A RADIO star is making waves after scooping a top UK prize for a feature about life after the decline of the mining industry in South Tyneside.
Diane Gray, community development manager at Hive (Community Radio and Artists Studio), based at Bede’s World, in Church Bank, Jarrow, has won the Silver Charles Parker Prize for Best Student Radio Feature 2014.
The radio special looked at how ex-pitmen in South Tyneside have coped after the closure of the mines.
Mrs Gray, who said she was “delighted” with the honour, said: “The prize was open to any student studying radio production at further or higher education establishments throughout the United Kingdom. I am studying for an MA in radio production and management at Sunderland University.
“I began the course in September last year after taking up the role of community development manager at Hive Radio in May 2013.
“I had been volunteering with the radio since it started in 2012, but it was completely new to me.
“I knew I would need to do some training and there was an opportunity to do the MA in Sunderland, which meant I could also continue to work at Hive.
“Thanks to the support of my family, as well as Dr Kathy Cremin and Mike Benson at Bede’s World, I have been able to manage to combine the two.
“I have achieved something I would never have thought possible this time last year.”
Mrs Gray’s prize includes a two-week placement with an independent production company.
The prize-winning feature will be broadcast on Radio 4 Extra on April 26, at 2pm.
Called Where Are They Now?, the feature includes ex-miners talking about how they coped and how South Shields changed after the closure of the town’s Westoe Colliery 20 years ago.
The feature was inspired by the early radio ballads produced by Charles Parker, Peggy Seeger and Ewan MacColl.
Dr Cremin, for Bede’s World, said: “What Diane’s unbelievable journey and achievement means for Hive and Bede’s World is that through Diane, we not only have an inspiring advocate and capable trainer to work with volunteers; we also have the capacity to enter BBC commissioning rounds, to produce quality heritage content for museums and other organisations, and the talent to further establish a unique and compelling brand that connects voice activism and heritage through excellent, professional, quality work, in a way that is at the forefront of museum practice.”