LOYAL readers have been coming in to our Faraday Road offices to pick up their free commemorative 150th anniversary edition of the Newbury Weekly News.
Last week’s NWN included a reprint of the very first paper, from February 7, 1867. And the front page of the anniversary edition featured a personal message of congratulations from the Queen.
A voucher was printed in the January 26 and February 2 editions of the NWN, offering readers a free anniversary edition if they brought the voucher in to our offices.
Newbury resident Jessica Hill turned up to collect the historical paper and said: “I read my first NWN when I was just six years old and I’ve been buying it pretty much every week for the past 70 years. We love it.”
Reader Tony Hewett also dropped in and said: “We always pick up a copy.”
To celebrate our anniversary, the Newbury Weekly News is also giving away £10,000 to local good causes – with every pound match-funded by Greenham Common Trust, bringing the total to £20,000.
The charity giveaway is just one way the newspaper is marking its milestone anniversary. We have also produced a special beer with West Berkshire Brewery to help the celebrations along, in what is believed to be an industry first.
It is called Mr Blacket and Mr Turner – named after the newspaper’s founders – and will soon be on sale in local pubs as well as the brewery’s shop in Yattendon.
Three weeks ago the paper was featured on Meridian News and BBC Radio Berkshire covered our birthday on its breakfast show on Tuesday last week.
Newbury Racecourse baked a large commemorative cake to celebrate our milestone.
Sous chef Michael Payne and head chef Darren Fairminer spent two days creating the classic Victoria sponge-style cake which had a decadent mix of raspberry jam, cream butter and sugar.
People also took to social media to congratulate us.
On our Newburytoday Facebook page, Sarah Dunn wrote: “So love my Newbury Weekly News I brought two xx”
Felicity Whitaker wrote: “The only newspaper I buy as so interesting, thank you and congratulations.”
Jason Collie, tweeted: Congratulations to @NewburyToday – here’s to another 150 years of good level, independent local news coverage.”
Henry Moffatt added: “Happy 150th birthday celebrations NWN, always a great read.”
In February 1867, Walter Blacket and Thomas Whieldon Turner founded the Newbury Weekly News from a stationers shop at 34 Northbrook Street – before the car or the lightbulb were invented.