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Suffolk Norfolk Life celebrates 400th issue

January 2023 sees the 400th issue of Suffolk Norfolk Life, the region’s oldest county magazine.

Suffolk Norfolk Life celebrates 400th issue
Kevin Davis: “Suffolk Norfolk Life does exactly what it says on the tin.”

Suffolk Norfolk Life is published by Today Magazines Ltd, an independent publishing company. Kevin and Brenda Davis started the company in 1989 and their son Gregory has been MD since 2007.

The January issue included a spread looking back over the years. The magazine started as a free with door-to-door distribution and was one of the first in the country.

In 1990, the publishers decided to make it a paid-for title, as at the time, there were not any county magazines in Suffolk or Norfolk.

Kevin’s background was free newspapers in London and Hertfordshire, notably The Enfield Independent, which he launched with others in the series, and later the Classified group in Hertfordshire. He was MD at these companies and took the decision to go into business for himself in 1988, when the idea of free magazines was very new.

He says: “Suffolk Norfolk Life does exactly what it says on the tin, ie. all content is about the two counties, this makes it a unique publication.”

Other titles published by Today Magazines include Fancy Fowl a specialist magazine for show poultry and waterfowl, now in its 42nd year of publication and nine monthly magazines for Federations of Womens’ Institutes in Suffolk, Norfolk, Essex, Surrey, Hampshire, Huntingdon & Peterborough, West Sussex, Wiltshire and Cornwall.

Below is the editorial Kevin wrote for the January 2023 issue:

400 NOT OUT!

Incredible as it seems this is the 400th issue of Suffolk Norfolk Life, where has the time gone?

It was 34 years ago when Brenda and I published our first magazine. From those first issues SNL has grown to 116 pages in full colour and is the oldest county magazine in the two counties.

Feedback tells us you like the magazine because it does what it says on the tin, i.e. it is all about life in Suffolk and Norfolk. We pride ourselves on filling our pages with interesting and varied articles.

We are also proud that we are one of the few independent publishers in the region with no links to other larger organisations. As a family business we now have our son Gregory (he joined us in 1997) and who since 2007, has been at the helm running the company on a day-to-day basis. Brenda and I are still involved and I have the role of editor which I thoroughly enjoy.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the freelance contributors who submit their articles to us, many have been writing for us since the beginning. Every day new writers are contacting us and this means that we have a constant source of interesting material to use.

Advertising is important too. The revenue from this means that we can keep the cover price of the magazine down and it also provides very useful information to our readers. Charlie Roadley-Battin is doing a great job on this front and we are all very grateful for the support and loyalty our advertisers show us.

Production of the magazine is taken care of our Studio Manager Ben Scotchmer who has been with us over 10 years and has helped the development of SNL. Ben is the person responsible for all the excellent layouts of the editorials and advertisements.

Today Suffolk Norfolk Life can be viewed on-line and in fact we were one of the first magazines in the country to offer this service. It is also available at newsagents, supermarkets and other outlets, is in the bedrooms and lobbies of many of the region’s leading hotels and of course can be ordered by post on subscription. Wendy Scotchmer handles all the administration as she has done for over 32 years and ensures a smooth working office environment.

We also have a large and growing following on Twitter @suffolknorfolk and try to update Facebook regularly. Our website is bustling with even more information and we are fully aware of just how important these online elements are nowadays. Saying that, we feel the printed form is still here for a long time to come yet.

So what for the future? Perhaps a few more pages but we will stick to the formula that has made the magazine a success and attracted a loyal readership.

We are also proud to publish magazines on behalf of nine Federation of Womens’ Institutes from Cornwall to Norfolk and many counties in between, plus Suffolk Coast & Heaths and Dedham Vale newspapers. We also publish a specialist magazine called Fancy Fowl for the showing and keeping of poultry, ducks and turkeys, and this is now in its 42nd year of production.

We have been extremely fortunate over the years to have a wonderful team of staff in advertising sales and production that cover all our other publications (see our website), that we produce under the banner of Today Magazines Limited. Our current team is Lorraine Turner, Lucy Whitfield, Anna Davis, Fiona Edwards, Lisa Hamon and Adam Bealing (Production).

Time passes too quickly and I hope I will be around for the 500th issue but in the meantime enjoy Suffolk Norfolk Life, Today’s County Magazine.

Kevin Davis

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