was at the time the only person in his class who spoke Welsh.

The family later moved to Llyn in 1960.

John Eifion went on to study history at York University, where one of his tutors was also from Montgomeryshire, Dr Dwyryd Jones, who was another son of the manse, from Carno.

Although his father had wanted him to become a doctor, he himself had always wanted to be a journalist and began his career at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies before entering Fleet Street in 1974, working as a correspondent for United Press International in London and Brussels. In 1987 he joined The Telegraph where he set up the syndication unit and has remained on the editorial staff for some 32 years.

In his reception speech, John Eifion, himself a dedicated member, said it was an honour and a privilege to become president of the society.

He also highlighted in his speech the society’s events for the year. These include a conducted walk in November down Fleet Street by John Eifion, followed by a visit to Dr Johnson’s House in Gough Square. It will also take in a visit to St Bride’s Church, long associated with journalists and newspapers.

The June Gruffydd Memorial Lecture will take place in the New Year on February 25, with a talk on the novelist Elena Puw Morgan by Dr Mererid Puw Davies at the Medical Society of London, in Cavendish Place.

In March there will be the society’s Annual Dinner at the Farmers' Club in Westminster and where the guest speaker will be the former Lord Lieutenant of Powys, the Hon Dame Shan Legge-Bourke.