DIARY: Going under cover with the man from Fishburn Hedges

Eagle-eyed readers may have noticed a slight omission from the credit for the Platform piece by Kit Jebens, former chief executive of Lautro (PR Week 23 February) - we failed to say where he works now, which is, of course, Fishburn Hedges.

Eagle-eyed readers may have noticed a slight omission from the credit

for the Platform piece by Kit Jebens, former chief executive of Lautro

(PR Week 23 February) - we failed to say where he works now, which is,

of course, Fishburn Hedges.



I gather this is not the first time Jebens has worked undercover -

indeed before joining Lautro in 1987, he spent 35 years in the army

including a spell at the Ministry of Defence.The Official Secrets Act

prevents me from revealing all of Jebens’ exploits. Suffice to say some

may know him by his nickname of Smiley.



Of course the methods of the secret service in the mid-1970s might seem

a little dated now. On one particular occasion, he tells me, he was

called to a rendezvous with a contact at MI6, who he was to meet under

the clock tower at Waterloo (where else?), wielding a rolled up copy of

the Financial Times.



To complete the cliched scenario the agent identified himself with the

immortal line: ‘Hello, my name is John Brown’. As for what happened next

- Jebens’ lips are, of course, sealed.



So taken was PR Week by this tale of Cold War shenanigans that we

decided to recreate the scene (see above). Jebens and photographer were

duly dispatched to Waterloo where they were promptly detained by British

Transport Police for taking pictures without permission.



Such were the photographer’s persuasive powers that the transport police

not only let them go but agreed to cordon off the area so they could

take their pictures.



Inevitably a crowd gathered to see what all the fuss was about - among

them was one man taking a particular interest in the proceedings. It was

an old army colleague of Jebens. ‘I’d not seen him for years,’ he says.

Ain’t life grand?



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