MMA judges line-up

Experienced journalists, broadcasters, photographers and bloggers will be on the final judging panel for this year’s Midlands Media Award.

Chairman of the judging panel is Daily Mail columnist and Consultant Editor Andrew Pierce, who started his journalistic career in the Midlands.

Joining Andrew on the judging panel will be:

  •  Beth Goodrham, former lawyer, now personal stylist, TV presenter and founder of daily blog, Style Guile
  •  Bob Calver, senior lecturer in journalism at BCU. Former news editor of a public sector news site, ex-magazine editor and former BBC reporter, producer and news editor.
  • Chris James, ex-BBC and ITV newsreader and reporter, now managing director of Made in Birmingham TV
  • John James, award-winning photographer formerly with Birmingham Post & Mail. Now, in-demand freelance.
  • John Lamb, ex-Fleet Street journalist now Press & PR director at Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce
  • Katie Cohen, former corporate and financial PR, now with HSBC media relations team in Birmingham
  • Marc Kirsten, former newspaper photographer, now specialising in commercial photography and freelancing for newspapers and magazines
  • Paul Fulford, journalist and blogger, specialising in writing for the food and drink sector
  • Peter Brookes, senior Staffordshire University lecturer in sports journalist, former television news editor and ex-managing director of Manchester United TV
  • Richard Lutz, ex-newspaper journalist, TV news editor and documentary maker who now runs his own media training company
  • Stacey Barnfield, ex-editor of Birmingham Post, now director of Edwin Ellis Creative Media


John Lamb

John Lamb

Les in the Editor’s Chair

Les Reid

Les Reid

An award-winning reporter who has worked for both daily and weekly titles on his hometown patch has gained his first editorship. Les Reid, pictured here after his success at the Midlands Media Awards in 2013, won multiple awards in his former role as political reporter of the Coventry Telegraph before leaving the paper in 2014.

He later joined free weekly rival the Coventry Observer where he continued to carry out a series of investigations into the running of Coventry City Football Club as well as the city council.

Les has now been promoted from the role of deputy editor at the Bullivant Media-owned title to the editor’s chair.

While at the Coventry Telegraph, Les was named Columnist of the Year at the Regional Press Awards for 2012 and was also Midlands Journalist of the Year in both 2012 and 2013, having achieved success at the Birmingham Press Club-organised events.

Earlier this year, Les he was shortlisted at the Regional Press Awards in the weekly sports journalist of the year category.

Meanwhile, the Birmingham Mail’s advance sports content writer Aidan McCartney is now on secondment at Devon Live, while Express & Star reporter Nathan Briant has left the Wolverhampton-based daily to join the Oxford Mail as local government reporter. Katrina Chilver is a new recruit at the Leicester Mercury, joining as  digital journalist/assistant digital editor from sister title the Coventry Telegraph where she was a reporter.

Fancy a Flight With the Press Club?

Press Club director Clive Reeves enjoyed himself last year

Press Club director Clive Reeves enjoyed himself last year

BIRMINGHAM Press Club is taking to the skies again.

It will be having its second high flying evening of fun and food and members and their guests are invited to put on the googles and leather hats.

In conjunction with our friends at Take Flight Aviation, the Press Club, has organised an evening of flying and fish and chips at Wellesbourne Airfield near Stratford-upon-Avon.

After a short briefing we will take to the skies over Warwickshire with the chance of enjoy some spectacular views and get some great photographs and video.

Flights will last about half an hour after which there will be drinks and a fish and chip supper on the flying club terrace – weather permitting.

The evening starts at 5.30pm on Thursday, September 7 and will replace the usual Press Club drop-in.

It is best to book early to avoid disappointment – the cost for the flight, food and drink is £45.

For more information or to book a place contact Adrian Kibbler, telephone 07831 690940, email


David Ramsden with Claire Brunning

David Ramsden with Claire Brunning

Press Club sponsor HSBC, currently continuing with the move of its UK headquarters to Birmingham, has further strengthened its corporate banking team in the West Midlands with four new senior appointments.

