Three local weekly newspapers which have each served their west country communities for 150 years celebrated their 150th anniversaries with a visit by the Countess of Wessex. All three paid-for newspapers launched in 1860, the Totnes Times from Devon and the Wellington Weekly News and West Somerset Free Press from Somerset, are part of the 230-strong Tindle Newspaper Group owned by Sir Ray Tindle.
Their staff traveled on Thursday to a special celebratory lunch in a marquee at the Royal Bath and West Show at Shepton Mallett, where the Countess is president of the show society. During the lunch; the countess met every newspaper staff member personally, presented special watches to eight of them, and unveiled three plaques commemorating the anniversaries.
She was welcomed by Sir Ray, who praised the newspapers and their management and staff. The Countess responded with a speech congratulating the newspapers for being part of the fabric of their communities and Sir Ray for being an inspiration to newspapermen everywhere.
The photograph shows the Countess with Sir Ray, Brian Doel, group managing director, and Wendy Craig, director and assistant to Sir Ray.