Alison Phillips

Daily Mirror

It’s testimony to the skill and empathy of Daily Mirror editor Alison Phillips that in revealing the Alzheimer’s diagnosis of former TV presenter Fiona Phillips she allowed her interviewee’s resilience and humour to shine through without masking her vulnerabilities. 

“Sometimes I don’t even remember I’ve got it, probably because I’ve got it,” said Fiona, in one of a series of interviews with her and her husband, Martin Frizzell, which charted the toll the disease was taking on their family. The interviews were doubly poignant given Fiona’s campaigning on Alzheimer’s since her parents died of it a decade earlier. “It was clearly lying there all the time, waiting for me,” she said.

Alison spent over a year working with Fiona and Martin to ensure the time was right to break the story – and to tell it, at their insistence, without sugar coating. In one piece, Alison noted: “Sometimes she forgets she revealed her story back in July which was followed nationally. She tells me she has not confided in one friend about her condition, just in case the pal told her husband and the secret should get out.”

Judges praised Alison Phillips’ “delicate writing of heartfelt, emotionally-charged features,” calling them “brilliant.”