50 years ago today, (the first edition was November 8, 1973 to be precise) the St Helens Star was born.

As we celebrate this milestone, familiar faces and people we have worked with from across the borough have sent in their Happy Birthday messages to share with readers.

Here we take a look at the Star’s birthday messages.

St Helens Star: Becky and Glenn Youens on their wedding day with their daughter Violet-Grace and son Oliver.

Glenn and Becky Youens on behalf of Violet-Grace’s Gift and The Youens Family:

“What happened to our family when Violet was killed was terrible. But from day one, the community supported us and a big part of the community is the St Helens Star. 

“We have a great relationship with the reporters and editor and they truly care for us as a family and are part of the community themselves.

“From covering everything - from the start to the court case - and then supporting us and researching the best ways and people to talk to, to help us make Violet-Grace’s Law happen they’ve always been there, even coming to Parliament to support us when Violet-Grace’s Law was debated.

“When people think of a local newspaper you know it’s important to a town, but when you have something happen to you like we have, you realise it’s more than that really.

St Helens Star: Violet-Grace Youens.

“The reporters get in touch with us just to see how we are, let us know of anything relevant to Violet’s Law and report on anything we do to help us get the word out there.

“The paper is run by people who care about that community and the people in it and have helped us so much throughout the years.

“They cover really hard things at times, and they consistently do it again and again to let people know what is happening, let people like us get the right message out there in the right way and not let things get misconstrued like it can do on social media.

“50 years is a huge achievement for any business. Surviving the pandemic alone as a business is a big thing.

“I’m honestly so grateful to the local media, especially the St Helens Star, who have supported us from day one and it’s a great thing to praise them for all they have done for Violet-Grace’s Gift, for my family and the town of St Helens.”

St Helens Star: Paul WellensPaul Wellens (Image: NQ)

Paul Wellens, coach of Saints

“The club has a strong relationship with our local paper, with both being so heavily involved in what goes on in our town, and like many people in St Helens they are huge supporters of their rugby team – that’s been the case for many years. 

“My earliest memories of the Star were when Denis Whittle was reporting on a lot of Saints games, and now Mike Critchley must be part of the furniture of the Star

“I know Mike on a personal level and he’s a hugely passionate rugby league fan, passionate about the Saints, and that’s evident whenever you speak with him. 

“The paper itself we know is a supporter of the club, but the people working within the organisation are too.

“On behalf of the team, plus the club as a whole, we would like to wish St Helens Star a very Happy 50th Birthday. It is a huge milestone for our local paper and it’s a newspaper we have been proud to be involved with.”

St Helens Star:

Conor McGinn - MP for St Helens North.

“Over the last 50 years, the St Helens Star has been at the heart of the town and community. 
“Since 1973, it has recorded the highs and lows, the big and small, the happy and sad and has been a constant presence during five decades of change. 

“The paper has been at the forefront of campaigning on issues, promoting good causes, challenging those in power and being a voice for local people. 

“It is much more than a newspaper and we are lucky to have it. 

“Congratulations to the St Helens Star and everyone associated with the paper, past and present, on reaching this fantastic milestone.”

St Helens Star: Marie Rimmer MP

Marie Rimmer MP for St Helens South and Whiston

“As an avid Star reader for the past 50 years, I am so proud of our local paper making this anniversary. 

“The Star helps to tell local stories and hold politicians to account. Only recently, the paper was influential in finally securing Violet-Grace’s Law. 

“The Star stands up for the people of St Helens locally and on the national stage. Long may it continue.”

St Helens Star: The Daniel Fox Foundation, Dawn Jones pictured second from left The Daniel Fox Foundation, Dawn Jones pictured second from left (Image: NQ)

Dawn Jones, representative from The Daniel Fox Foundation

“The St Helens Star helps people stay connected in local communities providing an invaluable source of information. 

“Through regular coverage of local events, news, sport highlights and opinion pieces, readers can get a sense of their community and feel more connected.

“On a personal level the St Helens Star helped family members when we lost Daniel Fox in such a brutal way in 2016. 

“The St Helens Star covered the story in a professional and compassionate way from the day it happened to the trial and then on several occasions covering the work that the family do through the Daniel Fox Foundation to reduce the impacts and consequences of knife crime in our town.

“Here’s to another 50 years – thank you to all the staff at the St Helens Star newspaper.”

St Helens Star: Willowbrook Hospice

Willowbrook Hospice

“Happy 50th Birthday to all at the St Helens Star.

“Thank you to the team, for supporting Willowbrook Hospice over the past 26 years. 

