THE Leader is 50 years old – and we are still keeping readers up to date with all the local, national and international news.

It’s hard to believe but half a century has passed since the first edition of the daily Leader newspaper was printed – and we have been at the heart of all the communities that make up the region from that day to this.

We have all changed as the years have rolled by and these days technology enables us to bring you the news almost immediately.

The Leader was launched as an evening newspaper on October 29, 1973 just as booming Britain hit the skids with a stop-go economy which led to an era of strikes, the introduction of a three-day week, power cuts and bankruptcies.

It was a harsh climate for all businesses and one in which the big stories – perhaps the only one that really mattered – were about jobs coming or going.

Our first front page speculated on the less than merry prospect of petrol rationing by Christmas.

Thousands of jobs disappeared in a vast upheaval as the region lost the heavy industries of coal and steel, and diversified into the less vulnerable pattern of hi-tech employment we see today.

The whole North Wales coalfield was a casualty, along with Brymbo and Shotton Steel Works, and times were tough.

Together we have had to adapt and it is this shared experience, this mutual history, which binds a newspaper to its readers.

Through good and bad we’ve shared cheers and tears with our readers. Sometimes the news has been shocking – sometimes jubilant. There have been heartbreaking tales and stories of great hope and endurance. We’ve supported campaigns for health centres, community hospitals, the search for organ donors, treatment abroad for children and joined the fight for the future of village post offices and rural bus services.

The Leader: The Leader, November 2020The Leader, November 2020

The Leader was at the forefront of the battle over the closure of Shotton Steelworks, and there to applaud the development of the new industrial estates in Flintshire and Wrexham.

The Leader worked closely with North Wales Police to clamp down on drug dealers in the 1990s, and helped to restore community pride after the 2003 riots in Wrexham’s Caia Park.

Of course we were there when Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds bought Wrexham AFC football club and when they gained promotion to the football league after 15 years.

Today, as a morning paper, we can bring even more immediate news to our readers and continue to cover the issues that affect them most.