Hospital closures, the demise of rural post offices and a threat to local air ambulance services will be top of the agenda for Neville Smith as he takes over as editor of the Wiltshire Times and Chippenham News.
The former Swindon Advertiser assistant editor succeeds Andy Sambidge who is moving to Dubai in a new role as editor-in-chief of arabianbusiness.com.
Neville, 42, has already taken over as acting editor and will officially take over the reins on June 30.
Father-of-two Neville has also been production editor and sports editor of the Swindon Advertiser prior to becoming assistant editor.
Starting out as a cub reporter on the Wilts & Gloucestershire Standard 23 years ago, he also spent six year’s in the sports editor’s seat at the Bath Chronicle, and also spent a number of years at the Oxford Mail.
He has lived in Corsham for the past nine years and has become a part of the local community through his sporting interests – he has been a player, head coach and latterly chairman of Corsham Rugby Club, and a member of Kingsdown Golf Club.
He said: “I am delighted and very proud to have been given the opportunity to edit the Wiltshire Times and Chippenham News.
“I do feel very much part of this community in north and west Wiltshire and I look forward to developing what is already a strong, community-based newspaper.
“There are many issues facing all parts of our community – local hospital closures, the demise of rural post offices and doubts over the future of the Wiltshire Air Ambulance, to name but a few and a local weekly newspaper has a duty to serve that community, and to report on and reflect those issues.
“I also think it important that the readership has its say, and I will be encouraging our readers to involve themselves in the newspaper.”