BIRTHDAY greetings today poured in to mark the 140th anniversary of The Gazette’s historic first edition.
And they came from close to home and from the home of Government.
David Cameron, whose rise to Number 10 undoubtedly started in Blackpool, led the celebration messages.
The Prime Minister, who praised The Gazette’s campaigning style, said: “Since the first edition hit newsstands back on April 3, 1873, The Gazette has been essential reading for the latest on the local, national and international stories of the day.
“Throughout the years the paper’s strong campaigning tradition, has given local people a voice on issues from improving safety by the sea, to ensuring our emergency services are treated with the respect they deserve.
“I’m delighted to wish The Gazette a very happy 140th birthday and readers and staff all the best for the years to come.”
It was at the 2005 Conservative Party Conference, held at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens, Mr Cameron delivered a rousing speech which won over the Tory faithful en route to him becoming party leader.
It was one of the many key political moments The Gazette has reported on over the last 140 years.
Every Prime Minister in the last century has visited the resort and The Gazette has been there to report it.
The then Prime Minister Tony Blair opened The Gazette’s current offices at Avroe Crescent in 1998.
But it is not only national politicians who sent birthday wishes.
Blackpool Council leader Coun Simon Blackburn said: “It is vital for any town, particularly an internationally renowned resort like Blackpool, to have a thriving and diverse local media.
“As the world changes, so our methods of communication change, and I am very pleased to see a new format and exciting new content appear in The Gazette.
“The use of community reporters, young reporters, the introduction of a regular political column, and a greater emphasis on the views of readers and letter-writers can only be a good thing.
“The Gazette has always been a key medium for politicians of all parties to communicate with the residents of Blackpool, and I look forward to working closely with them for many years to come.”
Blackpool Football Club legend Jimmy Armfield, recalls his own days working for the The Gazette from 1960 until 1971.
He said: “After I had been training, I did three afternoons a week at The Gazette.
“There weren’t as many media outlets in those days and on a Saturday we also had The Green and people would dash down to their local newsagents to buy it and get all the latest scores and reports.
“I think local newspapers are important because they cover local events which are important to all of us, and I have The Gazette so I know what’s going on in Blackpool and Fylde.
“It’s not easy times for local newspapers, but I shall continue to buy my Gazette and would like to wish the paper good luck for its relaunch.”