Jon Colman

Newsquest Cumbria

My entry comprises two feature interviews and an exclusive story from my work covering Cumbrian sport for the News & Star (daily) and The Cumberland News (weekly).

The first article is a front-page exclusive story resulting from a campaign I led on the newspaper’s behalf. After being informed by his friends that the late Cumbrian footballer, Tony Hopper, had never received a medal despite winning a league championship in Ireland 20 years ago, I decided to launch a campaign to right this wrong. I contacted football authorities and the relevant clubs in Ireland, who agreed to have a medal specially minted for Tony’s family. I was then able to present this medal to Tony’s brother, ahead of a major reunion of many of his old team-mates in Carlisle. I feel this was an example of using a local newspaper’s influence in a positive way to ensure a popular sports person was celebrated and remembered, many years after the event. As well as the attached PDF, this story can be found online here: The second article is an in-depth interview with the former Carlisle United footballer Simon Hackney, on a very sensitive and challenging subject. I worked on this feature for almost a year with Simon after he bravely resolved to share the story of how he had been sexually abused in childhood by a member of his family, and how this had shaped his life and mental health into adulthood. I had known Simon for many years, since his playing days at Carlisle, and he placed great trust in me to tell his story accurately and in detail. Simon described this as a way of unburdening himself from a very traumatic part of his past, as well as the hope that other abuse sufferers may be helped by his openness. The article resulted in a Long Read online, and a slightly shorter feature-length spread in the newspaper. As well as the attached PDF, this story can be found online here: The third article is an interview with a bare-knuckle boxer from Carlisle. Danny Christie, ahead of a major contest at Wembley Arena, told me his troubled story, encompassing a lifelong drug addiction, violence, a difficult childhood, the loss of his father, how he got clean, and the raw and sometimes controversial detail behind his passion for fighting. I felt this was an opportunity to delve deeper into a sport which seldom gains lots of column inches in the regional press. Christie’s story was riveting and the resulting feature was the best-read article I have written in the last year. As well as the attached PDF, this story can be found here: Jon Colman September 2022