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Dean of Canterbury Cathedral pays tribute to the Kentish Gazette's vital role in city life

By Gerry Warren

Hundreds of readers and contributors joined worshippers at Canterbury Cathedral for a special choral evensong yesterday which celebrated the Kentish Gazette's 300th anniversary.

In his sermon, the Dean, the Very Rev Dr Robert Willis paid tribute to the role the newspaper has played in city life over three centuries and for its close links with the cathedral.

It was, he said, a special occasion for the Kentish Gazette and one "grand hallelujah" for the life of the newspaper over 300 years.

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The Dean of Canterbury, the Very Rev Dr Robert Willis

The Dean of Canterbury, the Very Rev Dr Robert Willis

 

He recalled the Gazette's "wonderful front page"  which showed Pope John Paul II visiting the cathedral in 1982 and praying alongside the Archbishop, Dr Robert Runcie.

And he praised the newspaper's reporting of the major events affecting the city over the centuries.

"It's the local news that counts. We know how important to our society a free press is and we give thanks to it and the courage that has kept it going," he said.

After the service he added: "It is an enormous celebration because the Kentish Gazette has served the city of Canterbury and the surrounding area for 300 years and caused a huge partnership with the cathedral and all our news.

"The newspaper is absolutely vital because the stories that are told about local people binds the community together."

An early front page of the Kentish Post - predecessor to the Kentish Gazette

An early front page of the Kentish Post - predecessor to the Kentish Gazette

The service was attended by dignitaries including the Lord Mayor, Cllr Rosemary Doyle who read a lesson from the new testament, and the Lord Lieutentant of Kent, Viscount De L’Isle and the High Sheriff George Jessel.

They were greeted by KM Media Group chairman Geraldine Allinson who also read a passage from the old testatment.

The Nave was filled with loyal readers, long-serving contributors and former and present KM staff.

Canterbury Cathedral was packed for a special evensong celebrating the 300th anniversary of the Kentish Gazette

Canterbury Cathedral was packed for a special evensong celebrating the 300th anniversary of the Kentish Gazette

 

In his speech, KM editorial director Ian Carter said: "Whether in times of trouble or times of peace, the Gazette has reported on life in Canterbury. As we celebrate our 300th anniversary today, we look forward to chronicling our city for many more years to come."

First published in October 1717 under the name The Kentish Post, the Gazette is the country's second oldest newspaper in continuous publication.

Its long history of reporting events great and small is featured in a special and unique 28 page supplement inside today's Kentish Gazette.

 

The 300th anniversary Kentish Gazette supplement

The 300th anniversary Kentish Gazette supplement

 

The service was followed by a reception in the Cathedral Lodge where images of some the Gazette's most memorable front pages were projected. 

Mrs Allinson said: "It was such a wonderful ceremony.

"The Dean and the cathedral did a fantastic job and it was great to have all the people there to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the Kentish Gazette.

KM Media Group chairman Geraldine Allinson

KM Media Group chairman Geraldine Allinson

"If you look back at all the old copies, you see how it has managed to adapt with the times while staying very close its community.

"People want to know what's going on and while they are now getting news in all sorts of different ways, they really care what is said in the Kentish Gazette."

The cathedral was packed for the 300th anniversary service

The cathedral was packed for the 300th anniversary service

Editorial director Ian Carter added: "It is a real milestone and an opportunity to celebrate what the Gazette has done in the past and what it will do in the future.

"It's really important to local people as you can see from the size of the turnout today. Even in times of social media, there is a role for trusted, regulated newspapers which are there to fight for their communities."

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