The Northern Echo has expanded its weekly Local Heroes supplement covering grass-roots sports from 12 to 16 pages, following growing demand from local sporting organisations.
Local Heroes – edited by Craig Stoddart – has the organisations queueing up to be in it. In football alone, 14 amateur leagues are covered, with 28 divisions, 374 teams and 6,000 players.
Local Heroes was launched four years ago when Peter Barron took over the editor’s chair and it has become an established read for thousands of people involved in football, cricket, table tennis, basketball, darts, dominoes, athletics, golf, squash, angling, swimming, bowls, rugby and ice hockey.
The supplement has attracted the biggest single sponsorship deal in the paper’s history – from Darlington Building Society – and the Local Heroes Awards are now a popular feature of the North-East sporting calendar, attracting a 600-strong audience.
Barron said: “Local Heroes has been a real success story, growing from nothing to 16 pages crammed with hundreds of local people every week, and the feedback is very strong.
“The aim is to keep on growing and there are plans to add yet another football league soon, featuring an extra 500 players.”