Top student Stewart gives prize to charity

Stewart with the Joliny family
Stewart with the Joliny family

Glasgow Caledonian University graduate Stewart Ward, from Newton Stewart, has been awarded the University’s top prize for journalism, and immediately donated his prize money to charity.

Stewart, who did work experience at The Galloway Gazette, won the Darren Joliny Prize in recognition of his outstanding performance in the BA (Hons) Multimedia Journalism programme.

The annual prize is presented by the Joliny family in memory of Journalism graduate Darren, who died in 2012 aged 21 while playing football, shortly after completing his GCU degree.

Stewart, who was also jointly awarded the Best Dissertation award said: “It’s such an honour to receive this prize, particularly as Darren’s family was there to present it. It was incredibly emotional for me and keeping Darren’s memory alive in this way makes the award very special.”

Stewart, who is working at The National, is to donate the prize money to classmate Megan O’Donnell’s organisation Football Unites, which is raising money for two charities - Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) and the Teenage Cancer Trust. She helped establish Football Unites in memory of her father, footballer Phil O’Donnell, who passed away in similar circumstances to Darren.

Darren’s sister Elena said: “Darren loved his time at GCU. His experiences here shaped him and gave him the confidence to take on the world. We have heard so much about Stewart’s amazing talent and potential and wish him all the best.”

Stewart added: “From Elena’s touching speech and from all I’ve read and heard about Darren, it’s very apparent he had a sense of community and fun. Those are the two qualities of this journalism course which I’ve always thought stood out, so I can understand why Darren left such an impression on all who knew him.

“Over the past four years I’ve been so lucky to have had fantastic classmates and lecturers, and the facilities available at GCU really helped me to give my all. To win a prize for that effort is an added bonus.”

Julian Calvert, Senior Journalism Lecturer, said: “Stewart has been an outstanding student throughout his time at GCU, equally at home in practical journalism work across all media but also with outstanding critical thinking and analytical skills. “It’s great to see that so many of those graduating are – like Stewart – already working in the industry.”