THE Bridlington Free Press was alongside high-profile sporting stars when the winners were announced at a prestigious new awards ceremony.
Sports editor John Edwards was named Best Northern Sports Journalist at the event at Old Trafford cricket ground on Monday evening.
And the other winners at the first-ever Northern Sports Awards included test cricketer Jimmy Anderson, Olympic gold medal hopeful Jessica Ennis and FA Cup winners Manchester City.
Judges said the Free Press gave outstanding coverage to a local sporting community which could easily miss out.
John said: “It is a great honour to bring this award back to Bridlington. I was absolutely thrilled and very proud when the result was announced.
“Although my name is on the trophy, it is a reward for the Free Press sports team, including my colleague Cyril Skinner, our dedicated and enthusiastic photographers, and everyone who regularly sends in reports and results.
“They give us the tools to produce the pages we do, week in week out, and it is fantastic that we have received recognition alongside such big names from the world of sport.
“We were up against much bigger media organisations - regional TV reporters and daily newspaper journalists - but sport is all about the underdog having a chance.
“When we sent our nomination, we said that because we have no professional clubs on our doorstep, our aim is to provide Premier League standard coverage to grass roots teams.
“I’m glad people in the industry have said we are getting things right.”
Around 400 people were at the test cricket venue for the ceremony, which was hosted by snooker star Willie Thorne. Guests included Darren Gough, rugby league international Jon Wilkin and Wigan Warriors coach Michael Maguire.
Anderson won Sportsman of the Year, Ennis picked up Sportswoman of the Year, Manchester City were named Team of the Year and the Lifetime Achievement Award went to legendary former Lancashire and West Indies batsman Clive Lloyd.
Premiership clubs Everton, Liverpool and Blackburn Rovers were also among the winners for their community and marketing campaigns.
“The evening was a great success, the support for the event has been amazing,” said organiser Nick Jaspan.
“The North has so much talent from various sporting disciplines which these awards acknowledge and there have been some surprising winners. We’ll definitely be coming back next year.”
One event from the evening has already made the national newspapers. Sadly, it was not the Free Press’ win, but Jimmy Anderson’s wife dropping a clanger.
She was accepting his trophy on his behalf, and seconds after the England bowler had said on a video speech that Daniela was ‘safe pair of hands’ to take his award home, she dropped the trophy on the stage.