Kids' weekly publishes 500th edition: 'The next generation will grow up reading print thanks to First News'

First News is launching a charity appeal to encourage children in Cambodia to go to school as it marks its 500th edition.

The weekly newspaper for children has grown its circulation steadily since launching in 2006 and now distributes an average of 79,431 copies.

First News editor Nicky Cox said the Cambodia appeal was started after chief executive Sarah Thompson travelled to the country and saw how some children were disadvantaged by the poor conditions they lived in.

Cox said: "They would not go to school, as their parents would advise them to go to the streets to beg, as they desperately need the money."

The appeal pays for children to receive a bag of rice as a reward for attending school, ensuring they receive education and a meal.

First News wants 500 UK schools to sponsor a child in Cambodia to pay for food, healthcare and a place at school.

First News is also giving away 500 prizes to mark the 500th edition. The prizes include a season ticket to all Merlin entertainment businesses such as Madame Tussauds and Thorpe Park and tickets for West End shows.

Talking about the success of First News, Cox said: "Other journalists originally told me that this idea would never work", adding: "We are single handily saving the paper industry as 86 per cent of our readers prefer the print version of the paper to others."

She said: "The next generation will grow up reading print thanks to First News."

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