Your Free Press this week is again smaller than usual as the coronavirus crisis has an increasing impact on our business.

Like all local weekly newspapers, we rely heavily on income from advertising to meet the bulk of our production costs. Our cover price helps a little, but after our distributors and newsagents have taken their share, there isn’t much left towards our printing costs, staff wages etc.

It goes without saying that most of our regular advertisers are currently unable to continue advertising with us – they are in the same boat as us, struggling to meet their running costs and in many cases not even trading.

We thank them sincerely for their past support, wish them well during this crisis, and hope to welcome them back when the situation eventually improves.

In the meantime, we hope our readers will understand our current predicament and remain with us until better times.

Today’s issue has lots of information and advice relating to the coronavirus crisis which we hope you will find helpful, as well as other local news. And for the numerous readers who told us they missed not seeing our puzzles page in last week’s edition, we have brought it back today to help people fill some of the extra time they have to spare!

As both of our offices are now closed, the best way to contact us is by email. If you have a story for us, email [email protected]. For advertising and other matters, email [email protected] or ring 01984 632731. 

On a personal note, today marks the arrival of my long-planned retirement, making this my last Free Press after more than 30 years as editor. Never did I imagine I would be leaving with West Somerset and the country as a whole in such a sad and desperate state. My thanks to all of you who have helped and supported me over the years.

Keep safe and look after you families and others ..... Gareth Purcell