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The Story behind the First Issue

The Beginning....

In the late 1970's Leicestershire Rural Community Council was interested in the possibilities of Local Community Newspapers, two or three of which were already being produced in Leicestershire villages. An honorarium was paid to a man who had for several years been involved with the Blaby Courier. He was Daryl Taylor-Smith and he approached Parish Councils in villages he thought suitable for the launch of a Community Newspaper. Villages selected had to be of a certain size of population with enough potential circulation to attract advertising from nearby traders. He was granted permission to mount an exhibition in the Kibworth Library showing copies of the existing papers and inviting anyone interested to contact him

 

Among those who were interested were Carol and Peter Baker, Geoff Crowther and Tony Hallows and with Daryl Taylor-Smith they contacted potential advertisers and tried to arrange a meeting with the Joint Parish Councils, but Daryl felt the long wait for the meeting could delay the launch of a paper.  A start in Spring or early Summer could help to build up a good advertising standard and some financial resources before the quieter trading period following Christmas.  It was therefore decided to call a Public Meeting and notices  were pushed through the letter boxes of all Kibworth residents.

For or against...

In the somewhat acrimonious meeting attended by around fifty people, there was much discussion of the possible financing of a paper and many other aspects of publication. The Parish Church were concerned about the possible loss of advertising in their magazine and the general opinion of Parish Councillors attending was that Kibworth had no need of such a paper and it certainly could not be self financing -impossible! Daryl, who led the meeting, suggested that those present vote with their feet - those against the idea should leave and anyone interested should stay to explore further. This left about ten people, the majority of whom had not previously met each other. Introductions were made with those present outlining their occupations and special interests.

 

Starter for ten...

They were interested in the opportunity to seek out and write news. We had a secretary, sales representative and an office manager amongst us - the nucleus of a team to produce and administer a Community Newspaper.  Further meetings of this group followed and sufficient advertising was sold to cover the cost of producing a first edition. Then the problems really began - with the need to produce adverts which looked good enough to help sell 'our customers' products - we all spent hours learning to use letraset (those rub-down letters without which we could not produce either headlines or advertising blocks).  Much discussion was involved in the eventual decision not to place adverts on the front page (shades of The Times). Meanwhile, some of the group were interviewing newsworthy people - it was somewhat difficult in those days to introduce oneself as so-and-so from the Kibworth Chronicle -what's that? A week to go and we still had no obvious front page story and then we discovered that Smeeton Westerby was to have its first election for Parish Councillors for many years.  The contestants were interviewed, photographed and there we were with a front page story.

 

Glamour...gone!

The opinion was that we should have (if not a Page 3 Girl) at least a picture of an attractive young lady in the paper (Not a unanimous decision but he was acting as editor for the first publication). Arrangements were made between our photographer and a young lady and a studio in Market Harborough was to be the place where the picture would be taken. Late objections by the young lady's nearest and dearest resulted in a high speed chase along the A6, some harsh words and inevitably no photograph being published - Poetic Justice was a phrase used by opponents of the original suggestion. And so to the day arranged to put it all together and discover that much of the advertising still needed to laid out and a lot of the material still needed to be typed and retyped to accommodate the space available. Daryl insisted that there should be no white space left and no glue must show on the front of adverts or news items. Eventually, he pronounced himself satisfied with the results, much to the relief of those involved. It had been a long hard day.

 

A further hiccup....

The moment of panic followed on Monday when our proud efforts were delivered to the printer who had not realised the size of our publication sheets and could not cope with them. A hasty 'phone call revealed the name and address of the Blaby Courier's printer and he was able to take on the work at short notice. Reactions of those involved with the first issue covered all human emotions from panic as lay-up day approached to joy when the finished paper was delivered from the printer.

The rest, as they say, is history......


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