Champion Media Group, which claims to be the largest independent publisher in the North West, is to celebrate its 20th anniversary on Friday.

Two decades after being borne out of the sudden sale of The Southport Globe to a rival publisher, the group now has seven titles covering Sefton, Merseyside and West Lancashire with a combined circulation of over 166,000 copies.

It says it has “bucked the trend” of other newspaper groups by enjoying “steady circulation growth”. While other local titles have closed or cut employees, staff numbers at Champion’s head office in Southport have grown to 50, with a further 740 regularly employed as distributors. 

The group also publishes Linedancer Magazine, a monthly magazine dedicated to line dancing.

Managing director Betty Drummond said: “The launch of the Champion and its early history is a well documented story of David and Goliath. Just a handful of redundant newspaper staff with no money and no premises daring to take on their mighty and very successful rivals and succeeding.”

Directors and staff will mark the anniversary at the Ramada Hotel in Southport on Friday night.