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Star's mission to mark 100th birthday in style

A weekly paper’s centenary was marked with a 32-page pullout produced after a reporter took a six-week sabbatical from the office.

Archives in the Llanelli Star’s office only date back to the 1980s so reporter Laura Davies was dispatched to the National Library of Wales, in Aberystwyth, which houses almost every copy of the paper since its birth on 9 October, 1909.

She spent her time there trawling through back copies looking for high-profile, quirky and unusual photos and stories for this week’s pullout.

Among the gems discovered was the famous murder of Mabel Greenwood, unsolved since 1919.

Heart failure was initially diagnosed as the cause of death but a few years later police exhumed her body to discover she had died from arsenic poisoning.

Her husband Harold went on trial for her killing but wasn’t convicted by the jury and the culprit was never caught.

There was also the tale of the opening of the Loughor Bridge in the 1920s which, it was hoped, would unite the towns of Llanelli and Swansea in spirit as well as geographically.

Laura also managed to track down and interview Charles Braham who came to Wales as an evacuee and was taken in Brinley Jones, the founder of the Llanelli Star.

Charles started working on the paper and eventually became its editor and owner before selling it to current parent company Northcliffe in 1968.

A ball is taking place this Saturday to mark the anniversary.

Local dignitaries have lined up to congratulate the title and even Prince Charles has offered his praise.

Bede MacGowan, who took over the Llanelli Star editorship in February, told HTFP: “We wanted to mark our centenary in as much style as we could.

“It took a lot of time and effort and I had to take our reporter off news full time.

“Some of the stories from the past have been recreated verbatim in the pullout whereas others we’ve just given a synopsis and on centres is the very first front page recreated exactly how it was.

“Llanelli has undergone some quite remarkable changes over the past century and we are all extremely proud that the Star has been there every step of the way.”

  • A look back at stories from yesteryear
  • And the front page of the pullout