“ Serving Surrey and surrounding areas. „
Since moving from a little village near East Grinstead to the town itself, I can honestly say one of the highlights has been the upgrade to a more substantial local paper! Our last freebie was more of a village newsletter, a few scraps of amateur type scrawl with little to report, and although endearing it was a little uninteresting. The East Grinstead Observer (now East Grinstead Courier&Observer) meanwhile, is much more like a 'proper', quality publication. Delivered free sometime between Wednesday and Saturday (depending on the delivery person), this newspaper can also be bought in the towns shops for 40p an issue. Focussing on local news, there are plenty of charming colloquial tales and titbits mixed in with the occasional hard-hitting exclusive. The newspaper is tabloid sized with an eye-catching bold title in red and blue. The inside front page always features a comment section with editorial followed by a question which is put to locals in a vox pop style, with their comments and pictures then printed. This weeks burning issue was based around summer holiday plans! The questions here can be lighthearted or serious, and are often based on current affairs with a local spin, relating to things like new developments in the town etc. The first quarter of the newspaper is dedicated to news and most of the articles are short and sweet. Thankfully not much happens in the way of serious crime around here, but that dosen't mean the stories are fluffy. Unfortunately there are still accidents and petty crimes to report as well as incidents of violence and animal cruelty. This content is balanced out by lots of fillers and news in brief pieces, which more often than not revolve around achievements in schools or at youth groups, as well as local events or attractions. There is an announcements section, followed by a pull-out property section, which is always interesting especially since this is stockbroker territory and there are often multi-million pound properties listed here for me to get green-eye over! Every issue has a jobs bit and this can be half a page or a few pages depending obviously on the job market at the time. I have been searching for a job for a while now so this is the part I often pore over first. Next is the classified area which typically has motors for sale as well as adverts from various tradespeople and businesses. Towards the back of the paper is the traditional sports section which again follows the triumphs and disappointments of local teams. I really don't think I have much going on in my life since I am admitting here that I love when this paper plops through my letterbox. I enjoy the mix of articles and like to keep up to date with whats happening in my area.
A few years ago I could think of nothing more boring than reading my local free paper as it dropped through my door on a Wednesday evening. These days I love seeing the young lad come down the drive (as does the dog!!) and deliver me my weekly dose of actually very interesting local news. It's a bit like watching your local news on the TV. It feels a little bit more personal than the national stuff and even better if you actually know the areas they are talking about. I feel the same way about my local paper and the East Grinstead Observer is a particularly well laid out local paper. The first third of it is always dedicated to local news and somehow they always seem to have good stories to report. For a smallish community there is a whole lot of news to be told. Thankfully it does not tell too often of serious crime or losses but more usually it will be to do with petty crimes in the area and a lot of reports lately on the fact that the council want to build 2300 new homes in the area and obviously there are a lot of people who like to be vocal about this. The news is always very well reported too and I have not read any insensitive or stupid reporting that tries to sensationalise anything. Unfortunately we do seem to have a lot of animal related news though, such as horses being neglected and cats being hurt, but I would imagine this sort of news is common in any small town's paper. The next section of the local is for the advertisers and it covers all the local cinema listings, restaurant offers, garden plant nurseries and things of that ilk. I really enjoy reading these bits too as quite often I will read about an event that I was unaware of, for instance Lee "Memphis" King ( an Elvis impersonator from TV) is coming to a theatre near me to do an Elvis evening, so we have booked through the information given in the paper. You also get a really good selection of local jobs in this paper. I always look through these closely as there could be something where I could offer my secretarial skills at home and so it can potentially be a great source of new income for me. The back of the paper covers cars and sports and this is a section I always skip. No offence to anyone but it's not something I am interested in at all but my son usually has a read to see how the town's football team is doing as he plays for the under 15's. Overall, I really enjoy sitting down with a cup of tea and reading through the East Grinstead Observer. It has a property section in the middle which can be taken out and read separately, but since we have recently moved I stick that bit straight in the recycling. I find it an excellent paper that relates to me on a personal basis and I find it thoroughly enjoyable. It is an exceptional source of information for local events, news and businesses and I have used their advertising section countless times to sell some of my old stuff that is too big to put on eBay. It is free to advertise if your item is under a hundred pounds and it has certainly been successful for me. My children have been in the paper too, once when it covered a fun day in the town and my son was photographed enjoying himself with the street clown, and then my daughter's pre-school had some photos taken at Christmas and she was in the paper then. Obviously these pages have been cut out and kept but I find myself regularly cutting out little sections and pinning them to the board. Events, things to do, vouchers, businesses - anything I think could be useful comes out. The only thing that annoys me is the mountains of leaflets that seem to get stuffed inside. I know these probably pay for the up keep of the paper but even so......... If you live in East Grinstead - don't just recycle the Observer straight away. Have a read first - you might be pleasantly surprised.