The Queen has sent a message of congratulations to a weekly newspaper which is celebrating its 150th anniversary.
The East Kent Mercury was first published on 2 June 1865 when it was called the Deal, Walmer and Sandwich Mercury.
To mark the anniversary, the KM Group title has published a 24-page souvenir supplement, pictured below, which features the message from the Queen, along with articles and memories from former members of staff, including novelist Rory Clements and Sun football writer Justin Allen.
And next week’s paper will see the first edition of the Mercury reprinted in full.
The Queen’s message to the paper, written by Christopher Sandamas, chief clerk to the Queen, said: “Her Majesty sends her best wishes to all concerned for a memorable year commemorating this most significant milestone and for the continued success of the East Kent Mercury in future.”
Editor Graham Smith said: “All of us at the Mercury feel very privileged to be working here when the paper has reached such a significant milestone.
“These days are challenging for local newspapers but we are certainly holding our own commercially thanks to our readers and advertisers.
“Editorially we try to do what we have always done – trying to report news in a way that’s as accurate, fair and balanced as possible.”
The Deal, Walmer and Sandwich Mercury incorporated three other local newspapers – the Deal, Walmer and Kentish Telegram, the Downs Reporter and the Cinque Ports Messenger.
The first editions usually comprised just four pages and sold for a single penny.
In 1880, the paper was acquired by Thomas Frederick Pain, the founder of TF Pain and Sons, who became its owner and editor, while in 1980, the KM Group bought it.
The Mercury now has three editions following the launch of the Dover Mercury in 1998 and the creation of a Sandwich edition last year.