In an article a few days ago, I wrote about how Exeter Chiefs player Gareth Steenson had carved out a successful career despite being told at a young age he didn’t have what it takes.

Today, as we head into another uncertain week, I want to tell you another inspiring story about a chap called Jim Parker.

Jim is a legend in his home town of Torquay. He’s a brilliant journalist who spent an impressive 40-years of his 44-year career at his home-town newspaper, the Herald Express.

I was a journalist at the same time as Jim and although we didn’t work together, his local knowledge, little black book of contacts and way with words was the envy of many a hack.

But it wasn’t all plain sailing.

Like me, Jim watched the industry he loved crumble before his eyes, decimated by the Internet and changing habits.

By the time he achieved the lofty position of Editor, his newspaper had been reduced from a daily (Monday to Saturday) to a weekly.

He served out his time but eventually decided enough was enough and went freelance as a media consultant.

An interesting story, you might think, but nothing remarkable so far.

Well, what if I told you that, despite seeing the Herald Express suffer a near death by a thousand cuts and witnessing his industry implode, Jim has decided to launch his own newspaper.

When he announced the move a few months ago, I thought ‘there’s a brave chap’.

But then the Coronavirus crisis blew up and I suspected the Torbay Weekly was probably going to be the shortest-lived newspaper in the history of newspapers… until I saw this post from Jim on LinkedIn.

“Not exactly the best time to launch a new newspaper, but do you know what, Mr Coronavirus, we are still determined to have a go. God willing and fingers crossed. Thanks to those who have stuck with us. Totally understand those who have had to postpone and know you’ll be back.”

Whaaaat? He’s still going ahead with it?

If it takes a lot of courage and tenacity to steer a business through the choppy waters we currently find ourselves in, launching one requires nerves of steel and bags of confidence.

Please, if you are finding it hard going at the moment, spare a thought for Jim and his team.

Some of his advertisers have already pulled out, by the time he launches we could be in lockdown but he’s making the best of a bad job.

In short, he’s being resilient.

 So, here’s a plea… if you can, please find a way of supporting the Torbay Weekly.

 Take out an advert, no matter how large or small, and spread the word.

Let’s help Jim prove that, in business, anything is possible no matter what the circumstances.

For more information, go to Torbay Weekly Facebook page.

Marc Astley

CEO, Astley Media