Latest Stories

Veteran's Dutch Medal of Honour
National Recognition for School Paper
Big Issue features day in the life of GP
Blog 8 - Operation over!
Veteran's Dutch Medal of Honour

Despatch Rider Lewis Banham spent the Second World War in Europe bravely delivering messages to troops on the front line.

Now, more than 70 years later, he has been rewarded with the Dutch Liberation Medal for helping to free the Netherlands.

The 94-year-old was also reunited with the same model of bike that he rode during the war and was his constant companion. The experience brought back memories to Lewis who was only too happy to tell his tale, and I was privileged to be able to write about it.

He is a member of Haslingden-based Veterans In Communities where he enjoys the art group and going on social inclusion trips.

Here's my story on the Rossendale Free Press and the Lancashire Telegraph sites.

Photographs by William Ogden.


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National Recognition for School Paper

A state school newspaper produced in just one week was highly commended in the national Shine School Media Awards.

Fearns Chat has been produced by since 2009, at first as an insert in the Rossendale Free Press when I was still news editor. After redundancy, it has been produced every year at the school and entered for the prestigious awards.

Three pupils from Fearns, along with the head and I, attended a glitzy ceremony in London at the beautiful historical Stationers' Hall where the trio picked up a Highly Commended certificate in the Best Community Initiative category.

The trip was amazing and the pupils were honoured to be representing their school. Of the 170 schools that submitted publications to the awards, only 30 were selected as finalists. Fearns was the only state school in those 30, the remaining schools were fee-paying, grammar schools or independent academies.


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Big Issue features day in the life of GP

After spending a day with a GP Practice in Haslingden, my feature was used by the Big Issue North over three pages with four photographs.

I was very lucky to be invited to join the practice by my good friend Dr Abdul Mannan and the patients were most gracious in allowing me to sit in on their consultations.

The day was a fascinating one, not least because I now know just how many other things the doctor is doing in between appointments. They do not get a moment to themselves.

The response to the article has been just as incredible with people sharing their experience of the good doctor too. To read the article click here.


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Blog 8 - Operation over!

So that's it - all done. The butterfly shaped gland that caused me so much trouble has now been incinerated and I doubt I will ever know why I joined this merry-go-round.

My thyroid has, I am guessing, been incinerated and with its removal from my body I have switched from hyperthyroid to hypothyroid. An over active glad gone and so I can be nothing else but underactive because nothing is controlling my endocrine system - well no part of me.

But there is this little white pill that has to be taken every day at around the same time for the rest of my life. This photo was taken three weeks after the operation

To read the latest blog on my thyroid journey click the icon or read below.

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image Veteran's Dutch Medal of Honour
image National Recognition for School Paper
image Big Issue features day in the life of GP
image Blog 8 - Operation over!

Welcome to Catherine Smyth Media

To put it simply - I tell your story

Catherine Smyth Media is a one-stop shop for Press and PR with an added specialism - creating school newspapers

WINNER of Rossendale Business Awards Sole Trader 2016

Need to promote your organisation and get the message across?

I write news stories and take photographs for businesses, organisations and individuals with proven results. I have had contracts with two Rossendale high schools since 2009, gained a third in 2015, worked for local charity REAL for more than three years and since 2012 have worked for Rossendale-based charity Veterans In Communities. I am on contract with JJO kitchen, bedroom and bathroom manufacturerer in Bacup and I also work for a number of businesses as and when they require. I produce newsletters as well as news stories for the written press, online media, TV and radio.

Want to promote your school?

Why not let me run a Paper In A Day project at your school?

You can choose either a Paper in a Week project with the end product of a 16-page full colour newspaper written by the school€™s own pupils promoting literacy and inclusion.brochurewebAlternatively you can select the Paper in a Day project which produces a 4-page paper and links in with the national curriculum journalistic writing taught in Year 6.

Check out the School News section to see examples of a paper in a day projects. Click here to read testimonials from teachers and pupils.

I also offer an after-school club newspaper service to produce a termly or half-termly paper written by primary school pupils.

I produce brochures and school prospectuses, which can be printed in school saving on costs or externally, if preferred.

To see an example click on the above photograph.

Got a story to tell?

I work as a freelance journalist and photographer. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

About me


I have been a journalist since 1988 working on local evening and weekly papers. My last role was as news editor so I have organisational, subbing and page laying experience.

I was a school governor for 10 years, firstly at nursery and then at my sons'€™ primary school. While a governor, I developed a successful school newspaper at my sons' school and now share that experience with other schools through a one-week, one-day or termly or half-termly enrichment programmes.

Check out my School News page for more details and testimonials for feedback.

I have also written a book on the murder of Sophie Lancaster - Weirdo Mosher Freak, which can be bought direct from me. Just follow the link to ebay. To find out more click on my Sophie Lancaster Book page. The book has now been rebranded The Sophie Lancaster Story and is available on Amazon. Picture Liz Henson Photography.

In a voluntary capacity, I am a Cub leader and chairman of the local carnival committee.