Tindle Newspapers celebrated the 150th anniversary of three of its West Country paid-for weeklies at a ceremony with the Countess of Wessex.
The Countess presented gifts to staff members from the Totnes Times, the Wellington Weekly News and West Somerset Free Press at the Royal Bath and West Show, at Shepton Mallett, last week.
She also unveiled plaques commemorating each of the three newspapers.
Richard Davies, editor of Totnes Times said: “The anniversary is very good news as there was a time where we thought we might not survive. But our circulation is currently holding steady.”
He added: “I think local news will survive perhaps better than the nationals. I wish all papers would do well, but I’m afraid they’re not.”
Davies puts the Totnes Times’ continued success for the past 150 years entirely down to a very loyal readership. He said “The readers are very loyal and we do not take them for granted by any means.”
The West Somerset Free Press, which according to the most recent figures by the ABC has an average circulation of 9,308, was bought by Tindle in 1980. The paper was founded 120 years earlier by printer Samuel Cox and it remained in his family until 1970.
The Free Press was joined under the Tindle banner by The Totnes Times in January, 1986 when it was sold to one of the publisher’s subsidiary businesses, Devon and Cornwall Newspapers.
The Wellington Weekly News was the latest of the three Tindle purchases.
The Weekly News, which has an average circulation of 4,120, was taken over by the company in 2006 after it was surplus to requirements following the reorganisation of the Northcliffe Group.
The three papers are now part of the 230 title group owned by Sir Ray Tindle.