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Newspaper changes name after campaign triumph

A weekly newspaper has taken the unprecedented step of changing its name after a successful campaign to get a town’s ancient royal status officially recognised.

The Sutton Coldfield Observer has become the Royal Sutton Coldfield Observer after the town’s royal status was reaffirmed during a Commons debate last week.

It followed a two-year campaign by the Observer and local MP Andrew Mitchell to get the status which was granted to Sutton Coldfield more than 480 years ago officially confirmed.

The Loacl World title celebrated with a front page story accompanied by the paper’s new name on the masthead.

Observer editor Gary Phelps said: “We hope that the return of Sutton Coldfield’s Royal status will have a significantly positive effect on the town in terms of local pride, the economy, tourism and all kinds of other factors. So, it seemed only right, given that we have managed to officially change the name of the town, to officially change the name of the newspaper too.

“We have also added the Tudor rose, the official emblem of Sutton Coldfield, to our newspaper logo.

“We now want all of our readers and local businesses across Sutton Coldfield to ensure that they use this fantastic opportunity to rebrand and properly reflect the news. So, changing the name of the newspaper is very much us setting an example in that respect. It also underlines the size of this victory and the impact it will have on the town as a whole.

“Sutton Coldfield is a part of Birmingham so we also want the Second City to take full advantage of having a Royal Town within its borders. After all, London has Royal Kensington and Royal Greenwich, Birmingham now has Royal Sutton Coldfield.”

Mr Mitchell, MP for Royal Sutton Coldfield, described the landmark victory as one of the “proudest moments” of his tenure as MP.

He said: “It’s a very important moment and obviously I am thrilled and delighted by what we have achieved. Lots of people have campaigned hard for this and it’s thrilling that it has worked because often with campaigns, you travel in hope and they don’t always work. But here is one where I think we got the result that all of us in Sutton deserve.

“I think it’s very good for Sutton. I think it’s another clear demarcation of Sutton Coldfield from all the areas around it, something very distinctive which we are very proud of and which underlines the uniqueness of Sutton Coldfield.”

In a bid to clear up confusion around the town’s status, the Observer launched its Royal Town Mystery campaign alongside Mr Mitchell in July 2012.

The campaign encouraged residents of all ages to unearth a mass of evidence supporting the town’s claim to be Royal – a challenge that readers responded to with vigour.

During last Wednesday’s adjournment debate, Mr Mitchell told MPs that Henry VIII had bestowed the Royal status in 1528.

Replying for the government, communities and local government minister Greg Clark confirmed the town’s status and thanked Mr Mitchell and the Observer for their efforts in highlighting the issue.