A regional daily has marked the beginning of its 50th anniversary celebrations by producing a special supplement.
The Shropshire Star, which was launched in October 1964, has kicked off its milestone year with a 16-page pull-out looking back at some of the company’s founders, its advertisers and readers whose stories have helped shape the newspaper’s history over half a decade.
It is a taster of what is to come with a look back on more amazing stories, milestones and campaigns to follow in future editions across 2014.
The Star’s nostalgia man Toby Neal has been trawling back through the archives in search of amazing stories and headlines, evocative stories and front pages.
And Shirley Tart, who has worked for the Shropshire Star from the very beginning, will be giving her personal recollections of newsroom life over the past half century, year-by-year, in a new weekly anniversary feature, starting on Saturday.
When the newspaper launched, it inherited a daily circulation of around 19,000 from the old Shropshire edition of the Express & Star.
It became the first evening newspaper in Europe to be printed by web-fed offset, which refers to the use of rolls, or webs of paper supplied to the printing press.
August 2012 saw the relaunch of the www.shropshirestar.com website in a responsive design – believed to be a first for any regional newspaper website in the UK.
One of the founding fathers of the Shropshire Star, Les Childs, recalls how things didn’t always go smoothly in those early days.
Les, now 77, was one of those key pioneers who steered the new venture to success.
“I joined the Express & Star from the Bridgnorth Journal as a sub editor in 1962. Two years later the Shropshire Star was launched and I was appointed its chief sub editor. I was there from day one living then, as now, in Alveley,” he said.
“It was a big change leaving the Express & Star at Wolverhampton in the ‘hot metal’ days for the Shropshire Star which was using a totally new system for newspapers of cold type setting. A lot of us were totally green and we were certainly learning our trade. For my part I had been editor of the Bridgnorth Journal and sub editor at Wolverhampton, and then chief sub editor at the Shropshire Star.
“For John Sanders, the sports editor, it was his first appointment in that position. On the newsdesk was Gordon Riley, an old hand from the days of the Wellington Journal. He was very experienced, particularly on the Shropshire scene. Features editor was John Beck. Eventually, when he moved to Wolverhampton, Gerry Anderson took over.
“The chief photographer was Johnnie Johnson. He took that amazing picture of a gunman at a siege near Market Drayton, which you can see in today’s supplement
“For Ted Ireland, it was his first appointment as editor, so he was another green one. He was very good and settled in quickly and was excellent to work for. He did a great job as the first editor of the Shropshire Star.”