Latest Stories

Veteran's Dutch Medal of Honour
School Papers Take Off
Raising Awareness of CRPS - Jack's story
National Recognition for School Paper
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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School Papers Take Off

When I first started Catherine Smyth Media in 2009, my USP was creating newspapers in schools.

Since then I have developed the programme to produce papers in a day, over a week, to cover a term or half term. Now I have gone back to the future - by that I mean that my school newspapers started at Northern Primary School where I produced 17 editions of Northern News and from January I was back in school producing issue18.

Northern News set the template for my USP and led to the development of my Paper in a Day programme.

But not just at Northern, I have also started working with a group of 10 pupils at Britannia Primary School to produce their termly paper Britannia Buzz.

In December I helped students from Coal Clough Academy to write their first edition of Coal Clough News, the head was so impressed he commissioned me to produce a paper every half-term. And in June I will again be producing Fearns Chat.

So it seems school newspapers are bucking the trend of the local, regional and national press.

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Raising Awareness of CRPS - Jack's story

CRPS - Complex Regional Pain Syndrome is an often misunderstood condition leaving the patient in excrutiating pain with symptoms no one can see.

Having interviewed Jack and his younger brother Jayden in the past about their dancing, I had already formed a bond with their mum Vicky Leigh.

When she wanted Jack's story to be told, she asked me for help. As CRPS is a hidden condition with no obvious signs for the outside observer, often other children and adults do not understand. My remit was to get Jack's story told, and who better to tell it than Jack himself.

I interviewed him at home with his parents and he explained clearly what he feels, the pain no one can see and how it has affected his young life.

My story made a full page in the Lancashire Telegraph and Rossendale Free Press and was also used by Burning Nights as a case study biog - the national charity for people with CRPS and their families.

Vicky's testimonial is also printed here.


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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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image Veteran's Dutch Medal of Honour
image School Papers Take Off
image Raising Awareness of CRPS - Jack's story
image National Recognition for School Paper

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

HIGHLY COMMENDED in Rossendale Business Awards 2017 - sole trader

HIGHLY COMMENDED for Fearns Chat in National Shine Media Awards 2017 - community initiative

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.brochureweb Alternatively 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? Give me a bell.

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.

As a school governor for 10 years, firstly at nursery and then primary school. While a governor, I developed a successful school newspaper programme and I now share that experience with other schools through my Paper in a Day, week, termly or half-termly enrichment programme.

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, chairman of the local carnival committee and member of Weir Pride.