THE Argus has been here for you ever since it first appeared in 1880 and it hasn’t always been easy.

There was the time when the paper still came out even though its headquarters in Brighton was on fire.

It produced editions following the great storm of 1987 although not every copy could be delivered thanks to fallen trees.

Every journalist on the paper was working in the early hours when The Grand hotel in Brighton was bombed by the IRA in 1984.

The Argus survived two world wars and the General Strike of 1926.

Sometimes the paper was painfully thin but readers still clamoured for it.

Rivals came and went over the years. Some lasted only a few months while others like the Brighton and Hove Herald were published for more than a century.

Commercial television was a real threat in 1955 and local radio proved a worry from 1968.

But provincial newspapers like The Argus still provide a service unmatched by any other news media.

I’ve been around long enough to have helped write a centenary edition for the paper in 1980.

In those days reporters still used typewriters.

It was an age before computers and mobile phones.

The headquarters were in Robert Street, Brighton and it was exciting to hear the whole building vibrate as the press went into action.

When the paper moved to Hollingbury I stayed put in the centre of Brighton because that was my beat.

I travelled to stories by bike because it was speedy and there were no parking problems. I probably covered 25,000 miles.

My main task was reporting on local politics in Brighton and Hove. On election nights I never went home to bed.

I wrote the paper’s leaders for 30 years and in 1977 started writing a column which still appears on Wednesdays.

For a long time I contributed pieces on local history and did book reviews.

I estimate that I wrote 50 million words as a journalist, nearly all of them now forgotten.

One editor calculated that between Easter and the Spring Bank holiday that year I wrote the equivalent in words of War and Peace. But he added they may not have been of quite the same literary quality.

I was there for many major stories including the fire which finally destroyed the West Pier in Brighton and saw the opening of the Marina.

At party conferences I heard everyone from Margaret Thatcher to Nelson Mandela.

I saw Neil Kinnock slip into the sea during a photocall and Denis Healey narrowly beat Tony Benn to become Labour’s deputy leader.

I was in the bar of The Grand hotel in Brighton only an hour before the bomb went off during the Tory party conference.

But I was only one of many journalists who worked on The Argus over the years. Some like Jack Tinker and Peter Black became famous later in Fleet Street while others stayed put.

They included Ernest Stapley and Francis Cornwall who each spent 50 years in the Hastings office of the paper, becoming local institutions.

I once won a competition for a new slogan with “If it’s news it’s in The Argus.”

That’s still true today and readers can be sure the news is accurate and authoritative. It is also unbiased.

It tells the people of Sussex what is really going on. Not all the news is glum, grim and gloomy. The paper can be funny, imaginative and moving. It entertains as well as it explains.

The Argus has covered many big stories since its modest debut in the Victorian era.

But there have been few if any as enormous as the current coronavirus crisis.

It’s a remarkable achievement to have been in a precarious business for 140 years.

But the celebrations will come later when the virus has gone.

Meanwhile The Argus will do what it has always done well – bringing people the latest news and working with them.