GAZETTE Editor David Helliwell leaves the paper next week for a new role in Cumbria.
Mr Helliwell is to become editor and deputy publisher with Cumbrian Newspapers Ltd, based in Carlisle.
He took over the editorship in Blackpool in 2003, having previously worked at the Evening Post’s of Yorkshire and Lancashire.
He has overseen a raft of changes at the Gazette and Herald company as it has adapted to the challenges of new media.
Among the newspaper’s recent accolades was being named NW daily newspaper of the year and editorial team of the year in 2009. For the last two years Mr Helliwell has also been group editor with responsibility for the Lytham St Annes Express and Fleetwood Weekly News.
Mr Helliwell said: “It’s been an extremely rewarding role and it’s certainly a wrench to leave but it’s time for a new challenge.
“There have been so many great stories and so many changes during my time here that it’s very difficult to pick out highlights. But the casino campaign – when The Gazette, local MPs and campaigners took an 11,000 strong petition to 10 Downing Street - will always be a stand out for me as it was a great example of a newspaper fighting and standing up for its local community.
“I think a lot of the development that Blackpool has enjoyed since that time is down to the fightback the town launched from that day.”
He added: “The changes in how we operate as a newspaper have also been wide-ranging and who could have predicted the explosion of growth in social media that has meant we have never been able to rest on our laurels.
“Thankfully The Gazette has always been blessed with a team of people who believe they can be a success and make a difference, and that’s as strong today as it ever was.”
The Gazette’s managing director Darren Russell said: “The Gazette has been fortunate to have such a committed and talented editor during this period. I know David will be sorely missed and we wish him every success as he embarks on the next stage of his career.”
A successor will be appointed in due course.