THE Westmorland Gazette is all set to celebrate a momentous milestone - its 200th anniversary - in 2018.

The newspaper, which is based in Kendal, was first published on May 23, 1818, when George 111 was King and the Earl of Liverpool was Prime Minister.

A series of events and special publications are planned to mark the 200th anniversary.

They include:

• An exhibition - ‘From Wordsworth to the Web: 200 years of The Westmorland Gazette’ - at the Museum of Lakeland Life and Industry at Kendal from April 2018

• A commemorative supplement in May focusing on the history of The Westmorland Gazette; how the newspaper has covered major national and local stories over the years; famous Westmorland characters; and some of the most eye-catching photographs used over the years

• The launch of a special 200th anniversary beer – Wezzy Gezzy – created by Hawkshead Brewery and to be on sale in local pubs from April 2018. The name of the new beer was chosen by readers in an online poll

• A picture from The Westmorland Gazette archives posted on its website every single day during 2018

The Westmorland Gazette covers a huge geographical patch, which includes the whole of South Lakeland, as well as Furness, parts of the Eden Valley, north Lancashire and North Yorkshire.

William Wordsworth played a major part in its founding in 1818 during a political row in a notoriously contentious general election. The Grasmere poet also wrote many letters to the newspaper over the years commenting on local issues. One of its first editors was the poet Thomas de Quincey.

Over the years the newspaper has lobbied and campaigned on a wide range of local issues, as well as raising thousands of pounds for local charities and good causes.

Current Westmorland Gazette Editor Andrew Thomas said: “2018 promises to be a momentous and memorable year for The Westmorland Gazette.

"We have a range of special publications and events planned, both in-paper and online, to celebrate the newspaper’s important role in the local community over the past two centuries.

"We have huge regard for our loyal readers and advertisers and we hope they all share with us in celebrating this very special year in the history of their local newspaper!