A RETIRED decorator and keen Oxford Mail reader was astonished to discover how much an old copy of the newspaper he has might cost.

Peter Stevens, 80, from Chadlington, near Chipping Norton has a copy of the Oxford Mail from December 12, 1928 - priced one penny.

He said: “I read an article in the paper about a copy from 1952 and said ‘well I can beat that’.”

Mr Stevens’ copy is 12 pages long with a front page headline ‘King undergoes operation’ as two operations were performed on George V to drain his right lung.

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Mr Stevens highlighted some changes between the newspaper now and then, saying: “Salaries and the cost of living have gone up so the prices of things have too, you can buy a Rover for £269 in the old copy, whilst a 23 day Mediterranean cruise costs 43 guineas.”

He explained how he found the copy, saying: “I’ve lived in the house for 55 years and all the cellars of the three houses where I live are connected.

“I was clearing out the cellar about 30 years ago to make a games room for my grandchildren when I found it.”

An avid reader of the Oxford Mail, Mr Stevens said: “We have the Oxford Mail delivered every day and I was there having my morning cup of tea in bed when I saw the article and thought ‘I’ve got one older than that’.

“I’ve always bought the paper, I wouldn’t miss it as I can keep updated with what’s going on across the county.

Oxford Mail:

“We always had the Oxford Mail when I was young living with my mum and dad.

“When I began working in Oxford, I carried on doing that as it’s important to read all the local stuff.”

Mr Stevens, who was born in Charlbury, began work as an apprentice painter and decorator, aged 15, before being recruited for National Service, aged 19.

In September 1960, he left National Service, whereupon he began courting his future wife Gillian, who he known from his youth.

After five years, the couple married, and now how have a son and daughter, and two grandchildren.

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During his time as a decorator, Mr Stevens was involved in work at Blenheim Palace and Kensington Palace Gardens, London.

In 1998, Mr Stevens was made redundant from the firm he worked for.

Two years later, he started his own painting and decorating business, before retiring in 2004.

Through his career, he took on up to 25 apprentices who he says keep in touch with him and thank him for what he did for them.

Mr Stevens was also a keen footballer in Charlbury, before devoting his time to being a referee in the Witney and District League.

During his time as a referee, he was the man in the middle for Oxford United pre-season friendlies when they played in the Chipping Norton area and got to meet figures such as Ron Atkinson.