MNA staff rewarded for making ‘positive difference’

Staff from across the Midland News Association have been honoured in the company’s first awards.

Twenty one awards, covering the full range of departments, were presented to employees at an event attended by 440 guests at Telford International Centre on Friday.

Among the leading winners were Oswestry & Border Chronicle, who won team of the year, the Express & Star Business Awards team, who won project team of the year, along with education advertising manager Sue Croft, who won team leader of the year.

Other notable successes included Express & Star business editor Simon Penfold, who won long serving employee of the year, Express & Star political editor Daniel Wainwright, winner of West Midlands journalist of the year, and feature writer Ben Bentley, who took home the Shropshire journalist prize.

On the advertising side, Amy Ward won classified advertising sales person of the year, the Farmer’s Neil Clarkson was Shropshire sales person of the year and Gwynneth Slavin won West Midlands sales person of the year.

Todd Nash won digital person of the year, Express & Star commissionaire Dave Walker won the public facing award, the Express & Star’s Lisa Broom was sub-editor of the year while Steve Box took the sports desk prize.

Managing director Phil Inman said: “These awards highlight the real difference our business makes.

“Our staff are loyal, hardworking and committed.

“We have a business to be proud of and a future to really believe in.“

The sponsors for the night were AMRA, Flint Group, Fuji, MJC Group, Norske Skog, Press Association, Precision Colour Printing, Renault, Resolute Forest Products, Wyatt International and drinks reception sponsor Goss.

In total, 21 winners were crowned on Friday night, from a field of 72 finalists.

Those shortlisted had made it through to the finals from an original entry list of 275 nominations.

The winners were delighted to be honoured in front of their colleagues.

Alison Jukes, regional sales manager for team of the year winners Oswestry & Border Chronicle, said: “We put in hours of hard work and we are honoured in taking the award. It has been a journey. Winning is an amazing feeling.”

Team leader of the year was Sue Croft, manager of the MNA education advertising team. Colleague Deana Jones collected it on her behalf. She said: “Sue is the ultimate manager. She has given us inspiration and she wouldn’t expect us to do anything she wouldn’t do herself.”

The Express & Star Business Awards organisers won the project team of the year prize.

Business advertising sales manager Darren Griffin said: “We are representing a project team who helped to make these awards a great success.

“We worked hard and to have that recognised tonight is terrific.”

New employee of the year winner Stephanie Harris, who works as a marketing advisor for the MNA, said: “I am over the moon. It is important to be nominated and great to have won.”

Services department employee of the year Doreen McGowan, who works at the Shropshire Star, said: “I am excited and surprised.

“It is great to have won the award.”

Long serving employee of the year Simon Penfold – the Express & Star’s business editor – said: “I am surprised and honoured. I never expected anything like this. It is a great idea to celebrate wins for the company.”

Classified advertising sales person of the year Amy Ward said: “To come here and have the crowd is an amazing idea. I am still shaking.”

Digital person of the year Todd Nash said: “I am delighted. It was great to win. It’s an award for the whole of the Shropshire Star.”

Driver/distribution team member of the year Craig Allen said: “I cannot believe it. These awards show you are appreciated. “

Production person of the year Ian Cartwright said: “My job is a team effort so I am pleased it has been recognised.”

Photographer of the year Tim Thursfield said: “I never thought I would get it.”

Dave Walker, a commissionaire at the Express & Star, won the public facing award. “I am gobsmacked,” he said. “It’s been a fantastic night and evening.”

The directors’ discretionary award when to MNA promotions manager Viv Birch – who organised the event. She said: “I was stunned and delighted to receive this award.”

Shropshire sales person of the year Neil Clarkson of the Farmer magazine: “Working on the Farmer, it is a small paper so this has been a great night.”

West Midland sales person of the year Gwynneth Slavin said: “I was delighted I was one of those shortlisted. I feel honoured.”

Circulation person of the year Stacy Ball said: “I am thrilled to win the award all for all of my colleagues. “

Shropshire journalist of the year was Ben Bentley. Star assistant editor Carl Jones collected on behalf of the winner.

He said: “Ben is an all rounder and writes for all the titles.

“He is great at getting ordinary people telling extraordinary stories.”

West Midlands journalist of the year Dan Wainwright said: “The people who are trying to write off local papers need to be shown that they are still important in local communities.”

The MNA winners and categories

The Midland News Association, publisher of the Wolverhampton-based Express & Star and the Ketley, Telford-based Shropshire Star newspapers, Real Awards winners were:

Public facing award: Dave Walker, commissionaire, Wolverhampton

Production person of the year: Ian Cartwright, deputy regional pre-press manager, Wolverhampton

Financial employee of the year: Vicky Bryan, chief cashier, Wolverhampton

Sub-editor of the year: Lisa Broom, sub-editor, Wolverhampton

Sports desk person of the year: Steve Box, sub editor, Wolverhampton

West Midlands journalist of the year: Daniel Wainwright, political editor, Wolverhampton

Photographer of the Year: Tim Thursfield, senior chief photographer, Wolverhampton

West Midlands sales person of the year: Gwynneth Slavin, sales representative, Wolverhampton

New employee of the year: Stephanie Harris, marketing advisor, group, Wolverhampton

Long serving employee of the year: Simon Penfold, business editor, Wolverhampton

Team leader: Sue Croft, advertising sales manager, Wolverhampton

Project team of the year: Express & Star Business Awards

Directors discretionary award winner: Viv Birch, promotions manager

Driver/distribution team member of the year: Craig Allen, distribution and loading bay supervisor, Ketley

Digital person of the year: Todd Nash, internet editor, Ketley

Services department employee of the year: Doreen McGowan, cleaning supervisor, Ketley

Shropshire journalist of the year: Ben Bentley, features writer, Ketley

Classified advertising sales person of the year: Amy Ward, telesales advisor, Ketley

Shropshire sales person of the year: Neil Clarkson, sales representative, Ketley

Circulation person of the year: Stacy Ball, customer services supervisor, Ketley

Team of the year: Oswestry & Border Chronicle