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Weekly’s editor honoured for serving patch during pandemic

Simon Bradshaw 2021A long-serving regional editor has been awarded the British Empire Medal for services to his patch during the coronavirus pandemic.

Simon Bradshaw, who has edited the Henley Standard since 2008 and prior to that ran Brighton daily The Argus for six years, has been recognised in the New Year’s Honours list.

The Standard continued to publish in print and online during the pandemic, with traffic to its website increasing by 31pc.

It now has an average of 407,058 page views and 63,483 unique users per month.

The 62-year-old, pictured, said: “Journalists are very good at writing about others but it’s a different matter when we become the subject of a story ourselves.

“Editor Gets Award Shock could have been my headline when I got the news. It was completely unexpected but a real fillip for everyone here in the editorial department who works so hard to produce the paper every week, come what may.

“Even a global pandemic couldn’t stop us. And I like to think we did our bit — along with all the countless others — to show our locked-down readers that they were not alone and that there were still plenty of good things in the world.

“I’d especially like to thank the readers who stuck with us when everything we rely on to fill our paper simply stopped.”

Examples of how the Standard covered the pandemic included stories on how its communities supported each other and the NHS during the national lockdowns and the effects they had on its readers.

It also produced a weekly “coronavirus survival guide”, which detailed the latest restrictions as well as listing the services provided by all independent businesses across its patch as they changed their offerings in a bid to stay open.

Readers responded with their own stories and pictures as part of a weekly “Lockdown Diaries” feature where readers looked to the paper to try and help the community keep its spirits up through shared experiences.

Some included the perils and pitfalls of home schooling, revisiting old hobbies, Zoom meet-ups and sharing the beauty of the Oxfordshire countryside.

Nigel White, managing director of Standard publisher the Higgs Group, said: “I am delighted that Simon has been rewarded for the brilliant work he has done in keeping our readers informed during the pandemic.

“I really could not wish for a more dedicated and hard -working editor than Simon and this award is richly deserved.

“It has been a huge challenge for Simon and his team over the past year or two to produce our award-winning newspaper week after week, with many traditional sources of news unavailable, but under Simon’s leadership they continued to deliver, as they always do.

“In what has been an extremely difficult time for all of us it was pleasing to see that our local community turned to the Henley Standard to keep them informed on how things were being affected locally.

“This was endorsed by our circulation performance which has held up well throughout and we have also seen our web traffic improve by more than 30pc during the pandemic.”

You can read all our coronavirus-related stories here.