Markus Keller has been appointed deputy head of corporate banking for the Midlands; Claire Brunning, head of corporate banking for Birmingham; David Ramsden, head of corporate banking for the North and South West Midlands with Emma Hallam as deputy head.

In their new roles, they will lead a team of experienced corporate banking specialists in delivering bespoke, relationship-led services to support the growth of the bank’s customers in the Midlands. 

Gary Burton, regional director for corporate banking in the Midlands, said, “Markus, Claire, David and Emma bring unique skill sets and the right financial knowledge to our growing team in the Midlands. Over the years, HSBC has been committed to supporting customers and helping businesses in the region to grow and finance their international trading needs. 

The appointments continue HSBC’s strong investment in the region, which includes the move of its UK headquarters to Birmingham, and follows a period of strong business growth. Gary added: “The Midlands is one of the fastest growing regions in the UK and as such we’re heavily investing in people in the region to keep pace with the ambitions of local businesses and professional communities.”

Meanwhile, Birmingham City University has secured a £45m Revolving Credit Facility from HSBC to support three construction projects - the building of a new Birmingham Conservatoire, an extension to The Curzon Building at City Centre Campus and the extension to the Seacole building at City South Campus.

The University’s Conservatoire is the first complete new build conservatoire in the UK since 1987, and will provide state-of-the-art performance space. The new Curzon Building extension will house over 3,000 students and members of staff and features more than 650-rooms, a Student Hub, lecture theatre and mock courtrooms, adding a 100,000 sq ft extension. The new Seacole Building will accommodate the relocated School of Education as well as the new School of Life Sciences.

HSBC’s Jon Bramwell said: “This deal reflects the wider development and growth which Birmingham is currently experiencing while also investing in its future.  We are keen to continue to develop our strategic partnership with local universities given the establishment of our UK headquarters in Birmingham’s Enterprise Zone.”

Gamers – Are You Ready?

Nick Reid – winner of the Newcomer of the Year category in the Press Club’s 2016 Midlands Media Awards – has embarked upon a new challenge.

Together with fellow-Tamworth Herald reporter Sam Jones and colleague Greg Dando, who works in sales and online support, he is taking part in a 24-hour non-stop ‘gameathon’ to raise money for charity.

Competing in a live-streamed event, they are raising funds for Macmillan Game Heroes, part of Macmillan Cancer Support.

“I’ve held fundraisers in the past for different charities and hospices after losing very close friends to cancer,” said Sam, who has organised the ‘gameathon.’ “It’s a horrible disease and funding care and support for those living with it, as well as research to one day cure it, is so important.

“After two charity football matches and a swimathon, I fancied a different challenge – so we decided to use one of our passions and hobbies as a great way to raise money – gaming.

“We’ve set an original target of £250, but we’d be over the moon if generous readers, friends, family and fellow gamers can dig deep into their pockets and help us smash that target.

“It’s likely that most people reading this will have been affected by cancer in some way, whether you have it or know someone who has it, so please help support the lovely people at Macmillan and the work that they do on a daily basis.”

The event, originally due to take place in July, has now been re-arranged for 17 August, commencing at 8pm.

To sponsor them, click here.

More sponsorship support for Midlands Media Awards

Bareface Media, the award-winning advertising and marketing agency, whose Birmingham office is located at the Custard Factory, a leading hub for creative and digital businesses, is the latest company to sign up as a sponsor of the Midlands Media Awards.

It joins the ranks of headline sponsor HSBC, The High Field gastropub in Edgbaston and Jewellery Quarter-based Russell Printers.

Group Managing Director Simon Morris (pictured), who founded Bareface Media in 2008, said: “We can’t wait to celebrate and reward the best of the best in the Midlands.”

The agency, which employs 25 people, also has bases in Singapore and Sydney and includes Facebook, Porsche and ATS Euromaster amongst its list of clients. It offers content production, brand creative and strategy, social strategy, integrated campaigns and web development.

