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Chronicle's royal visit survives flash floods threat

A stormy night almost scuppered the Dartmouth Chronicle and Kingsbridge and Salcombe Gazette’s big day when flash floods hit South Devon just hours before staff were due to welcome a royal visitor.

It was all hands to the pump as staff mounted a huge clean-up operation after the venue where they had been to due to meet the Duke of York was left under two feet of water.

But in true newspaper tradition the bad weather failed to the dampen spirits of the crowd.

The royal guest flew into Dartmouth by helicopter and arrived at the Market Square – home of the Chronicle – to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the two titles.

The Duke – who is no stranger to Dartmouth as he completed his naval training at Britannia Royal Naval College – was greeted by cheering crowds before being introduced to Sir Ray Tindle, owner of parent-company Tindle Newspapers.

He spent time in the Chronicle’s office scrutinising the latest issue of the paper before meeting editorial, advertising, production and accounting staff.

Editor Gina Coles said: “It was really lovely for the Duke to take time out of his busy schedule to celebrate the 150th anniversary of The Dartmouth Chronicle and the Kingsbridge and Salcombe Gazette we are very grateful.

“We like to think that the Royal family has a special place for Dartmouth especially as it is where The Queen met her husband for the first time and many of the Royal men have completed training at Britannia Royal Naval College.”

After meeting staff the Duke unveiled two commemorative plaques in honour of the papers’ anniversary before Sir Ray presented the guest with a gift of boxed George III silver berry spoons hallmarked 1794 from his private antique spoon collection, and an early framed copy of the Dartmouth Chronicle.

Sir Ray said: “It must be the dream of every newspaperman to be on a paper which reaches 150 years of age and is honoured by a visit from a member of the Royal Family.”

The Duke told him: “Having seen the pictures of what happened here last night I think its magnificent that you’ve been able to hold the event in the same place after it was under several inches of water.”

  • The Dartmouth Chronicle was founded by Robert Cranford, a Dartmouth town councillor.
  • It was published from his house in Fairfax Place where it began as a monthly publication and went weekly in 1871.
  • It is believed the Chronicle has not missed an issue in all 150 years.
  • In 1986 ownership of the newspaper group passed to Tindle Newspapers Ltd one of the very few family newspaper business left in the country.
  • Sir Ray Tindle, the founder of the company in the sixties, is still actively running the paper along with 170 other local titles and eight radio stations.

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