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Page last updated at 14:17 GMT, Friday, 9 October 2009 15:17 UK
Gold Gillard for BBC Radio Devon

The Frank Gillard Award
The Gillard was awarded for BBC Radio Devon's coverage of a breaking story

BBC Radio Devon has picked up the top prize in The Frank Gillard Awards for its coverage of the snow storms in February 2009.

The accolades recognise excellence in BBC local radio broadcasting.

The ceremony, at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Nottingham, was hosted by Test Match Special commentator Johnathan Agnew.

The awards themselves were presented by Michael Lyons, chairman of the BBC Trust.

On the evening of Thursday 5 February, 2009, snow fell heavily over parts of Devon.

Hundreds of people spent the night stuck in their cars on the A38 and A380 at Haldon Hill, as the snow came down harder and faster than the salt and grit could cope with.

Schedules discarded

BBC Radio Devon's Vic Morgan was on air at the time, presenting The Late Show.

"When we started to get an unusual amount of phone-calls, around a quarter past 10, I knew something out of the ordinary was happening," said Vic.

BBC Radio Devon Presenter Vic Morgan

"It was about midnight when the decision was taken to continue broadcasting through the night - although we sort of knew before that it would be unfair to stop at the usual time and leave those people stranded."

The schedules were discarded and Vic's show continued until Matt Woodley took over at 0400 with an extended breakfast show.

"The only company for those people stuck in their cars was the radio," said Vic.

"At one point I asked everyone to flash their lights if they were listening to BBC Radio Devon - and the whole road lit up."

Chairman of judges, the BBC's Deputy Director of News, Stephen Mitchell paid tribute to the team:

"The way BBC Radio Devon handled a really difficult and breaking story, at a time of day which is not the best in terms of staffing, and the way they were able to deal with a very confused situation which needed factual information for their audience, and finally the way they tapped into the wealth of experience and eye-witness accounts that the audience could bring to them, for me demonstrated the really good relationship the radio station has with its audience."

A30 at Okehampton during the snow of February 2009
MPC Steve Thomson was working nights and took this picture on the A30

BBC Radio Devon's Managing Editor, Mark Grinnell, was also excited by the win:

"I'm very pleased to pick this up on behalf of a team who did what local radio does best; to respond to breaking stories as they happen, and get the community on, being part of the station."

The Gillard will now take pride of place in BBC Radio Devon's trophy cabinet.

Frank Gillard was a distinguished BBC war correspondent and was the driving force behind creating BBC local radio.




SEE ALSO
BBC legend Frank Gillard dead
21 Oct 98 |  UK
BBC Radio Devon's Gillard Entry
09 Oct 09 |  TV & Radio

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