IT'S amazing how things change.

Today's nostalgia spread centres on a wacky, messy tradition that was once commonplace but hard to imagine now.

These pictures were sent in by Ivan Sage and reflect on his initiation ceremony, which was then a traditional way to celebrate the completion of apprenticeships in the printing trade.

Mr Sage, of Harwich Road, Lawford, worked at QB Ltd as a compositor and was involved in the launch of the then-called Colchester Evening Gazette.

Chelmsford Weekly News: Here goes nothing - Ivan Sage was cornered in the car park and carried to a telegraph pole at the front entrance of the QB Ltd printing works in Sheepen RoadHere goes nothing - Ivan Sage was cornered in the car park and carried to a telegraph pole at the front entrance of the QB Ltd printing works in Sheepen Road

He served a six-year apprenticeship at the company's former printing works in Sheepen Road, Colchester, and his initiation took place in August 1975.

Mr Sage, 66, said: "It was a long-standing tradition to 'bang out' anyone leaving the print industry - basically whacking anything on hand to make as much noise as possible as they left the premises for the final time - and cover apprentices with all sorts of smelly, gooey stuff once their apprenticeship had been completed.

"In my case, my friends had been collecting the slops of the past few days from the company canteen, plus perforations from ticker tapes which, when mixed together, made it quite a job to clean off afterwards.

"In the mix there was also some watered-down printing ink.

Chelmsford Weekly News: Sticky situation - Ivan Sage found himself wearing slops from the company canteen, plus perforations from ticker tapes. The mix also included watered-down printing inkSticky situation - Ivan Sage found himself wearing slops from the company canteen, plus perforations from ticker tapes. The mix also included watered-down printing ink

"I came well prepared for my initiation, with spare clothes and more than a little trepidation.

"At the end of my shift I was cornered in the company car park and carried to a telegraph pole at the front entrance of the company.

"I was then tied, gently not roughly, to the pole while my so-called friends tipped anything they could get hold of over my head, much to the amusement of passing motorists and pedestrians.

"Once untied, my ordeal was not over - I was taken to the adjacent river and pushed in to wash of some of the mess.

"Perhaps in this day and age, such initiations would be frowned on, but, back in the seventies, it was common practice and always carried out in good humour.

"I could hardly complain as I'd participated in the initiations of many colleagues myself by the time my own turn came around."

Chelmsford Weekly News: Frogmarched - Ivan Sage is taken to a telegraph pole while his friends tipped anything they could get their hands on over his head, much to the amusement of passing motorists and pedestriansFrogmarched - Ivan Sage is taken to a telegraph pole while his friends tipped anything they could get their hands on over his head, much to the amusement of passing motorists and pedestrians

Mr Sage looks back with great fondness on his time in the newspaper industry and enjoyed a career spanning more than 40 years.

He said: "I worked on the weekly Colchester Gazette, which was relaunched as a daily publication - the Colchester Evening Gazette - in 1970.

"At the time it had been a gamble to launch a daily paper but that gamble paid off and it's still going strong to this day.

"During my ten years at QB, I worked on all the Essex County Newspapers titles and there were approximately 70 other newspapers printed at the premises, including music publications like Melody Maker, New Musical Express, Black Music and Sounds.

Chelmsford Weekly News: About to get wet - Mr Sage's colleagues about to throw him into the riverAbout to get wet - Mr Sage's colleagues about to throw him into the river

"Some comics were produced there plus other titles like the London Weekly Advertiser, Motor Cycle, Boxing News and Cage & Aviary Birds.

"When I joined QB Ltd, the company had the largest printing press of its kind in the country - and possibly even further afield.

"When running at full speed, it was a sight to behold and extremely noisy.

"Several local organisations would enjoy tours of the company and I was often the person delegated to show them around.

"Without doubt, the sight of the huge press in full flow was the highlight of any tour."

Chelmsford Weekly News: Bath time - Mr Sage washes himself down after being plunged in the riverBath time - Mr Sage washes himself down after being plunged in the riverChelmsford Weekly News: Happily married - Mr Sage and wife JudyHappily married - Mr Sage and wife JudyChelmsford Weekly News: Looking back - Ivan SageLooking back - Ivan Sage

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