PEOPLE living in Abingdon will soon have a good reason to say ‘thanks a million’ to Alastair Fear.
The former town councillor’s online blog of news and snippets about the town is about to reach the milestone of getting one million visits. And Mr Fear, who was a onetime deputy mayor, has no intention of stopping once he reaches the milestone, as he gets new material every day when out walking his 12-year-old Border Terrier Harry.
Mr Fear’s blog, launched in 2006, gets about 1,000 visits a day from people who want to see his light-hearted updates on the changing face of the town, last year renamed Abingdon-on-Thames.
By last night, the blog featuring words and pictures had received 953,574 hits.
Father-of-two Mr Fear, 55, said: “When the blog started it got about 15,000 visits in the first year.
“It didn’t really take off until the 2007 floods hit Abingdon and that’s the year I put my official counter on.
“The blog should get its one- millionth visitor in the next two or three months and I never expected it to get such a following.
“I thought I would do it for a year and that would be that, but it has been popular so I’ve kept it going.”
Mr Fear lives with wife Judith in Abingdon town centre and works for a software developer in Bracknell, Berkshire.
He said: “I try to document the everyday life of the town and its traditions. I walk Harry every day and try to update the blog on a daily basis – I only missed one day last month. “People stop me in the street and say ‘keep up the good work’.
“Social networking sites like Twitter have taken over a bit from blogging, but I like the blogging format because it gives you a chance to focus in depth on a particular subject.”
Mr Fear was a town councillor for Caldecott for eight years until he lost his seat two years ago and has not ruled out a return to local politics.
He is also chairman of Abingdon Town Amateur Boxing Club, a governor of Thameside Primary School, and is on the committee that runs Preston Road Community Centre.
He has lived in Abingdon for 26 years, and says the town centre was “thriving more” when he arrived, but added: “We don’t have a cinema yet but it’s a great place for community organisations.
“It’s very diverse with lots of sports groups, Morris men and great pubs – it’s a great place to be.”
Last year, the then Abingdon mayor Mike Badcock handed Mr Fear a mayor’s award for his devotion to blogging.
Abingdon town clerk Nigel Warner said: “People can visit Alastair’s blog from anywhere in the world and it’s regularly updated.
“We find it to be a very good resource for the town and it is appreciated by everyone on the town council.”
Four years ago, the blog started to carry the views of Border Terrier Harry in Harry’s Blog and the feature is updated once a week.
l For further information visit abingdonblog.co.uk