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North East weekly newspaper goes out of business

A North-East weekly newspaper set up five years ago has announced its closure in a farewell message to readers.

The Wear Valley Mercury, based in Crook, County Durham, was first established in September 2006 and although it sold under 2,000 copies, regularly punched above its weight.

On one occasion it managed to garner more than 16,000 signatures protesting against the closure of A&E services at Bishop Auckland hospital.

The paper’s closure was announced by editor Phil Hardy in a first-person piece carried in today’s final edition.

He wrote:  “Unfortunately, the decision has been taken to shut the newspaper because of the tough economic situation we all find ourselves in.

“It was with deep sadness that we came to accept that this week would see the final edition of the Wear Valley Mercury.

“Community newspapers like this are easy to dismiss as lightweight vehicles for church fetes and small interest groups. But those same groups are what make up our daily lives and hold our communities together.

“Like all businesses, newspapers are suffering in the current economic climate and we have become its latest victim. Rest assured, we all tried our very best.”

Phil also paid tribute to all the paper’s former reporters – Caroline Holmes, Alison Goulding, Duncan Leatherdale, Vicky Callaghan, Lizzie Anderson and latterly Ashley Barnard – saying they had “gone the extra mile.”

He added:  “There has always been a willingness to give that little bit extra to try to establish this fledgling title as a real contender. I would like to pay tribute to the professionalism and dedication of them all.”