Sally Williams

Daily Mail

When Sally Williams, a highly-respected, investigative feature writer gets her teeth into a story she doesn’t let go: some of the superb pieces she has written for the Mail have taken weeks, often months, to research. This year they have been among the most powerful pieces in the paper. Sally’s wonderful eye for detail and ear for human emotion, makes any feature she turns her hand to, a cut above the rest.

My Escape from the Grenfell Tower of the 1970s – 30th June

On a holiday trip to the Isle of Man when she was aged 13, Jackie Norton lost her mother and her best friend in a catastrophic fire at Summerland, a newly-opened, seafront entertainment centre. Fifty people, including 11 children, died. As the 50th anniversary of the fire approached, Sally took up Norton’s campaign for an apology from the Isle of Man authorities and looked afresh at what really happened.

As she grappled with the architectural specifications of Summerland, Sally realised the fire had been an eerie precursor to the tragedy at Grenfell Tower in 2017 - the flames taken hold in the void inside a cavity wall.

The resulting piece turbo-charged Norton’s campaign, prompting a slew of follow-up articles. As a result, Norton received an apology from the Isle of man government.

Abomination of the 19,000 Children Stolen From Ukraine – 29th May

Sally spent three months researching this story, one that would shock the world. Under cover of war, thousands of Ukrainian children have been ‘spirited’ to Russia, some from orphanages and children’s homes, others taken from their families under the pretext of a school trip. With the help of Kyiv-based charity Save Ukraine, Sally tracked down the families involved, conducting interviews through an interpreter based in Ireland – a truly international effort.

The children, some still missing, were told by Russian hosts they were fascists and made to wear t-shirts emblazoned with ‘Z’, a pro-Russian propaganda motif. The article alerted other media to the issue and Sally believes her research will contribute to a body of evidence on war crimes.

My beautiful Daughter Died in a death Trap – 25th July

This was powerful David and Goliath story: three British families taking on the might of Boeing and winning a landmark verdict thanks to an inquest in West Sussex this year.

On March 10th 2019, an Ethiopian Airlines flight leaving Addia Ababa crashed six minutes after take-off. A faulty sensor had been triggered. The Boeing 737MAX 8 nosedived to the ground at 175mph, killing all 149 passengers and eight crew onboard. One of the Brits who died, Joanna Toole, just 36, was a conservationist on her way to speak at a UN conference. Sally talked to Toole’s father, Adrian, about his four-year fight for justice: in her powerful retelling the story of the crash, Sally reveals that warnings about the new aircraft control system used on board had been ignored by Boeing, with terrible consequences.