A NEW page was turned in the 124-year history of the Keswick Reminder newspaper this week when it was bought by Cumbrian engineer Andy Barr — the owner of the Cumberland and Westmorland Herald.
The Reminder has been owned and run by four generations of the same family under the name G W McKane & Son, with brother and sister David Branthwaite, senior partner, and editor Jane Grave currently at the helm.
Speaking after agreeing the sale with Mr Barr this week, in a joint statement Jane and David said: “We are excited to be part of a new era for the Keswick Reminder, which will see our beloved and unique newspaper continue to provide an advertising facility and an honest and reliable community news service to our loyal advertisers and readers in the Keswick and North Lakes area.
“We are looking forward to working alongside Andy who has great vision for the future of independent local newspapers like the Reminder and the Herald, which share similar histories, values and standards.”
The Herald and its new stablemate the Reminder are Cumbria’s last remaining independent newspaper titles.
Mr Barr said on Thursday: “The acquisition of the Reminder will enable us to gain more readers and cement the future of the Herald and the Reminder in these uncertain times. It has been a strategic purchase for us.”
Mr Barr was a newcomer to the newspaper industry when he stepped in and bought the Herald out of administration in February. The move — which he said was driven by a “desire to protect the heritage of the place in which he grew up” — kept the paper independent and in local ownership.
A love of Cumbria, and a desire to acquire local newspaper titles, was behind the move to purchase the Reminder, which had become online-only since the coronavirus lockdown measures were imposed.
“The history and continuity of the Keswick Reminder was paramount in my reasons for buying the paper.
“I believe the Herald and the Reminder are highly compatible and share a similar ethos, history and outlook,” said Mr Barr.
“Having recently acquired the Herald, I have fought hard to publish throughout the coronavirus lockdown, and it is my intention to return the Reminder to print, with the first edition out next Friday.
“My vision is for uber-local papers, publishing uber-local news for the county.”
Mr Barr is the founder and managing director of Barrnon, a engineering business which specialises in the nuclear decommissioning sector.