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Anniversary special marks weekly’s 275 years

A local weekly paper has celebrated 275 years of publishing with a commemorative supplement marking some of the most poignant moments in its history.

The Western Gazette, which covers parts of East and South Somerset and North and West Dorset, traces its origins back to the Sherborne Mercury which launched in 1737.

To mark the occasion, the front page of the very first edition is printed in full across the centre pages of the 32-page supplement.

As well as recreating some of the paper’s iconic front pages, messages of congratulations have been printed inside – including one from Prime Minister David Cameron.

Gazette editor Emma Slee said: “It’s impossible not to feel incredibly proud to work for the Western Gazette when you read about our history and the wonderful messages of support we have received.”

The front page of the anniversary supplement of the Western Gazette, which celebrates 275 years of publishing this year

Among the reproduced reports are the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, the death of Queen Victoria in 1901, VE Day Celebrations in 1945, and Yeovil Town Football Club’s FA Cup match with Manchester United in 1949. Coverage of two Olympic Torch relays – in 1948 and 2012 – has also been reprised.

A local historian who has based hundreds of articles on research from the Gazette archives appears in the supplement, along with a woman who has collected cuttings from the paper for more than 60 years and an interview with a paper ‘boy’ who delivered copies until the age of 84.

A former editor also gives his account of a World War II disaster, which was censored at the original time of publication.

A group of schoolchildren were invited to predict what would be in the news in 2287 and how the newspaper would cover events 275 years into the future.

Among their suggestion was the idea that news from around the whole universe would be beamed directly into the minds of readers.

Pages two and three of the supplement, with a message of congratulations from Prime Minister David Cameron