TWENTY-ONE years ago this week, a small but dedicated group of people started a revolution here in Bendigo that continues to serve the people of this great city.

The very first Bendigo Weekly, known then as Bendigo Homes and Property, rolled off the presses in the early hours of Friday, July 4, 1997.

This was the culmination of many months planning, backed by the investment by the local real estate fraternity and an equally passionate Daryl McClure OAM and the small team assembled to work on the paper.

The advent of the Weekly saw agents stake a greater claim and say in how their advertising was spent, and proved to be a disruptor to the traditional media industry.

The paper has always been a parochial servant of this city and region, and its strong community roots have flourished since those early days.

Its role in the rapidly shifting media landscape has never been more important, as a source of community news, opinions and stories about local people, by local people and for local people.

There are very few media products that can lay claim to being 100 per cent local, but the Weekly has always been this way.

In the modern era where the internet has staked its claim upon media, and all of us have been subjected to the good and bad that comes with this, papers like the Bendigo Weekly have never been more vital.

This week, we say thanks and farewell to the one and only Ian Glanville OAM, the cartoonist who has been part of this paper for almost two decades, and of the Bendigo media industry for more than 50 years.

Every week throughout his time with the Weekly, Ian used to bring a sketch of an idea into the newsroom of a Monday or Tuesday morning where it was duly considered before he took that sketch back home, only to return a couple of days later with yet another masterpiece.

I’ve been lucky enough to be the subject of two Glanville cartoons throughout my career, and signed versions of both take pride of place in my office.

Those of us who are fortunate to work on the paper each week, and with people like Ian, should feel especially proud that the passion and dedication we have for what we do is shared by so many of our readers.

We love it when people talk about “their” Weekly, about “my” paper and that they place such a high value on something that has always been free for the overwhelming majority of our readers.

That’s a loyalty and a love for something that’s been earned.

I hope readers forgive us for these 460 words or so of indulgence, but it means a lot to our paper to mean so much to you.