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Cent-E&E-nary celebrations for the Echo

The Exeter Express & Echo has marked its 100th anniversary with a centenary gala dinner.

More than 300 guests, including staff, key advertisers and supporters from local government, education and sport, enjoyed an evening of fine food and wine as they toasted the paper’s historic milestone.

The event, at Exeter University’s Great Hall, also played host to the paper’s first Echo’s Heroes awards, an iniative to recognise the unsung community champions in the paper’s circulation area.

Twenty-seven local people were honoured in nine categories, with winners each receiving an engraved trophy and £1,000, and all the finalists given a framed certificate.

Deputy editor Tim Dixon said: “The idea of saluting unsung heroes seemed like a good way of marking the occasion, rather than just looking back which can be a bit dry.

“They are the quintessential Echo reader, playing a big part in the community, and it seemed fitting to let them hog the limelight.”

Also on the guest list was the Mitchell family from Heavitree, who were the winner’s of the Echo’s big birthday competition, scooping its biggest-ever cash prize of £10,000.

Michael Pelosi, managing director of Northcliffe Newspapers, which owns the Express and Echo, was also present, along with the Lord Mayor of Exeter and local Olympic competitors Joe Glanfield and Jo Pavey.

All current Express & Echo staff also celebrated the occasion with a free lunch and champagne, and managing director Ivor Bull and editor Steve Hall presented each staff member with a bottle of bubbly and a specially-engraved centenary decanter.

And a series of nostalgic supplements given away with the paper meant readers were also able to join in the celebrations.

This culminated in a 32-page CENTE&ENARY supplement which was published on Friday – 100 years to the day that the Express and Echo was founded by Sir James Owen.

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