Comet shows birthday goodwill

A paper founded to “promote good” is celebrating its 150th anniversary by giving away a car to one of its readers and publishing a special supplement.

The paid-for Surrey Comet was founded 150 years ago by Surbiton printer Thomas Philpott, after he said God appeared to him and told him to use his talents to serve the Lord.

The story goes that he was baptised, confirmed and married on the same day he set up the Comet – “to expose the bad and promote the good”. Since then more than 13,000 issues have rolled off the presses without missing a week despite floods, financial crises, two World Wars and the advent of free newspapers.

The Kingston-based weekly (circulation 16,630) is marking its birthday with a promotion involving the Wimbledon Theatre and a local garage to give away a new Seat Ibiza.

It has also invited readers to nominate local good causes to benefit from a series of fundraising events and has called on ex-staff and readers to send in their memories of the paper to be published in an anniversary supplement.

Staff past and present are to be treated to a reunion party.

Comet editor Sean Duggan said: “The Surrey Comet has played an important part in local life for a century and a half. This unbroken tradition of service to the community is worth celebrating and we want all our readers and staff, past and present, to get involved.”

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