Tuesday, 30 October 2018


George Pulman - Founder of Pulman's weekly News

George Pulman

- Remembering a rural publishing pioneer who was also a committed Christian.

Many West Country communities know the name George Pulman well. He is considered something of a Victorian media mogul who founded Pulman's Weekly News way back in 1857.

His media brands continued to be a prolific news source for over 150 years throughout the prime agricultural counties of Devon, Dorset and Somerset.

Pulman's news was always renowned for its reliability and trustworthiness. What was published by Pulman's journalists could be considered as being true.

What people may not know is that George Pulman was also a lifelong committed Christian who worshipped regularly at his local town church in Axminster, Devon.

To help rouse local attendance, George would enthusiastically play the church organ on a Sunday morning. There he went on to meet and marry his young wife, who was likewise drawn to become a regular member of the same Axminster congregation.

Throughout his life he believed in the importance of building community: through Church, rural life and local news. He always upheld values of truth and helped give voice to many West Country causes and concerns that might otherwise have been cast aside and forgotten.

Journalism was a task that required the utmost responsibility and was a profession treated with great respect.

So in today's era of fake news and political propaganda, perhaps it is time to remember the values of one of the news media's earliest pioneers.

A man of faith who built a regional media empire in the wake of the industrial revolution which lasted through multiple generations.

The 'Pulman's Award' and bursary continues to uphold the same values of George Pulman and is open for nominations throughout the year.

George Philip Rigney Pulman: 1819 - 1880

Friday, 26 October 2018

Publisher liable for money owed to journalists still plans to reopen weeklies

Report by David Sharman for HoldTheFrontPage

A publisher at the centre of a row over a series of local newspapers which ceased publication in January has reiterated his determination to reopen them over time.

Duncan Williams - Pulman's Weekly News
Duncan Williams, left, bought the View From titles, which cover areas of Dorset, Devon and Somerset, in January following their closure by previous owner, Sunday Independent publisher Peter Masters.

A court has since ruled Mr Williams is liable for money owed to a group of 28 former View From employees who were made redundant when the titles ceased publication.

But he has restated his intention to appeal the decision and says he is still working to get the eight View From titles as well as Axminster-based Pulman’s Weekly News reopened, although he accepts this will not happen in one go.

As part of the relaunch plan, he has set up a video news channel entitled View News which also aims to offer a PR service to local businesses, converting press releases into videos which would then be carried on the newspapers’ social media channels and websites.

The View From titles served towns and villages including Beaminster, Bridport, Dorchester, Lyme Regis, Weymouth, Seaton, Honiton and South Somerset, while Pulman’s Weekly News covered Axminster.

Said Duncan: “The titles will all be brought back incrementally. As they have been traditionally free, budgets need to be securely in place first off before relaunching the entire portfolio in one fell swoop.

“Revenues from video advertising and social media are designed to enable this.”

Duncan added: “Despite the recent controversy surrounding their acquisition, I remain very happy indeed with the Pulman’s Weekly News brand.

“Their founder George Pulman was an influential Christian publisher of the Victorian era whose vision I much admire and whose community values are certainly part of what makes local media so vital to regions.

“Likewise, I remain delighted with the View News series, which I know have suffered from sharply declining advertising revenues, repeat closures, rumpuses and relaunches. However, the technology upgrades I have personally invested in are hoping to remedy this.

“To be clear to all of my investors, banks and advertising agencies: I have no intention whatsoever of going bankrupt. The employment tribunal decision will be appealed.”

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Tribute paid to late actor

ENGLISH actor Dudley Sutton has died aged 85. 

From 'The Post Series' newspapers

Dudley went to school in Lifton as a boy and used to visit Launceston regularly. 

He did acting work on stage, in TV and for films for over 50 years, and had a second home in Cornwall for many of them. 

Dudley also did a huge amount of unpaid work helping people recover from drug and alcohol addiction.

Duncan Williams, originally from Yeolmbridge, in paying tribute to Dudley, said: “I was fortunate enough to work with Dudley way back in the 80s when he played a very heavy drinker in a one off script I wrote. I realised it required a lot of on-screen boozing and I asked Dudley what he wanted to drink during each take as he would likely be drunk as a sack by the time we finished this scene. He said to me, very assertively, ‘Only cold tea, old boy. I don’t touch alcohol. Nearly killed me in the 60s, I haven’t had a drop for years’.

Dudley Sutton, Duncan Williams, John Exshaw
Dudley Sutton, pictured centre, with his Launceston scriptwriters (Duncan Williams and John Exshaw) back in the 1980s.

“Dudley Sutton had been sober for decades when he finally passed away on September 15 and during that time he had helped countless others beat the demon drink and addiction problems. 

“I found this picture of Dudley back in the height of his Lovejoy series fame back in the 80s. I was fortunate enough to work with him as a screenwriter here. One of the most well read people I have met, and very political aware. A committed socialist to the end. Was a huge influence on my thinking back then. 

“God bless you, Dudley. You will be much missed.”