The first edition of the Evington Echo was published in June 1981 and this edition remarkably set the organisation and tone for all future editions. Things have changed with new technologies, but what hasn’t changed is that it is run voluntarily by the people of Evington for the people of Evington. 1981 June Angela Stevenson (nee Plowman) was a founding member and wrote the first page of the first edition. She sent in the following letter:
Just out of curiosity, I typed the words “Evington Echo” into Google this evening and have spent the past half hour wallowing in nostalgia. I’ve just read through some of Mike Stevens comments about all the old issues that I still remember well and in fact, the article ” A New Arrival” in the very first issue was written by me – Angela Plowman, as I was then.
I’m not sure if anyone was able to relate how the Echo began all those years ago but perhaps you might like to hear the background. It all started with a very innocuous leaflet which was pushed through the letterbox of many Evington homes. Anne Sharpe (the then Evington librarian) and Robert Raven (from the Adult Education service) were inviting anyone who was interested in setting up a community newspaper for Evington to come to a meeting at Judgemeadow Community College. I went along, just out of curiosity, and met up with Betty Best (who I already knew from St Denys Church) and just 3 other people – neither Robert nor Anne were able to attend! None of us had a clue what was involved and were all for giving up and going home. Betty, however, thought we should give it a go and try putting something together – although we made no decision about when it would be.
Our “paste up” sessions took place on Saturdays when a team came together at Wycliffe URC to stick all the little pieces of paper with typed up copy onto the sheets. As I had a faithful old IBM golfball typewriter at home, I did most of the typing but before paste up, Betty and I would get together, in my home or hers, and work out what would go on each page. She loved to fill every little space!
In October ’81, I found out I was pregnant and was quite mystified when several people took it for granted that I would leave the Echo team. The following May, we pasted up on the 8th, I went into labour on the 9th and my son arrived in the early hours of the 10th. By the June issue, I was back at Wycliffe with the baby in his pram. It wasn’t until he reached the toddler stage that I found it difficult to cope with the editorial responsibilities – trying to have a serious telephone conversation with a fractious two year old beside you or laying out dozens of pieces of paper on is a bit distracting!
In February ’84 Betty took over as sole Editor and I seem to remember we had enough money in the kitty to buy a little electric typewriter which she andthe team used from then on. I continued to help out at paste up for a couple of years and remained a distributor right up until we left Leicester in January 2002. (And in answer to Mike Stevens question on the website “I wonder where Joel Edward Plowman is now” – he’s a pensions adviser living in Brighton!)
Since my involvement with the Echo, I’ve edited two other newsletters; one for the charity I worked for in Leicester and the other in my present job where I produce the monthly Norwich Cathedral News.
Technological advances in the past 26 years have been immense but I remember very fondly those days of shuffling bits of paper around until they fitted the available space.
All the very best to you and everyone who helps with the Echo.