A Welsh weekly newspaper has succeeded in its 18-month campaign to bring an important national monument into public ownership.
Cardigan Castle was the birthplace of the National Eisteddfod – the annual Welsh cultural festival – in 1176. It has been privately owned for 200 years – but in the last 60 years has been left to the ravages of neglect and decay.
The town’s newspaper – the Tivy-Side Advertiser – launched a “Castle in Crisis” campaign in October 2001, urging the local authority to take over the ancient monument.
The newspaper organised a petition which collected nearly 4,000 signatures – Cardigan only has a population of 4,000 and the paper’s circulation is just under 9,000.
The small editorial team put together features, wraps and special supplements urging Ceredigion County Council to step in and save the castle. Finally, last week, editor Nye Evans and deputy Sue Lewis were on hand to see the keys being handed over after the council clinched a deal to buy the castle for £500,000.
The paper celebrated by draping the castle in a banner and handing out champagne and castle cakes, as well as publishing a souvenir supplement.
“It’s been a real rollercoaster of a campaign – and we’ve enjoyed every minute,” said Evans.
By Jean Morgan