An independent weekly which went online-only for several months due to the coronavirus crisis has celebrated the publication of its 1,000th edition.
The Mid Hampshire Observer, which covers Winchester and the surrounding villages, marked the milestone this week.
The free weekly was launched by Jez Walder and Mark O’Connor in 2001 as the Winchester Observer, expanding to become the Mid Hampshire Observer the following year.
Sister weekly the Hampshire Independent, which covers the whole of the county, was launched in 2012.
The printed edition of the Observer recently returned from a hiatus caused by the pandemic.
Co-Director Mark O’Connor said: “When we started there was a lot of scepticism over how we wouldn’t last five minutes and how the big media groups would crush the little independent − they even took our original name. We really had to fight for everything in the first few months.
“I’m extremely proud that we’ve not only lasted for 1,000 editions but have become the only free weekly papers in the area.
“The staff that have stayed with us and given their all over many years are instrumental in us reaching this milestone.
“When we started this paper our main aim was to give the reader and the advertiser a choice − an independent voice − and that is what we are most proud of achieving. Here is to the next 1,000.”