THE New Forest National Park Authority and the Daily Echo are celebrating after receiving a top award for the organisation’s newspaper Park life.

The National Park Authority was named gold winner in the Best External Publication category of the 2012 Wessex and Channel Islands Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) PRide Awards, announced at The Ageas Bowl.

This year saw more than 100 of the region’s leading public relations practitioners attend the annual awards ceremony, hosted by Capital FM South Coast’s breakfast show presenter Zoe Hanson.

The National Park Authority worked with Newsquest (the parent company of the Daily Echo) to revamp the design of Park life and include it in the distribution of the New Forest Post free weekly newspaper that is read by more than 50,000 readers each week, which, with advertising support, cut costs by almost 50 per cent.

It also distributes around 15,000 additional copies each year at events and community outlets around the Forest.

New Forest National Park Authority chief executive Alison Barnes said: “Park life is packed full of news, events and information about how to get involved in caring for the national park.

“It is an important way to talk to residents and visitors about the work we are doing to protect this spectacular landscape, help people to understand and enjoy the area, and to support its communities.

We’re delighted that this has been recognised by the CIPR PRide Awards.’ S h e l l e y G o r h a m , r e g i o n a l advertising manag e r, Daily Echo and New Forest Post, a d d e d : “Work i n g with the N at i o n a l P a r k Authority shows the strength of local newspapers and how a message can be directed to the community through effective media.” The CIPR PRide Awards, sponsored nationally by Precise, PRWeek and RedBrand, r e c e i v e d more than 1,000 entries from freel a n c e r s , consultancies and inhouse teams across 12 UK regions and nations.

The judging process for the P R i d e Awards is r i g o r o u s with a national panel of industry experts assessing the shortlisted entries and choosing the winners.

The 2012 chairman of judges, Gill Dandy FCIPR, senior consultant at The Centre for Strategy and Communication, and Chris Genasi FCIPR, senior consultant at APCO Worldwide, assisted in ensuring a fair and consistent judging process.

The award commendation read: “The campaign brief was clear and well thought out. They understood their target audience and used several tactics to get their message across. Innovative use of external advertising meant that they were able to reduce their overall costs.

The achievement of nearly 50 per cent in cost reduct