“We appreciate the contributions the Star has made in showcasing the good work that we have done and continue to do for our community.”

St Helens Star:

Marie McCourt

“Throughout all of this time, the media have been crucial and important in not only covering what happened to Helen, but covering the searches, the court case and then the fight for Helen’s Law.

“I have been very reliant on the support of local press, especially the Star, for getting the word out there especially during the fight to get Helen’s Law in place and get signatures. 

“I can do no more for Helen, her killer has died and taken the truth of where her remains are with him, but thanks to the St Helens community and people across the UK, Helen’s Law has now stopped five people from getting parole unless they admit to where the remains of their victims are. 

“That is Helen’s legacy and the media have helped to make that happen.

“Congratulations to all at the Star past and present on such a big anniversary, quite the achievement.”

St Helens Star: Johnny VegasJohnny Vegas (Image: Copyright: Helen Murray)

Johnny Vegas

“My first wicker box of fishing tackle and brolly and my Christmas  ZX Spectrum with foil printer and eight cassette games I owe to the Star’s classifieds. 

“Early teens I delivered it with my brothers (well two of us did, Mark, ahem!) A fiver for 500  papers. 

“My mum Pat would read out headlines down the phone when I was a homesick student in London, ‘Street cleaner with black belt in karate thwarts town centre theft’ (Or words to that effect) 

“Some of my earliest listings and reviews for The Citadel were kept in her scrapbook and come from the Star. 

“No poring over eight pages back in the nationals for a snippet on a match performance and when it was delivered, the Star always landed Saints’ side up. 

“If I did a papier mache self portrait the the Star would be as much as much a part of me as it has been my story growing up here in St Helens. 

“Congrats on your 50 years and many thanks for always putting our town front and centre, for making us all feel like the Star.”

St Helens Star: Cllr Lynn Clarke, cabinet member for green, smart and sustainable borough

Mayor of St Helens Borough, Cllr Lynn Clarke

“Fifty years is a significant milestone for any organisation, but in local news it really is remarkable. 

“To have seen the industry develop so quickly in the digital age and weather those changes is a significant feat and cause for celebration. 

“It is testament to the drive passed down through those at the helm over the years and the diligence of its hard-working journalists to provide local people with the news and opinions that matter to them, with accuracy, integrity and a commitment to print. 

“That work is crucial to keeping our residents well informed, improving access to local democracy and the work of the council, reinforcing accountability in public services, profiling local businesses and championing local people and causes. 

“I must make special mention of the team’s dedication to the annual Pride of St Helens Awards which is a wonderful way of celebrating the best of our borough.  

“St Helens runs through the teams that have worked to create and maintain the paper over the years and that local knowledge and care for their home town shines through in the stories of the last five decades. Long may the St Helens Star continue to shine.”

St Helens Star: Linzi Prescott with sons Taylor and Koby Linzi Prescott with sons Taylor and Koby (Image: NQ)

Linzi Prescott, of the Steve Prescott Foundation

“Since Stephen Prescott MBE was first diagnosed with Pseudomyxoma Peritonei 17 years ago, St Helens Star has always been extremely supportive of the Prescott family in the first instance, and then the Steve Prescott Foundation.

“There have been many sensitive issues and the Star have handled everything with care and professionalism.

“With all events and challenges the SPF have undertaken since it’s inception, 16 years ago, the Star have always been our first port of call for advertising and promotion and our partnership with Mikhail Group Pride of St Helens Awards has been outstanding.

St Helens Star: Steve Prescott

“After a meeting with former editor Steve Leary and present editor Andrew Kilmurray, it was agreed that we had to start shouting about all the great and good that happens in our borough, the Pride Awards was the vehicle to make this happen.

“Twelve years later we have just announced the latest people/ organisations who make us proud to be from St Helens.

“It takes a lot of work and organisation to put on an event like the Pride Awards and we could not do this without the great team at the St Helens Star.

“We would like thank the Star for their unequivocal support and like to wish them a very happy 50th anniversary!”

St Helens Star:

Andy Reid MBE

“From when I was injured in 2009 in Afghanistan, the Star has respectfully covered my story - from the news breaking to many friends for the first time to my ongoing battle to achieve all I have. 

“My biggest achievement is getting the Pride of St Helens award and the Star played a big part in that. To be recognised by the people of my home town was amazing.

"They covered my wedding, my first child, getting my MBE – it’s like my own this is your life! 

“Thanks to everybody at the Star for your amazing work and support and here’s to another 50 years.”