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Royle date for journalist-turned-folk singer

A former Derbyshire editor who quit the newsdesk to pursue his love of music is over-the-moon after winning two songwriting awards.

John Tams was handed the gongs by Royle Family actress Sue Johnston at the BBC Folk Awards at the Cumberland Hotel.

The former Belper News editor scooped the Best Song award for Harry Stone and the Best Album award for Unity.

John, who also worked as a reporter on the Ripley and Heanor News, dedicated his Best Song award to the thousands of former coal miners.

He also revealed that the song was inspired by his grandfather, who died at Denby Pit in the 1930s.

He said: “It’s a way of giving him some sort of immortality. The song reflects the history of coalmining and what became of it.”

For John, winning the two awards would seem to be a vindication of his decision to leave his journalism career behind and focus on his first love – music.

He said: “I’ve been around the music scene for 40 years and never won an award – now all of a sudden two come along – like buses!”

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