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Coverage of Avon Gorge deaths earns Young Journalist prize

Sophie PrideauxA regional daily reporter’s “impeccable” coverage of three tragic deaths on her patch earned her the Young Journalist of the Year prize at today’s Regional Press Awards.

Bristol Post reporter Sophie Prideaux, left, was first to break the story of the death of 92-year-old poppy seller Olive Cooke, who fell to her death in the Avon Gorge last year.

Sophie’s entry portfolio also included her coverage of the equally tragic death of young mum Charlotte Bevan and her daughter Zani in the Avon Gorge after going missing from a local hospital.

Both went on to be major national news stories and judges described Sophie’s handling of both as “impeccable.”

Sophie’s third entry, about a man being thrown off a coach for being a Moslem, stemmed from a Tweet posted by a student on the coach which she managed to develop into a front page story.

HoldtheFrontPage publisher Paul Linford, who chaired the judging panel in the Young Journalist category, said: “We felt that of all the shortlisted entries, Sophie’s stories probably had the biggest impact, both in terms of raw emotion and in terms of the follow-ups they generated.”

Sophie Doughty receives her Young Journalist of the Year award from HTFP publisher Paul Linford, left, and presenter Nick Ferrari

Sophie Doughty receives her Young Journalist of the Year award from HTFP publisher Paul Linford, left, and presenter Nick Ferrari

Highly Commended in the Young Journalist category was Rob Golledge, of the Express & Star, whose entries showcased a strong all-round range of journalism skills, including an overseas assignment and a period of working undercover.

Rob’s French-speaking abilities saw him despatched to Tunisia in the aftermath of the terror attacks in Sousse which claimed the lives of five holidaymakers from his paper’s patch.

He also went undercover to produce a ground-breaking report on the English Defence League which exposed drug-taking, racist abuse and threats of racially-aggravated violence within the organisation, and revealed how a fraudster cheated five Wolves footballers out of £2.6m after persuading them to turn whistleblowers.

HoldtheFrontPage has sponsored the Young Journalist category since helping the Society of Editors to revive the Regional Press Awards in 2011.

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