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Page last updated at 16:54 GMT, Tuesday, 16 February 2010
Ipswich Evening Star newspaper celebrates 125 years
By Linda Walker
BBC Suffolk

The Star of the East
The Star of the East was first published on February, 17 1885

On Wednesday, 17 February The Ipswich Evening Star, formerly Star of the East, will celebrate its 125 birthday.

Established in 1885 by Thomas Richards Elkington, the paper is based on Lower Brook Street under the guidance of editor Nigel Pickover.

"There's a great community in Suffolk who are absolutely determined to keep its media," said Nigel.

The paper will celebrate its birthday with a week-long series of special editions and an event in the summer.

When in February 1885 Thomas Richards Elkington and his then editor Frederick Wilson established the Star of the East (it became the Evening Star in 1893) they could have scarcely imagined that 125 years later the newspaper would still be operating, albeit in a very different way.

"Historically, the first copy of the Evening Star in 1885 didn't have a local story on its front page," said Nigel Pickover.

Nigel Pickover
Nigel started his career at the Evening Star in 1996

"The nearest story to here geographically that you could recognise was a passenger running amok on a train in Derby."

Nigel, the 11th in a line of all male editors, has been with the paper for 16 years (14 spent as editor) - having started his journalistic training as a cub reporter at the tender age of 17.

He relocated from his native Yorkshire, and a position on the Sheffield Star, and says the Evening Star's relationship with sister paper the East Anglian Daily Times was one of the incentives.

"I suppose when I first came here evening newspapers in places like America were dying out and there were very few where you've got an evening paper and a morning paper in the same publishing house so that intrigued me."

Wembley express

Nigel is proud of the campaigns that he's overseen at the Star, and for the industry awards which followed.

Coverage of Ipswich Town Football Club remains a key part of the paper, with the celebrations after promotion to the Premier League in 2000 still fresh in his memory.

The Evening Star train
The Evening Star Wembley Express was a huge success

"There were 17 consecutive front pages when we went to Wembley in 2000 with the Super Blues and that will always live in my memory," he said.

"We thought that we were so proud with the way that the Wembley journey had happened under George Burley that we'd take a train to Wembley.

"We chartered a train and we sold it out with 650 people within hours, so we had our own Ipswich Evening Star Wembley Express and we had to dress the train up in a rather unusual place, Norwich."

Future of print

In his position as editor and as vice president of the Society of Editors, Nigel is very much aware of how the future of the Evening Star will be a continually changing affair.

"The changes that we face these days are technological and we've got to keep up with the very latest kit and technology which we do, especially through our website.

"Our websites alone are potentially a danger to our print operations and there are many competing medias who don't have to do what we do, which is sell our product to pay our staff."

Nigel is excited about the 125th birthday celebrations and has been inspired to generate a new platform for exploring the paper's history.

The Evening Star archives
Nigel wants to make the Star's archive more accessible for readers

"What we've done over the years is collect our papers in bound copy volumes and we spent a lot of money getting the papers leather bound.

"We have a store within our headquarters where we keep these volumes and the process of looking up your history for your 125th anniversary makes you look into that.

"We need to bring it back to life so people can see it so I think the next project is a museum."

To mark the celebrations Mark Murphy will present his Breakfast Show live from the Evening Star offices on Wednesday, 17 February. Tune in between 6.30-9:30am to hear more about the paper's history.

Mark Murphy and Nigel Pickover
Mark presented the Breakfast show live from the Star's offices on anniversary day

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