Media Release: Herald scoops record for Epilepsy Journalism Award

LESLEY Quinn’s exclusive Herald feature has won Epilepsy Scotland’s Journalist of the Year award for highlighting how Scotland international and Celtic player, Julie Ferguson, uses her condition to raise public awareness.

Nearly 200 corporate guests, including Julie Ferguson, will see Ms Quinn presented with her trophy and £500 prize tonight at the charity’s Edinburgh Wags fundraising event hosted by Radio Forth 1 presenter, Grant Stott.

The inspiring portrayal of this young woman and her decision to demystify public ignorance was powerful and engagingly told by novice journalist, Lesley Quinn. Her winning article, ‘The champion footballer who made beating epilepsy her goal’, won the votes of the panel.

This year’s judges included novelists Lin Anderson, Des Dillon and Alexander McCall Smith, with Scottish National Union of Journalists’ Secretary Paul Holleran and BBC Scotland’s head of News and Current Affairs, Atholl Duncan.

Runner-up, Jane Gregory, showcased a riveting story in the Sunday Mirror’s health epilepsy special, ‘I woke up and didn’t recognise my own husband’, while another Herald writer, Joan McFadden’s article, ‘A medical brainwave’, was highly commended.

Top writer, Lesley Quinn, remarked: “I am thrilled to be receiving this award as it means that my article has had the positive impact I hoped it would achieve. Julie is a fantastic role model and goes to show that living with epilepsy doesn’t have to stop you achieving so much. I am lucky that she agreed to share her story with me and I hope that anyone reading it will be inspired by her and the determination she has.”

Chief executive, Lesslie Young, commented: “A growing number of journalists are highlighting epilepsy issues and informing hearts and minds through their stories. Julie has used her profile to bring public attitudes into the 21st century. The impressive standard of writing from 31 entries made the shortlisting hard. The good news is the more people know about epilepsy, the more likely it is its social stigma will end.”

Other short-listed Award entrants included: Matthew Barbour (Daily Mail), Samantha Booth (Daily Record), Laura Coventry (Daily Record), Paul Reoch (Dundee Courier and Advertiser) and Nan Spowart (Daily Record).


Notes to Editor

* Photos and interviews:  Epilepsy Scotland’s Journalist of the Year Award winner, Lesley Quinn is available for interview. Contact Epilepsy Scotland for details. 

* Epilepsy Scotland works with people affected by epilepsy to ensure their voice is heard.  We campaign for improved healthcare, better information provision and an end to stigma. This common neurological condition affects one in 130 people. We represent nearly 40,000 people in Scotland with epilepsy, their families and carers.

* Our freephone Helpline (0808 800 2200) offers advice, support and information. People can email (, text 07786 209501, or download information from our website:

Lesley Quinn’s article in The Herald (4.3.10) profiled Julie Ferguson who felt embarrassed about having epilepsy and then decided to make having a health disorder into a positive. She is an epilepsy champion for national charity, Quarriers.

* Previous high-profile judges for our award include broadcasters Lorraine Kelly, Cathy MacDonald, Stephen Jardine and Jackie Bird; filmmaker Richard Jobson; and authors Ian Rankin, Denise Mina, Val McDermid, William McIlvanney, Alasdair Gray, Christopher Brookmyre and Bill Paterson.

* This is Epilepsy Scotland’s 12th Journalist of the Year award which is endorsed by the National Union of Journalists (Scotland). Previous Journalist of the Year award winners include Fiona Duffy (Daily Mirror 2010) and Louisa Pearson (Scotland on Sunday 2009).

* Four guest speakers for the Edinburgh Wags fundraising dinner in the Roxburghe Hotel in Edinburgh include Hugh Brown, Gordon Jackson QC, Tony Scott and Jojo Sutherland.

* For more details please call: Allana Parker, communications manager, Tel: 0141 419 1701   Mobile: 07884 012 147.

MEDIA RELEASE issued by Epilepsy Scotland. You too can post your story ideas for journalists (aka Press or media releases), on Email for more information.

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