Observer scoops top prize at regional press awards ceremony

Reporter Laura Button and deputy content editor Colin Jenner pictured with Lauren Steadman, paratriathlete world champion and Andrew Brown, director of Brand, Sustainability and External Affairs at EDF Energy
Reporter Laura Button and deputy content editor Colin Jenner pictured with Lauren Steadman, paratriathlete world champion and Andrew Brown, director of Brand, Sustainability and External Affairs at EDF Energy

The Battle Observer has won an award for its Save Battle Fire Station campaign coverage.

The newspaper was revealed as the winner of the Community Campaign of the Year category at the EDF Energy London and South of England Media Awards 2014.

Now in their 10th year, the awards honour the best in journalism across London, Kent, Surrey, East and West Sussex, Berkshire, Hampshire and Dorset.

The judging panel was made up of a number of industry professionals, including daily newspaper editors.

Of the campaign, the judges said: “There’s regular coverage and analysis of the issue, along with report after report on the range of work done by firefighters – from road accidents and blazes, to prevention work in schools.”

Reported on by Laura Button, the Observer coverage included five pages of news and analysis from a key public meeting as well as interviews with members of the Fire Authority, campaigners, firefighters, those who had been helped by Battle’s firefighters and Chief Fire Officer Des Prichard.

Laura and deputy content editor Colin Jenner picked up the award at a ceremony at The Amex Stadium, Brighton, last Thursday (November 13).

The fire station in Battle had been at risk of being downgraded to retained status - with the loss of nine wholetime firefighters - as East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service strives to find savings of £7.1 million.

In June members of East Sussex Fire Authority members were asked to decide whether to downgrade the station, or approve an alternative proposal to boost cover at Battle but at the expense of The Ridge Fire Station, which would lose its retained fire engine. At the time Hastings member Councillor Phil Scott, who has been outspoken against any cuts to the local fire service in East Sussex, criticised East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service for forcing members to choose between the two towns.