Ever since Olympics boxing hero Amir Khan stepped into the ring at the age of 11, his local paper, the Bolton Evening News, has charted his rise.
And the paper went all out when covering his momentous performance during the Olympics.
Deputy sports editor Dave Magilton, news reporter Leroy Holcroft and several of the paper’s photographers have built up strong ties with Khan’s family, some even watched Khan’s matches from the family home.
The 17-year-old’s participation in the Olympics made the front page nearly every day for a week and filled four pages on the Saturday – when sales rose by 5.6 per cent – before he narrowly missed out on a gold medal.
Deputy editor Ian Savage co-ordinated an eight-page souvenir pull-out, including interviews and pictures, charting the young boxer’s life and his rise to the top.
The coverage has helped add to the paper’s ongoing success with its recently published ABC figure – up 0.13 per cent, in a sector predominantly in decline.
Editor Steve Hughes said: “I am really proud of the way our staff have responded to this story. Khan has taken up a lot of newsprint and it was really our great contacts with the family that made the stories.
“We were there from the start and the nationals latched onto it after realising this 17-year-old was a media dream.
“There has been a huge response from our readers and Amir’s success has given the whole town a real buzz.
This story will run for a long time yet.”
As well as celebrating Khan’s achievements, another strong line the paper took was how this would help race relations in the town.
Staff joined in the celebrations as hundreds of friends and supporters threw an impromptu party in the street outside his home.