The Awards are this year being organised by Milk and Mayo, a Birmingham-based events company, on behalf of Birmingham Press Club. They are held to recognise the achievements of journalists, broadcasters, photographers and bloggers throughout the East and West Midlands.

Canalside, the waters-edge venue located at The Cube, is to host the awards, which take place on 2 November. Deadline for entries is 12 August.

Club chairman Llewela Bailey said:  “The Awards are now in their 16th year and we are delighted that they continue to be as popular as ever – both with entrants and sponsors.”


One of the region’s oldest charity events is set to celebrate its 40th year.  The Journalists’ Charity is holding its annual Greyhound Night in Birmingham on 14 October. But for the first time the race night will not be held at Hall Green Stadium, which is closing next month after 90 years of greyhound racing.

This year the event will take place at Perry Barr stadium,  which is also run by the Greyhound Racing Association. Perry Barr was founded in 1929, two years after Hall Green opened.

The Journalists’ Charity popular fund-raiser was started in 1978 by former Midlands press photographer Gerry Armes (pictured), who had been helping fellow journalists since the 1950s.

He helped resurrect the regional branch of the Newspaper Press Fund which later changed its name to the Journalists’ Charity. He became a national trustee of the charity and chaired the Midlands branch until 2008 – his 80th birthday – when he became the branch President, a position he still holds today as well as looking after the accounts as branch Treasurer.

Gerry, a former chairman of Birmingham Press Club, started his career with the Birmingham Gazette and Evening Despatch and later joined the Post and Mail where he became chief sports photographer. He has been responsible for helping the Midlands branch raise nearly £500,000 for the charity.

“I never thought when we started the greyhound nights all that time ago that we would be celebrating our 40th year,” said Gerry. “It has been an extremely successful event over the years and we have had magnificent support from our sponsors. I am hoping they will rally round once again on this special occasion.”

The charity’s current Midlands district chairman Derek Inman said: “At one time it looked as if we would have to abandon the event, but we are looking forward to our new partnership with the Greyhound Racing Association at Perry Barr. The Greyhound night is one of the oldest charity events in the Midlands and I am delighted we are going to be able to carry on again this year.”

Tickets for the Greyhound Night are £37 each to include a three course meal in the Grandstand Restaurant. Tables are available for groups of eight people. Individual race sponsorship packages cost £350. For bookings contact Val Deeleyat

The charity was founded by Charles Dickens among others in 1864. The Queen is its Patron.


One of Britain’s top newspaper writers is to be chairman of the judging panel at this year’s Midlands Media Awards – organised by Birmingham Press Club to acknowledge the achievements of the region’s journalists, broadcasters and photographers.


Andrew Pierce (pictured), who spent part of his early career on the Birmingham Evening Mail, is a columnist and Consultant Editor on the Daily Mail, which he joined in 2009. He is also a former assistant editor of the Daily Telegraph and The Times.

Andrew, who has chaired the panel on two previous occasions, said: “Having started my career in the Midlands, it is always a pleasure to return to the region, which has always been a ‘hotbed’ for news and a breeding ground for producing journalists of the highest calibre.”

In addition to his regular columns in the Daily Mail, Andrew is well-known for his highly popular double act with the Daily Mirror’s Kevin Maguire, reviewing, previewing and dissecting the media and politics on Sky News.

Press Club president Bob Warman announced Andrew’s decision to act as chairman of the judging panel at an Editors’ Lunch, held at Simpson’s Restaurant, Edgbaston, to officially launch this year’s media awards, which are being sponsored by HSBC.

Bob said:  “Andrew has been a staunch supporter of the Press Club over a number of years and we are delighted he is able to contribute to the success of the awards once again.”

The awards, now in their 16th year, are to be held on 2 November at Canalside, the waters-edge venue located within The Cube, one of Birmingham’s iconic landmark buildings. This year, seven of the 16 categories are also open to media students who are on recognised courses at universities and colleges in the region.

