Dear Reading Chronicle reader,

I write to you today to say goodbye, with this week’s publication my final one in the editor’s chair after three and a half years in charge of this great newspaper.

The Reading Chronicle remains the go-to place for news and views in this brilliant, vibrant community and I’m delighted to have played a part in the newspaper’s special history – as I leave with audience levels at a record high.

It has been a rollercoaster ride reporting on the town, with as many ups as there has been downs.

I was appointed to the role of Group Editor for Newsquest Bucks and Berks in the summer of 2018 and haven’t looked back.

From meeting amazing people in the town, to covering life-changing events and starting award-winning campaigns, it’s been a whirlwind but as I look back, we – you, the Chronicle team and I – have so much to be proud of.

The writing was on the wall from day two, as I found myself locked in the office as the town was put on lockdown during a bomb scare at The Oracle – thankfully which was later determined to be a false alarm.

From then on, the headlines, investigations and campaigns have been non-stop, and I will cherish memories of our bids to raise money for terminally ill Charlie Ilsley, backing for Harper’s Law and the bid to Save Reading Gaol (which we are still so hopeful for).

We’ve also supported countless charities over the years and done a lot in the community – from local awards and after-dinner speeches to donating a defibrillator to Broad Street Mall.

The events of June 20, 2020 were defining sadly for the wrong reasons too. The Forbury Gardens terror attack touched all our lives, but I remain proud of the way our team sensitively told the victims’ stories in horrific circumstances.

Being the place people turn to when they needed trusted information is what we do best and long may it continue.

And as I write to you today, with the Reading Chronicle in a strong position in print and online as one of the UK’s best performing weekly regional media outlets, I ask that you continue to show your support.

Behind the scenes in every newsroom is a team of dedicated, hard-working journalists doing everything they can – at any hour of the day – to bring you the news that matters and stand up for our residents.

In my opening editorial, back in 2018, I promised the team would be the town’s biggest cheerleaders in times of joy and a shoulder to cry on when you needed support at the most. We have done just that.

Our articles have the power to make a huge difference to people’s lives, so please continue to show loyal support – picking up a weekly newspaper and reading online can make all the different and will help ensure we’re here for many years to come.

Throughout the pandemic and all the events of the past three years, we’ve been by your side every step of the way and with a new editor at the helm the future is looking bright.

I will continue to follow news from Reading as a reader, moving within the company to take the reins at our sister titles in Oxford. But for now, I hand over to Katie French, previously the editor of the Basingstoke Gazette, who will take on the fight on behalf of you all.

Look out for next week’s paper to find out more about Katie and how you can get in touch.

For now, farewell.

Andrew Colley

Group Editor