The 2015 British Sports Awards were unusual in that the organisers used the occasion to celebrate the career and contribution of one of our own: Sir Michael Parkinson, who stood down this year after a decade as the SJA’s President.
This is the speech given by our chairman, DAVID WALKER:
As Jim mentioned earlier, our sports awards have been going since 1949. Our Association was formed a year earlier.
In all that time we have always been a body which depends on its membership, colleagues from within our business working to stage this event and run our other activities.
Some members have made a big difference, and this afternoon, we want to honour one of those with the Association’s highest accolade, the Doug Gardner Award for services to sports journalism and to the Sports Journalists’ Association.
It is a most appropriate recipient, because he’s made a huge contribution to sports writing and broadcasting, as well as a massive contribution to our Association.
He stepped in to find us sponsors and backers at the time of the global financial crisis when our long-term partners had just stepped down.
It is no exaggeration to say that without his help back then, and the prestige and influence he has provided the SJA over the past decade, we might not be hosting our event here today.
He may have enjoyed a stellar career but he has never forgotten his roots. In fact, he’s admitted that he began in journalism by filing match reports to his local paper of amateur games he was playing in.
The problem came when League clubs sent scouts to check on the youngster who was getting rave reviews and grabbing the headlines in those reports. He was pretty good at creative writing too.
The man we are all here to honour this afternoon is well known to you already.
But we’ve put together a short video which I would ask you all to watch. It reminds us of some of the great sporting interviews that made this journalist truly world famous.
The 2015 winner of the SJA’s Doug Gardner Award for services to sports journalism and the SJA is Sir Michael Parkinson.
- The SJA is the largest member organisation of sports media professionals in the world. Join us: Click here for more details
- This year, the SJA’s nominated good cause is The Journalists’ Charity. To find out more and how you can donate on a one-off or regular basis, go to www.journalistscharity.org.uk