Tindle toasts turnaround at Weekly News

By Jon Slattery

Tindle Newspapers chairman Sir Ray Tindle has praised the staff and the role played by Press Gazette chief reporter Jean Morgan in saving the 146-year-old Pulmans Weekly News.

Sir Ray, speaking at a lunch to celebrate the revival of the paper he bought seven years ago, announced that circulation was rising and the News was making a healthy profit.

He gave credit to the staff and to Morgan, who had telephoned him when plans to close the paper were announced.

“Jean rang me one morning for a comment,” Sir Ray said. “She sounded so sad about the news that this famous old paper was closing that I had the strong impression that she was really saying surely something could be done about it.”

Sir Ray bought the paper, based in Axminister, South Devon, the same afternoon over the telephone.

A former Press Gazette editor, Ken Brown, was taken on to get the newspaper out.

“We’ve had seven hard years,” said Sir Ray. “We lost a lot of money in five of them but we turned the corner finally in 2001. In 2002 we made a good profit.” The circulation had been 13,768 in 1974 but was around 2,000 when Tindle Newspapers bought the News in 1995. The paid-for sale is now approaching 4,000 and with free titles the total circulation exceeds an audited 21,000.

“Pulmans is back, bigger than ever and rising fast. It is now part of a group of papers called the South Devon and Somerset series,” added Sir Ray.

“We’ve a long way to go but we’re winning.” Among the toasts proposed at the lunch was one to “Press Gazette and Jean Morgan — who brought us together.”

Jon Slattery

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