“We look forward to welcoming Parky back in 2014”

David Walker, the chairman of the Sports Journalists’ Association, used his welcoming remarks at the organisation’s annual British Sports Awards yesterday to pay a special tribute to the SJA President, Sir Michael Parkinson, in his battle with cancer – and to look forward to seeing him at our next major awards event, the British Sports Journalism Awards on March 24.

SJA Presidernt Sir Michael Parkinson enjoying last year's British Sports Awards with Jessica Ennis
SJA Presidernt Sir Michael Parkinson enjoying last year’s British Sports Awards with star guest, Jessica Ennis

Sir Michael, who has been SJA President since 2004, was diagnosed with prostate cancer in May, and was unable to attend the Sports Awards ceremony at the Tower of London yesterday because he is receiving further treatment before heading to the warmth of Australia for Christmas and the New Year.

Walker said, “As chairman of the SJA this moment carries a special poignancy for me.

“Traditionally, this welcome is extended by our President, Sir Michael Parkinson. As I’m sure you’re all aware Sir Michael has not been in the best of health recently and sends his apologies for not being here.

“Sir Michael is much more than a figurehead of our organisation. We met last week to discuss the planning for today’s event. He was in fine form. And I know he appreciates the support he has received from SJA members and friends as he bravely battles prostate cancer.

“Sir Michael will be undergoing more treatment tomorrow before heading off for a couple of months of warm weather recuperation in Australia. His hopes of seeing England retain the Ashes appear remote. He’s got his tickets for the Australian Open tennis next month so let’s hope he sees Andy Murray get back on court in winning style.”

At his first SJA Sports Awards as chairman – he succeeded Barry Newcombe last April – Walker had been able to announce a four-year sponsorship agreement with The National Lottery, joining our existing partners, the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation.

“We’re indebted to the continuing support of our sponsors, The National Lottery,” Walker said. “Managing director Andy Duncan and his team have done much to help the SJA. They’ve done even more to help British sport and our athletes.

“Of course, an event like this can’t take place without the ideas, endeavour and planning of a group of talented people. I’m indebted to our awards team for their unstinting efforts. As you’ll see later, they’ve been supported by other members of our general committee. To them all I extend a sincere thank you.”

Entries for the SJA’s British Sports Journalism Awards – for photography, sports writing and cartoons, for journalists working for the regionals as well as the nationals – are now open. Click here to download an entry form

  • Between now and the end of 2013, anyone wishing to join the SJA may apply, with their initial fee covering their membership through until the end of 2014 – effectively 13 months’ membership for the price of 12. Click here for more details


Tue Dec 17: SJA Masterclass with Twitter’s Lewis Wiltshire. Click here to book your place


Mon Mar 24: SJA British Sports Journalism Awards, Grand Connaught Rooms, London
Mon Apr 14: SJA Spring Golf Day: Croham Hurst GC, Surrey. Booking details to be announced