Wrexham’s Evening Leader celebrated its 30th birthday with a glittering party for readers, past and present staff and local VIPs.
Nonna Woodward, vice-chair of North Wales Newspapers which owns the Evening Leader, described the early days of the newspaper, and how her father Eric Thomas returned from a meeting of the Newspaper Society with the news a competitor was about to set up a daily paper in Wrexham.
She told the audience: “The mother of all invention – necessity – drove us to set up the Evening Leader.”
The newspaper was on the news-stands within weeks, and has since weathered the dark days of autumn 1973 and the three day week, coal strike and just three hours of electricity a day.
Among those at the party to pay tribute to the newspaper was Lord Barry Jones, former MP for Alyn and Deeside, who acknowledged the role the newspaper had played in publicising the many local campaigns he has spearheaded in his 31 years in Parliament. Jones said: “If there has ever been a problem or a need to advance the case of the community, or defend its interests, the Evening Leader has helped me.”
A front page from the first edition of the Evening Leader was auctioned, raising £240 for Nightingale Hospice.
Among the bidders was Mayor of Wrexham, Cllr Aled Roberts, who revealed he had been one of the original 750 paperboys for the Evening Leader, and still had the scar on his leg from an Alsation, which attacked him while he was delivering in the Rhos area.
He added: “There are times when we don’t all agree with what is written in the press, but it is an important part of a vibrant local democracy.”