Final deadline draws near as 151-year-old Banbridge Chronicle faces closure

The Banbridge Chronicle has announced that it expects to close by the end of this month after 151 years in print... but has also left the door open for a potential saviour.

Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 8:39 pm
Updated Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 9:23 pm
A 2018 edition of the paper
A 2018 edition of the paper

The weekly newspaper, based in the heart of the Co Down town, announced the news via its Facebook page this afternoon.

Within the space of roughly four hours, it had attracted over 100 comments, lamenting the pending loss.

The paper is an independent one, run by the Hodgett family; it’s current list of directors consists of Alwyn, David, Edward, Geoffrey, John, Lowry and Richard Hodgett.

The announcement said: “On foot of gradually declining trading conditions in print media for the past number of years, and a perfect storm of such commercial difficulties during the Covid-19 pandemic, the newspaper is unable to continue and will publish its last edition at the end of October, unless other arrangements can be made.”

“Our immense gratitude to our wonderful staff, present and past, readers, advertisers, contributors and suppliers is undiminished.”

Among those paying tribute to the paper tonight are some of its former reporters, such as Chris Hewitt, who currently works at movie magazine giant Empire.

“Very sad to hear that The Banbridge Chronicle, my hometown paper and the place that gave me my start in journalism, is to close at the end of October (unless a last-minute buyer can be found),” he said.

“My heart goes out to all the staff there. A better bunch you couldn’t hope to find.”

Gary McDonald, Irish News business editor, said: “Absolutely distraught at this terrible news. I started my career in this fine newspaper some 42 years ago. This seems like a personal bereavement. Can’t believe it’s the end.”

And the News Letter’s Billy Kennedy it “will be greatly missed, not just in Banbridge, but the surrounding Co Down hinterland”.

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