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TUESDAY 16 JULY  2024

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Huw Edwards raises the laughs at Philip Geddes memorial 40 years on 

BBC presenter Huw Edwards made a witty speech

By CHRISTOPHER WILSON

Daily Express reporter Philip Geddes, killed by the IRA in the 1983 Harrods bomb attack, was remembered at the weekend in a 40th anniversary party held at his old college.


BBC news presenter Huw Edwards gave an hour-long, joke-filled, takedown on the internal workings of the Beeb as the centrepiece of the memorial, which was attended by over 300 friends, former colleagues and journalism students.


The celebration also marked the 40th anniversary of the creation of the Geddes Awards, the longest-established independent awards for student journalism, described in one speech as “an important plank in the continuation of quality journalism in Britain and abroad”.


Since 1984, more than 100 student journalists have been advised, mentored and rewarded with substantial cash prizes to help further their careers. A Geddes Prize for general reporting worth £2,500 is awarded annually, the £2,500 Clive Taylor prize for sports journalism (named after Sun cricket writer Taylor) and the Ronnie Payne award for foreign reporting (named after the celebrated Telegraph foreign corr), £2,500, are also awarded. The prize money must be used on a journalistic project to help the winner get a foot in the door of national journalism.


Geddes winners are now employed by all UK major newsgathering organisations, some now in senior positions. Many return to his old college each year to remember Philip, and in addition each December 17 an open-air act of memorial is held outside Harrods to commemorate Philip and the others who were killed or injured.


The perpetrators of the bomb attack, whose names are known to British intelligence, have never been brought to justice.


One Geddes Awards organiser said: “It all started in the Poppinjay. Discussing a possible memorial with colleagues, Danny McGrory suggested, ‘Philip was only 24. The two big things in his life were Oxford and journalism – put the two together somehow’.”


The organiser added: “It's only sad that Danny's no longer here to see what a massive success his brainchild has been.”


The hat was handed round the Poppinjay that night, and from the money collected grew a fund whose contributors eventually included every major UK newsgathering outfit as well as many individuals colleagues and friends. To date over £150,000 in prize money has been awarded to student journalists by the Geddes Trust, which still has a former Express journalist on the board.


Go to www.geddestrust.org for more information on Philip and the Geddes Awards.


NB Philip Geddes died doing his job as a reporter. Hearing of the bomb alert he immediately rushed towards the centre of activity, just as the bomb was detonated. The management of the Daily Express has never had any involvement in the creation, development, organisation or funding of the Awards.


22nd May, 2023


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