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Newspaper founder is remembered as it turns 150

The Surrey Comet has marked its 150th anniversary by remembering how it all began, with founder and local printer Thomas Philpott.

Current Comet editor Sean Duggan lay flowers on the grave of the man who was once its only staff member, in tribute to all that has been achieved since God appeared to him in a dream and told him to found a newspaper to serve the community.

Sean said: “If he were alive today, I am sure he would be quietly proud of what his dream has achieved.

“As the current editor I am certainly very proud to follow in his footsteps.”

  • Editor Sean Duggan lays flowers on
    Thomas Philpott’s grave
  • The occasion was also marked with a souvenir edition, which included memories from former staff who recalled their time on the paper.

    This included tales from former chief reporter Tim Harrison, who worked at the paper in the mid 70s.

    He told how he was once offered £200 to keep out of the paper a story about a man convicted of drink-driving.

    He said: “It represented seven times my starting weekly take-home pay of £29.

    “Back at the office I reported the attempted bribe to Dick Parsons, the news editor, and Dave Wilson, the editor.

    “The story was immediately elevated from a down-page filler to a prominent page lead to reflect the paper’s disgust at the bid to influence what was printed!”

  • More than 13,000 issues of the Surrey Comet have rolled off the presses since it was first launched. Earlier this year the paper was relaunched with increased pagination and new sections, and the publication date was brought forward from Friday to Wednesday.

    Do you have a story about the regional press? Ring 0116 227 3122/3121, or
    e-mail pastill@nep.co.uk