Entries will initially be scrutinised by a panel of professionals who will then submit a shortlist to the final judging panel. Details on how to enter the awards are on

Ticket prices for the event are £80 (including VAT) for individuals, while tables of ten are available at £750 (including VAT).  For further information regarding the awards, sponsorship opportunities and tickets contact Lotty Harper at Milk and Mayo event management on 07815 831 554 or email

“Wizard” Idea from Express and Star

The Wolverhampton-based Express and Star – the nation’s biggest-selling regional daily - is experimenting with augmented reality technology that enables smartphone users to turn newspaper photos into moving images on its pages. 

When viewed through a special app on a smartphone readers see interactive animations.

Deputy editor Diane Davies (pictured) said: “We were initially introduced to the idea of augmented reality at the end of last year by Creative Black Country who we work closely with regarding coverage of the arts in the region. They asked us to publicise the 100 Masters campaign (which promotes artists and creative people from the Black Country) which we were happy to do, and then demonstrated augmented reality to myself and digital editor Mike Woods asking whether we would be interested in trialing it in the Express & Star as part of the 100 Masters project.

“We jumped at the idea. The thought of additional content jumping out of our pages was very exciting,” said Diane. 

The innovation has been compared to fictional newspaper ‘The Daily Prophet’, found in the Harry Potter series of books and films, which is read by wizards and features moving images instead of still pictures.

E&S reporter Doug Wootton is coordinating the paper’s 100 Masters editorial coverage and has worked closely with the developers on the project.

Liam Smyth, 100 Masters creative producer, said: “This is an exciting first, as we have worked in collaboration with the Express & Star, the country’s biggest regional newspaper, to bring artwork into thousands of households across the West Midlands. This is what the future of media looks like and, as ever, the Black Country are leading the way in revolutionising the way we make, see and do things.”

Nervous in front of a microphone? Then let Gary allay your fears

Midlands-based broadcaster Gary Newbon – a veteran of more than 10,000 television programmes during a career spanning more than 50 years – is using his experience to launch a new business venture.

In establishing an enterprise specialising in TV training, public speaking training and voice coaching, Gary (pictured) will be passing on his secrets to business executives and professionals who dread the prospect of speaking – and even drying up – in front of live audiences. 

By using state-of-the-art television studios around the country, Gary, who has teamed up with voice coach Sylvia Cohen, will be able to take a select number of people for all-day training sessions. Sylvia is a renowned expert on body language, vocal techniques, accent and delivery.

During his impressive broadcasting career, Gary covered seven football World Cups, three Olympic Games, sparred verbally with Muhammad Ali and Brian Clough and dodged the hairdryer treatment from Sir Alex Ferguson. And he also enjoyed countless live TV encounters with giants of the sporting world, such as Pele and Chris Eubank.

“The biggest fear for many leading business executives or those with important public roles is speaking in public or to large groups of people,” said Gary. “Broadcasting holds similar apprehensions and fears – if not more so.”

“The image you portray as a representative of your organisation when you are speaking in public is crucial. It may be the only opportunity you have to deliver your message, “said Gary, who started his lifetime-in-television career working for Westward ITV in Plymouth.

He added: “In the worlds of TV and public speaking there have been howlers that have cost people their reputations, money and in some cases their jobs.

“Famous examples include Gerald Ratner’s ill judged attempt at humour with “our products are crap” comment which wiped fortunes off the jewellery company’s share value; football’s Ron Atkinson’s racist off-guarded remark in 2004 which still affects him today; the unfortunate sexist comments by football broadcasters Richard Keys and Andy Gray which cost them their jobs at Sky Sports and former Prime Minister Gordon Brown calling an elderly woman voter a “bigot,” unaware that a TV microphone was still attached to him!

“All this can be avoided if you are aware that you are never alone with a microphone.

“Another pitfall for interviewees is being doorstepped and caught unawares. I can help ease your fears in that area too,” said Gary, who can be contacted via email at


  • Gary will be guest speaker at a network breakfast meeting at Hotel du Vin, Birmingham, on Thursday, 6 July. The event is organised by 7LOCO ( a team of influencers, innovators and business leaders



Birmingham Press Club sponsor HSBC has launched a £1 billion lending fund to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the West Midlands, as part of a broader commitment to helping British businesses realise their ambitions for growth.

