THE team behind The Northern Echo has revived a weekly sister newspaper - the Despatch - which has not been published for 31 years.

On Wednesday morning, copies of the new Despatch will hit the streets of Darlington and towns across south west Durham, including Bishop Auckland, Spennymoor, Newton Aycliffe, and Willington.

For those of a certain age, the Despatch will be familiar - as the title served the same towns on a daily basis up to April 1986, when free newspapers were introduced.

Since then there has been a revolution in the free newspaper market. 
Editor Andy Richardson said: "In their heyday free papers were the go-to place for advertisers looking to connect with a local audience. But the days when a copy of the Advertiser was posted through every letterbox in the area has become a thing of the past - the numbers simply do not add up. 

"Businesses wishing to promote their goods and services to local people are turning to a wide range of media, with digital and online platforms increasingly important, and newspapers are only part of the mix.

"Readers and advertisers tell us that they still value good quality newspapers and that is why we have launched the new Despatch. 

"It is a bright, modern-looking newspaper packed with news, views, and pictures. It will be very community-focussed, so this will be chance to feature local events, from fundraisers to fun-runs, as well as give local people a platform to share their views, and showcase success stories from schools, businesses and sports clubs in the area."

Every Wednesday, the part-paid part-free weekly will be delivered to about 10,000 homes. Despatch also be available from retailers for 30p and free copies will be available in specially-targeted locations. 

"It is rare nowadays for newspaper publishers to launch new print editions so we are delighted that we are doing that in Darlington and Wear Valley," added Mr Richardson. 

If you would like more information regarding advertising in the Despatch please give us a call on 01325 505226.

To contact the editor call 01325 505097 or email