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National charity honours work of local press

The South Wales Evening Post and the Derbyshire Times have been presented with awards from the RSPCA.

The two newspapers were selected by the charity to receive their annual Local Media Awards, in recognition of their coverage of animal welfare issues.

The South Wales Evening Post also previously received a Meritorious Service award from the Llys Nini Animal Centre in Penllergaer.

The paper runs a weekly Pets Page on a Saturday which highlights animals in need of new homes, as well as a column from the RSPCA offering advice on pet care.

The paper also ensures it gives prominent coverage to cases where the RSPCA has brought a prosecution for animal cruelty.

A citation from the judges said: “The Post gives the Branch a lot of good publicity, especially for fundraising events as well as giving us very positive coverage in writing up animal stories and branch achievements.

“The paper also prints details of a lot of RSPCA court cases – the editorial team clearly have a supportive approach and are anti-cruelty. Their intervention and backing have been hugely important for raising funds and the continued existence of Llys Nini Animal Centre.”

  • Spencer (left) collects the award from chairman of council Mike Tomlinson. Pic: RSPCA Photolibrary
  • South Wales Evening Post editor Spencer Feeney, who collected the Local Media Award during the RSPCA’s annual meeting at Kensington Town Hall, said the paper was pleased to receive the award.

    He said: “It’s very kind.

    “We were at the Regional Press Awards the day before but didn’t win, so it was nice to pick up this award as a consolation prize.”

    Derbyshire Times reporter Nicola Smith also travelled to London to collect an award, after being nominated by the Chesterfield branch of the RSPCA.

    Judges said the paper “really makes a difference” to animal welfare, running full-page rehoming features and passing on any excess advertising revenue to the local branch.

    The citation said: “Reporter Nicola Smith is described as “a joy to work with” – she opened the branch’s first charity shop and apparently is more like a family member than a ‘contact’.

    “When the branch’s Save Our Centre appeal was launched, the DT ran a publicity campaign over seven months, often running up to three stories a week. The aim was to raise up to £75,000 – but with the consistent support of the Derbyshire Times in the end the total was £97,000.

    “In the words of the Chesterfield branch: ‘The Derbyshire Times is everything that a local newspaper should be – and if it was not for their support then our centre would be no longer in existence. We are forever in their debt and really think they deserve some recognition.'”

  • Nicola collects the award from chairman of council Mike Tomlinson. Pic: RSPCA Photolibrary
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