 The fund is part of a wider £10bn fund for SMEs across the UK.

 Martin Hanson, HSBC’s Regional Director for the Midlands, said: “The launch of this fund reaffirms our commitment to support the growth of West Midlands based SMEs of all sizes, from start-ups to established businesses.  We have so many ambitious businesses in our region who are keen to grow locally, nationally and internationally. This fund is all about helping those businesses make investments that will enable them to achieve their goals while stimulating our local economy and creating jobs." 

A major focus of this year’s fund is to encourage small businesses to feel confident about exploring opportunities for export.

Amanda Murphy (pictured), Head of Commercial Banking at HSBC UK, added: “SMEs are the lifeblood of the UK economy, and for many there is an opportunity and appetite to grow their business through exporting. HSBC can provide access to new trading networks for businesses of all sizes, help them to understand how they can consider exporting with confidence, and has the expertise to help businesses navigate change by being responsive, flexible and nimble.”

Halesowen-based manufacturer, was one of the West Midlands firms to benefit from last year’s SME Fund., the leading manufacturer and supplier of portable photobooth systems, secured a £600,000 finance package from HSBC to assist in the purchase of a new commercial premises to allow the company to significantly increase its business capacity.

Meanwhile, a Birmingham-based doctor’s surgery has secured a six-figure business loan from HSBC enabling it to extend and renovate its premises, creating additional space for the surgery to attend to patients. Pound Road Surgery in Druids Heath, has been providing medical assistance to local residents for more than 40 years. The HSBC finance has enabled the surgery to expand its premises, with a new extension for wheelchair access and a renovated reception. 

New city centre setting for Midlands Media Awards

One of Birmingham’s contemporary new events venues is to host this year’s prestigious Midlands Media Awards. 

The awards, organised by Birmingham Press Club to celebrate the achievements of the region’s journalists, photographers, broadcasters and bloggers, will take place at Canalside, the waters-edge facility located within The Cube, one of Birmingham’s iconic landmark buildings.

Press Club chairman Llewela Bailey (pictured) said:  “The awards are now in their 16th year and, despite the print world being embroiled in a period of major change, they continue to be a hotly-contested and much-anticipated highlight of the Press Club calendar.

“Over the years, the standard of entries has got higher and higher. So we are once more looking forward to being able to showcase the incredible professionalism of media specialists who are certainly amongst the best in the country, and are delighted to again welcome HSBC as headline sponsor.”

HSBC UK is currently building its new national head office at Arena Central in Birmingham city centre to serve its personal and business customers and by mid-2017 expects to be employing more than 3,500 staff in the city.

Oliver Wall, Head of External Affairs, Europe, said: “We are delighted to be sponsoring the Midlands Media Awards again this year. The awards highlight the true calibre of talent based in the Midlands.”

This year, seven of the 16 categories are also open to media students who are on recognised courses at universities and colleges in the region.

Entries will initially be scrutinised by a panel of professionals who will then submit a shortlist to the final judging panel. Details on how to enter the awards are on

 Ticket prices for the event are £80 (including VAT) for individuals, while tables of ten are available at £750 (including VAT).

For further information regarding the awards, sponsorship opportunities and tickets contact Lotty Harper at Milk and Mayo event management on 07815 831 554 or email

Death of Evening Mail’s former London Editor

Jack Foster, former London Editor of the Birmingham Evening Mail, has died (on 14 May) at his home in Harrogate, aged 85. He had been suffering from cancer.

During his successful career, Jack also became Political Editor at Westminster Press, a regional group which owned a chain of 60 newspapers.

Paying tribute, John Hipwood, a former Lobby Correspondent on the Express and Star, said: "Jack was a lovely man, a gentleman in every way and a great Midlands competitor. He loved sport and will have been relieved to have seen his beloved West Ham maintain their Premier League status this season. He was a great supporter too of cricket, dividing his loyalties between Essex and his home county of Yorkshire.

