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T&A man receives prize from Prince Charles

Andrew Hebden from the Bradford Telegraph and Argus has been presented with a Prince’s Trust Local Reporting Award from Prince Charles and Gary Lineker.

He received the award, run in association with the Newspaper Society, during a ceremony at St James’s Palace.

It is in recognition of his work reporting positive community news.

Andrew’s winning feature, Stepping Out in the Right Direction, focused on a group of teenagers in Bolton Woods who are campaigning for better facilities for their neighbourhood.

A lack of local leisure facilities for young people led to repeated reports of unruly behaviour. To combat this, the teenagers formed a committee and set up fundraising events for various projects including a summer playscheme and new equipment for their community centre.

Andrew said: “I am absolutely stunned to win. I was very impressed by the standard of the competition and was honoured to be shortlisted. I really didn’t expect any more than that.

“The youth workers from Bolton Woods were really good to work with, and very open about the challenges they have faced. It is their good work that has led to this award, I only reported on the important work that they have done.

“I really enjoy working on a local newspaper, it is great to report on these positive stories. It is really good to be able to help out and to feel that the newspaper can do some good in the community.”

Runners-up Ayesha Gilani, from the Bristol Evening Post, and Debbie Watson, from the Ipswich Evening Star, each received a certificate from The Prince of Wales.

Debbie’s winning story focused on 12-year-old Jacob Swift, who has the demanding job of caring for his mother Helen, who suffers from Crohn’s disease – a severe intestinal condition.

Debbie said: “It was a nice story to write because Helen and Jacob have this incredible relationship that is quite special. Jacob’s loyalty to his mum and his concern for her was something that you can get really involved in.”

Tim Bowdler, president of the Newspaper Society said: “In recognising young people and the inspiring work many of them do for their communities, these awards are representative of the work that newspapers do on a local level, every day and every week of the year.

“The Newspaper Society is delighted to be part of the Local Reporting Awards. They touch the heart of what the regional press, as an industry, tries to do, focusing on truly local stories, supporting the community and inspiring our readers to act on behalf of others.”

The Prince’s Trust Local Reporting Awards recognise excellence in regional reporting by journalists who have focused on inspiring stories about young people who face disadvantage, and what they have achieved for their communities.

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E-mail pastill@nep.co.uk