A regional press defence reporter has been given a prestigious award for his work in reporting on operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Sierra Leone.
Tristan Nichols, of The Herald, Plymouth won the individual category for the south in the Friends of the Forces Awards, which were launched by the Royal British Legion earlier this year with the backing of Prince Harry.
Meanwhile the Belfast-based News Letter has been chosen as the winner of the corporate category in Northern Ireland after running a campaign in 2008 for a homecoming parade for the First Royal Irish Rifles deployed in Afghanistan.
The awards are designed to recognise people and organisations which have helped foster greater appreciation of the forces’ contribution to national life.
Tristan, pictured left in 2008 during a week-long stint with the Royal Marines learning about Arctic warfare training, endured equally tough conditions while reporting from overseas conflict zones – including being shot at.
He also pioneered the use of head cameras to expand his online coverage and launched an appeal in memory of local soldiers which has raised £54,000 to date, while he has been made an honorary Royal Marine by Plymouth’s 42 Commando.
Said Tristan: “I’m seriously delighted to have been chosen to receive this award. I feel very privileged to hold my position, and to work with such fantastic people in the Armed Forces.
“They are a credit to our great nation. I speak on behalf of The Herald when I say we are very proud of each and every service man and woman’s efforts, and we look forward to continuing our coverage of their efforts into the future.”
Major Steve Fraser, second in command of the Plymouth-based 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery, added: “From my perspective Tristan’s constant engagement with us as a Regiment over a number of years, his integrity and his willingness to get out and about with us at every opportunity has made him stand out.
“Not only did he take our stories, good and bad, to the city with care and compassion, he also made it very easy for me to be the face of the regiment at some very difficult times.”
The News Letter was praised by judges for its homecoming parade campaign and they also said it had consistently raised the profile of the Armed Forces and soldiers on the front line.
Editor Darwin Templeton said: “We pride ourselves in our strong relationship with the Armed Forces, which was forged during the Troubles and has developed as a result of the more recent conflicts in other parts of the world.
“We try to highlight the sacrifices being made by service men and women on our behalf today and by the generations who served their country in years gone by.
“Our campaign for a homecoming parade for the troops in Belfast was part of this ethos, and we were delighted when so many people took the opportunity to come out on the day and register their gratitude.”
Diesel74 (08/06/2010 13:29:49)
Well done that man.