“His death will be a particular blow to several current members of the Press Gallery, who worked under Jack's tutelage during his time as London Editor of Westminster Press,” added John.

London-based Nevill Boyd Maunsell, who retired in 2013 as Birmingham Post Economics Editor after a near-40 year career with the newspaper, recalled: “Jack steered the London office of the Evening Mail with unfailing good sense and good humour in the mid-1970s at a time of great turbulence for the Evening Mail and its sister paper The Birmingham Post.

“Members of the National Union of Journalists in Birmingham were on strike for eleven weeks at one time, in a dispute that did not formally involve their colleagues in London. Jack handled with great aplomb the division between those who went on writing for papers produced by their editors and members of the Institute of Journalists and those who felt they should support their NUJ colleagues in Birmingham.

  “It was largely due to Jack's calm and common-sense that the bitter feuding that developed in Birmingham never spread to his London office. No mean achievement,” added Nevill.

Reg Harcourt, former Political Editor with ATV, said: “It must be 50 years since I first met Jack. We both came to Birmingham from different newspapers in Nottingham for jobs on the Evening Despatch and ended up in digs in the same big rambling house in Farquhar Road ,Edgbaston.

“We both went our separate ways when he left to work in London while I stayed on at the Despatch before joining ATV.  

“Years later our paths crossed again - in the House of Commons. Jack was in the Press Gallery while I was a less frequent visitor to the Lobby - both of us with very different deadlines.

 “But I will always remember him as a really good bloke, both socially and professionally.”

The funeral service will be at 2.20 pm on 30 May at Stonefall Cemetery and Crematorium, Wetherby Road, Harrogate, HG3 1DE

Boost for care provider after securing finance from HSBC

A Midlands-based care group has purchased two new care businesses after securing an £840,000 finance package from Birmingham Press Club sponsor HSBC. 

iBC Healthcare is one of the UK’s largest and fastest growing specialist care providers for adults with learning disabilities and mental health issues. The business, which provides support to over 160 individuals with disabilities, has used the loan from HSBC to acquire two care businesses in Birmingham and Derbyshire.

iBC Healthcare, headquartered in Leicestershire, has purchased Forward Day Services, Birmingham, which promotes independence and provides support for service users who have a variety of complex needs, and Tarry Hill Residential Service in High Peak, which offers support to people with learning disabilities & autism.

The deal will aide iBC Healthcare in responding to increased demand for health and social care facilities across the region and will also lead to the creation two new managerial roles to support the newly acquired services and provide a better experience for service users. The acquisitions also mean that iBC Healthcare now holds further contracts with Leicester City Council, Leicestershire County Council, Nottingham City Council, Nottinghamshire County Council and Derbyshire County Council, with the aim to attain more facilities across the UK this year.

Debbie Harper, HSBC’s Area Director for Business Banking in Coventry & Warwickshire, said: “iBC Healthcare has an outstanding reputation for service delivery within the sector and the support from HSBC will enable the group to continue to respond to the growing requirements from different local authorities and provide tailored support for a variety of complex needs.  

The funding was arranged by HSBC Relationship Director, Rakesh Patel, pictured here with Nizam Bata (left), managing director of iBC Healthcare.

Meanwhile, HSBC has also provided a loan to PKF Cooper Parry, the business advisory and accountancy firm, which went towards the fit-out of its new flagship offices at Blythe Valley, Solihull.

Roger Pratt, Area Director for Corporate Banking at HSBC in the East Midlands, said: “PKF Cooper Parry has a strong plan for growing beyond the Midlands and this new base will create the perfect platform for that expansion.”

James Parnell, Chief Financial Officer at PKF Cooper Parry, said: “We’re grateful for the financial support HSBC provided to enable the move to Blythe Valley Business Park and the creation of our fantastic new office.  

