A VISIT by a Prime Minister is generally guaranteed to be the biggest story on the local newspaper’s agenda that day.

So it was this week in 2006, when Tony Blair came to Swindon to launch a new campaign against anti-social behavioiur.

His trip included a photo opportunity during which he used a pressure washer to clean graffiti from a wall in Toothill.

“The Prime Minister,” we said, “launched his new Respect Action Plan containing a package of measures to tackle yobs and neighbours from hell.”

Mr Blair told an audience of community workers: “Respect is about being considerate of the consequences of our behaviour to others - and there is strong public concern where it is disregarded.”

That was on the Tuesday, but an interesting sequel happened in the early hours of the Friday and made another Adver front page on the Saturday.

We said: “Graffiti scrawled over a wall which had been blasted clean by Tony Blair was removed by council workers - just 30 minutes after being spotted.

“Workers at Toothill Community Centre were greeted by the fresh vandalism - including the message ‘Blair Keep off my Land’ - as they arrived at 8.30am yesterday.

“But by 9am the wall was back to the red bricks left spotless by the PM as he unveiled his Respect action plan to the nation on Tuesday.

“Today local traders and residents criticised the special treatment given to Mr Blair’s bricks, pointing out that graffiti on walls and shutters just yards away had remained untouched by council cleaners for a year.”

The council insisted that the graffiti on Mr Blair’s wall happened to be spotted by its workers, that the cleaning was nothing to do with it being Mr Blair’s wall, and that the graffiti on shutters could not be cleaned at the time.

In a national broadsheet’s report of the incident, an unnamed community centre user was quoted as saying: “The workman told me that since Tuesday he had been told to check the wall every day and clean it if necessary.”

There was good news for an actor who was already arguably the town’s most famous showbusiness export since Diana Dors.

We said: “Billie Piper’s television career has taken another leap forward after she landed her first lead role in a new BBC drama. The former Bradon Forest School pupil will star in the adaptation of Philip Pullman’s Sally Lockhart stories as the young heroine.

“Sally is a young girl living in Victorian London who turns sleuth to solve the mystery behind her father’s death.

“The first novel in Pullman’s trilogy, The Ruby in the Smoke, starts filming in May and will be broadcast on BBC1.”

The 23-year-old was in the midst of her stint as Rose Tyler in Doctor Who, and had recently appeared in an updated TV version of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.

The Ruby in the Smoke went on to earn favourable reviews on both sides of the Atlantic.

An even younger person whose career was on the up-and-up was Cricklade entrepreneur Alex Tew, who created a website to stave off student debts and became a dollar millionaire.

We said: “Alex, 21, came up with the idea of selling one million pixels of advertising space for one dollar each on his website www.milliondollarhomepage.com.

“Within days of its launch he had raised about £800, but now the website has become packed with adverts, raising his university fund to $1,037,100 (£587,593).”

Alex said: “I’m pretty much blown away by it. It’s been a lot more successful than I ever envisaged.

“It’s surreal and it hasn’t really sunk in yet. I was nervous watching the auction. I just wanted it to go off without a hitch and thankfully it did.”

Alex later moved to London and later still to Silicon Valley, where by 2015 he was working on a smartphone meditation app.

He told us then: “The world is your oyster for making things happen.

“The idea is one thing, but you have to put that idea into action. Lots of people have ideas, but fewer people give it a go.

“I realised, no matter how harebrained it might be, if the passion is there, nothing’s too big.”

The Adver took part in two campaigns that week 13 years ago.

The Great Reading Adventure saw us reprint Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days in instalments, and we also promoted blood donation by talking to some of the local people involved.

One of them, 37-year-old mother-of-two Claire Ferris, was a veteran of 27 donation sessions.

“I have a young family,” she said, “and if for any reason we needed blood I would hope that people will have come forward to help us. That is why I donate.

“I used to hate needles but it’s just a little prick and you can always look away. It’s easy.”

According to Swindon’s National Blood Service team, supplies were dipping to lower levels than normal for the time of year.