WHEN a local family toiled to establishing a quality newspaper almost 15 years ago they could hardly have imagined opening the 750th edition.

Yet this is what Viv and Mike Stoddart, of Milford Haven will be doing this week.

As editor and news editor respectively, the couple laboured with daughters Tessa, as advertising manager, and Helen, as chief sub-editor, to publish the stories they felt mattered to the community.

Claire Beavan on reception was also an integral part of the team.

The Mercury's small but faithful following eventually grew into the widely read and respected publication you are currently holding.

Over the years it has broken big stories and kept up its dedicated coverage of local issues.

The paper's first editor Viv said: "When the Mercury launched fifteen years ago, the public didn't rate our chances of success very highly.

"But thepaper'sfeisty independence struck a chord with readers and thanks to their support and that ofadvertisers andcontributors, together with the efforts of thetalented and highly motivated staff,the Merc is now deservedly celebratingits 750th edition.

"The Merc's ethos ofinvestigative journalism on behalf of the communitywas, and still is,the key to its success - long may the tradation continue."

Current news editor Simon Carr said: "People throughout the county feel very passionate about the Merc and respect its irreverant style and investigative nature.

"I like to think I am sticking to the principles that have made the paper a fixture on so many coffee tables."

The paper will be celebrating its 15th birthday in October.