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THEY came, they chatted… and the lucky ones walked away with a fiver.

To celebrate the relaunch of The News and the unveiling of our new iPad app I took the opportunity to do what I enjoy most by getting out of the office and meeting readers yesterday.

Mark Waldron with Simon Rist (40) from Buckland who won �5 in The News gift voucher competition.''Picture: Sarah Standing (123314-6669)

Mark Waldron with Simon Rist (40) from Buckland who won �5 in The News gift voucher competition.''Picture: Sarah Standing (123314-6669)

Two two-hour sessions were set up at Cascades in Portsmouth and Havant’s Meridian Centre for a chance to talk about what was changing in the paper and why and to listen to any thoughts about what we should and shouldn’t be doing.

To add fun to the occasion we were offering gift envelopes to everyone buying the paper with a number of prizes up for grabs including £5 notes, scratchcards, sets of Disney books and free ‘happy ads’ for the paper.

Topics of the day were varied, including our localised content, the price of the paper, Pompey coverage and our new Saturday Weekend magazine. As was shown through recent research we have carried out, it was again great to hear that, although there is always room for improvements, how much love there is for The News among so many readers.

First £5 winner of the day was Dunya Osman of Mayles Road, Milton, Portsmouth, who was off with her winnings to have something to eat and to enjoy The News. ‘I read the paper every day and love it,’ she said.

June Hocking, of Ship Leopard Street, in Portsea, was looking forward to the recipes in the new food and drink pages in our 40-page Weekend magazine this Saturday. Reflecting on The News she said: ‘The paper has all your local news in it – it covers everything.’

Peter Wise, 75, of Lovedean Lane, Lovedean, thought he deserved a beer after opening his prize envelope to find a £5 note inside. ‘I follow the sport and start at the back of the paper. But I read every page. It gives you the news from where you live.’

Today I was hoping to meet more readers in Gosport High Street (10am to 12pm) and Fareham Shopping Centre (2pm to 4pm). Tomorrow I’m at Asda in Waterlooville (10am to 12pm) so come along.

The News iPad app is available from the Apple app store. Try it for free for 30 days and then sign up for £5.99 a month. Readers who receive a delivery direct from The News or who are on a pre-paid subscription can use the app for free and will receive a letter soon to explain how.