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Award-winning free weekly to close this week

An award-winning weekly newspaper is to cease publication this week in what is the first closure announcement by regional publisher Local World.

Bedford Midweek, launched last May in a bid to lure younger readers, is to publish its final edition on Thursday following a “business review.”

The paper, which was named Free Newspaper of the Year at the EDF Energy East of England Media Awards in February, is to be merged with its stablemate Bedfordshire on Sunday.

No jobs are to be lost as a result of the closure, with all of the paper’s current staff shared with its sister title.

Bedford Midweek's launch editor Keeley Knowles, second left, receives the EDF Energy Free Newspaper of the Year award

Bedford Midweek was launched on 31 May last year by LSN Media, a subsidiary of Iliffe News and Media which has since merged with Northcliffe Newspapers to form Local World.

LSN Media managing director Mike Richardson described it at the time as “an exciting new addition to the LSN Media family.”

The paper made an immediate impression with its bright design and “user-friendly” style designed specifically to appeal to younger readers.

EDF Energy awards judges praised the title as “modern and engaging” with a good story count and “standout design.”

Rumours of the title’s imminent demise have been circulating for several weeks and LSN Media has now confirmed that this week’s edition will be the last.

Mike said in a statement:  ““After a business review we have made the decision to merge Bedford Midweek with its big sister, Bedfordshire on Sunday.

“We will retain many of the best ideas from Bedford Midweek in our Sunday publication and readers will still be able to get up to date news and information every day at”

The statement added that there will be no redundancies as a result of this closure and that employees have been informed.

Bedford Midweek has been without a dedicated editor since the departure of Keeley Knowles, the award-winning former BoS reporter who oversaw last May’s launch.

Keeley left at the end of April and is now assistant news editor at Newsquest daily the Oxford Mail.

Last May's launch edition of the soon-to-close Bedford Midweek