Tributes to ex-Midlands journalist who pioneered Sky Sports football coverage

A former Sports Editor of the Birmingham Evening Mail, who went on to pioneer Sky Sport’s acclaimed coverage of Premier League football, has died at the age of 73.

Vic Wakeling, who rose to become Sky Sports managing director, also worked in print journalism in the north of England and enjoyed a successful career in Fleet Street before moving into television in 1980.

John Lamb, vice-president of Birmingham Press Club and Press and PR director at Greater Birmingham Chamber, said: “I worked with Vic Wakeling on both the Birmingham Mail and in Fleet Street and he was one of the most talented journalists I knew.  I was his deputy when he was Sports Editor of the London Evening News. His professionalism and attention to detail was second to none. When the News closed Vic went into television and made a significant and lasting impression, rising to managing director of Sky News. 

“He used his innate sense of knowing what sports fans wanted to read and see to the huge benefit of Sky Television and his influence on the shape of coverage will be enjoyed for many years to come.”

Vic became managing director of Sky Sports in the autumn of 1998, with responsibilities for Sky News added in 2007, through to his retirement in 2009. At his retirement party, Rupert Murdoch, in a video tribute, spoke of a "much-loved colleague, who revolutionised sports broadcasting with breadth and depth, raising the bar for the whole country, taking the bravest of risks, he leaves behind a truly great legacy, Sky Sports, still hungry for more. It is time to take a bow, but how much you have done. It's been a pleasure and privilege to be with you. I thank you for playing a part in this truly great venture".

Vic was Sky's Head of Sport from 1994 and Head of Football from 1991.

Barney Francis, managing director of Sky Sports said: "Very few people have had a greater impact on sport in the UK and Ireland than Vic Wakeling. As head of Sky Sports for over 15 years, Vic's vision, belief and investment helped transform sport on pitch and off. At a time when sport was undervalued and underfunded, Vic helped create Sky Sports and with it a platform that sport deserved.

"We are truly saddened and sorry to lose a pioneer, a colleague and a friend."

Jeremy Darroch, group CEO of Sky added: "As managing director of Sky Sports, Vic Wakeling took sport from the evening bulletins and made it part of the national conversation through dedicated channels, innovative production and award-winning analysis.

"Vic's foresight and passion drove investment, interest and participation in sports at all levels and his legacy is the spectacle that sport plays in the lives of millions every day."

Premier League executive chairman, Richard Scudamore, also paid tribute, highlighting Vic’s professional and personal integrity.

He said: "All at the Premier League are so sorry to hear of Vic Wakeling's passing and our thoughts are with his family. His achievements are well documented, including the revolution he brought to the innovative ways in which sport is now broadcast.

"We will remember him just as much for the professionalism and integrity he displayed at all times and for being the most decent of people."

Vic moved into television in 1980 with TVS then moved to Mark McCormack's IMG before joining satellite channel BSB. He had been with BSkyB since its formation in 1990.

He had previously worked in print journalism in the north and midlands before moving to Fleet Street with The Observer, Daily Express, People and London Evening News.

Joining Sky Sports at its launch, Vic was one of the team who established the new service and developed its acclaimed coverage of the Premier League from August 1992.

He oversaw Sky Sports growth into a network of five dedicated sports channels - Sky Sports 1, Sky Sports 2, Sky Sports 3, Sky Sports Xtra and Sky Sports News - and three high definition channels.

His channels are renowned for their quality live broadcasts, depth of coverage and wide range of sports. He also oversaw the rise of - the UK's most successful commercial sports site.

During his time there were numerous on-screen innovations, including bringing viewers the world's first live interactive sport, the first round-the-clock sports news channel and the move into HD broadcasting.

He won lifetime achievement awards at the 2007 Sports Industry Awards and 2008 Broadcast Awards.

In 2011, Vic was awarded a CBE in the Queen's birthday honours. The award was recognition for the role he played in revolutionising both British football and television coverage of the sport.

Vic, who died on Monday, 15 May, is survived by his widow, Susan, and four children, Sally, Rob, Caroline and Kate.