Staffordshire-based free weekly newspaper the Cannock Chase Post went to the press for the final time after the publisher announced its closure last Monday.
The closure came as part of a series of cutbacks across Trinity Mirror Midlands which will see 45 editorial jobs axed, along with the creation of a regional production hub and features unit.
The last edition of the Chase Post included six pages of tributes from local members of the community, including local MPs, councillors, police chiefs, and even one from former Deep Purple guitarist Glenn Hughes.
A front page story on the closure was headlined “The Last Post” and began with the words: “Don’t know how to break this, but… This is the very last Post.”
Editor Mike Lockley, who recently celebrated 25 years in the chair, wrote: “It’s an incredibly sad day and there will be a tear when the last page of the very last edition is sent to the print works.
“I’d like to thanks the community for its support and kind words. I have spent the last few days fielding calls and responding to emails from readers genuinely shocked and upset.
“We set out from the start to be the voice of this community. Judging by your kind words, we’ve succeeded.
“I intended to write a long tribute but you, the readers have beaten me to it.”
Rock star Glenn Hughes, who now lives in Los Angeles, wrote: “I grew up reading this weekly traditional paper as a teenager living in Cannock as well as asking mom on my visits from LA ‘Is the Post in the kitchen?”
“I want to thank Mike Lockley, Janet Lee and all the staff for the love and comfort, these first 60 years of my life and career.”
The wreath was delivered by the NUJ’s Midlands and Northern organiser Chris Morley and included the message ‘Chase Post, Sutton News & Stafford Post R.I.P under Trinity Mirror’.
Said Chris: “Although we have laid this wreath, the NUJ does not believe these papers have to die. Trinity Mirror claims to have searched for a buyer, but has not been open about its efforts.
“It has an obligation by law to try to eliminate or reduce the number of redundancies the closure of these titles will bring about and one obvious way of doing that would be to actively seek a buyer.
“If it is serious about finding a new owner, Trinity Mirror should consider giving away the titles to any credible local investors with a clear interest in keeping them as the valuable community asset that they are. The group reaped the profits from these papers over the past ten years and should now be responsible to the community who provided those profits.”
Last week Trinity Mirror bosses said they had already tried and failed to sell the titles. The company did not wish to comment further.
The newspaper’s last edition went to press last week though the website is still live. In the last round of ABC figures the Chase Post had a circulation of 48,716.
- Don’t miss Steve Dyson’s blog on Wednesday for a review of the final two editions of the Post.