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Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

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Radio Ulster wins top Sony Award

BBC Radio Ulster has won a prestigious Gold award at this year's Sony Radio Academy Awards which took place last night (Monday 10 May) in the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.

Radio Ulster News and Current Affairs team won in the category of Best Breaking News Coverage for the their Alzheimer's Tragedy story which was broadcast on the station in November 2009.

The Alzheimer's Tragedy story began on the station with a routine police report about the discovery of the body of an elderly woman before evolving over the next few days into a moving debate about the treatment of people with Alzheimer's and assisted dying.

The story broke on Wednesday 25 November following a police report on the discovery of an elderly woman's body in a house in Enniskillen and how police were searching for a man believed to be the woman's husband.

Across the station's news programmes Good Morning Ulster, Talkback, Evening Extra and Seven Days it emerged that the couple had been under enormous pressure as the wife had suffered from Alzheimer's and her husband of more than 60 years and her main carer had smothered her and then drowned himself in a lake close to their home.

Over the course of the next few days, Good Morning Ulster secured an interview with a lifelong friend who gave an insight into the elderly couple's situation and Evening Extra was given an exclusive interview with the couple's son who told of the pressure his parents were under.

The phone-in programme Talkback then interviewed two men whose wives had Alzheimer's which led to a moving debate in which listeners where given a real sense of the strain the disease puts couples under. The debate then continued on that weekend's Seven Days in which the issue of assisted dying was discussed.

Kathleen Carragher, Editor News, BBC Radio Ulster, says: "We are very honoured to receive this Sony Gold Award for Breaking News Coverage for the Alzheimer's Tragedy story. This was a very sensitive, difficult and at times harrowing subject. The award is a testament to the news reporters, presenters and programme teams who brought the story to listeners as it unfolded and examined the sensitive issues involved. We hope our listeners gained a deeper understanding of Alzheimer's through our coverage."

Also nominated in the Breaking News Coverage category were BBC Tees for its coverage of Corus Teesside mothballing, BBC Radio Cumbria for its coverage of the Cumbria floods, BBC London 94.9 for its coverage of the Peckham fire and BBC Radio Scotland for its coverage of the release of the Lockerbie Bomber.

This year's Sony Radio Academy Awards were presented by BBC Radio 2 presenter Chris Evans.

JM4

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