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Weekly’s chief reporter recognised in awards for journalists under 30

Charles Thomson 1A weekly newspaper’s chief reporter has been recognised as one of the United Kingdom’s most talented and influential young journalists.

Charles Thomson, of the Basildon-based Yellow Advertiser, was highly commended at this year’s MHP 30 to Watch awards, which celebrates the influence and importance of young journalists who are making a difference to the UK media industry.

Charles, pictured, has been honoured after spearheading an Advertiser campaign which led police to reopen their investigation into an alleged paedophile network known as the ‘Shoebury sex ring’.

The investigation won him the inaugural Ray Fitzwalter Award for Investigative Journalism in 2018, while he was also named Weekly Reporter of the Year at the same year’s Regional Press Awards.

The campaign also won the Making a Difference People’s Choice Award at this year’s Regional Press Awards.

Charles told HTFP: “It is obviously very exciting to be included on this list and particularly for my work on the Shoebury investigation, which I’ve now been running for four years and counting. My editor Mick Ferris and I are committed to pursuing this story until there is an appropriate resolution for those who have been affected.

“We presently have around 10 active Freedom of Information requests, three open cases with the Information Commissioner and one first-tier tribunal pending over Essex Council’s continued refusal to release a key document.

“There are a lot of people out there – victims and whistleblowers – who were badly harmed by what happened in Shoebury in 1989/90 and who have yet to see justice done.

“Some of them were so damaged that sadly, they never will. But we will do all we can achieve justice for those who have survived the trauma.”