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Chief reporter and interviewee win prizes at national charity awards

Bev HolderA regional journalist and her interviewee have both been honoured at a national charity awards.

Stourbridge News chief reporter Bev Holder has been awarded Journalist of the Year at the Anthony Nolan Supporter Awards 2021.

Bev won the accolade after breaking the story of England football fan Sam Astley, who turned down Euro 2020 semi-finals tickets to donate stem cells to a patient in need of a transplant.

The story went on to make national headlines, and Sam himself was also honoured as Donor Champion of the Year at the awards.

Sam signed up for the Anthony Nolan register after family friend and blood cancer sufferer Simon Wilkes organised a memorial football tournament in memory of his son Olly Wilkes, who passed away aged just 22.

Bev, pictured, told HTFP: “It’s a real honour to have my work recognised in this way and I’m privileged to have played a part in telling the wonderful story of Sam Astley’s stem cell donation which has spread so much happiness and hope.

“I’m also delighted to share this win with Sam, who was very fittingly named donor champion of the year, but the story would never have been told if not for the amazing Simon Wilkes.

“Without him and his incredible fundraising events and stem cell drives remembering his son Olly – it may have been a very different story for the patient who ended up receiving Sam’s stem cells.

“So this award is dedicated to Simon and his tremendous efforts to do good.”