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Tribute to BBC South East sports reporter Neil Bell

June, 2018

The Kent Press & Broadcast Awards' sports award has been renamed in honour of BBC South East's reporter Neil Bell who died earlier this year.

'The Neil Bell Kent Sports Journalist of the Year Award' will be a lasting tribute to the reporter who covered sport across the South East for more than 30 years.

Affectionately known as Belly, Neil was the only person to have won the Kent Press & Broadcast Awards' (KPBA) Kent Sports Journalist of the Year title, having been successful in 2015, 2016 and 2017. 

Organised by Kent PR and marketing agency Maxim, KPBA was established in 2015 to recognise and reward local journalism.

Maxim's Rachel Knight said: "We didn't know Neil when we held the first KPBA ceremony but it soon became clear he was not only a lovely man and extremely popular, he was also incredibly humble every time he won an award."  

Over the years the KPBA judges described Neil's work as 'classy, consistently good stuff' and often called him 'a clear winner', producing 'professional and well-paced' material.

"The decision to rename the sports award was almost taken out of our hands as so many people asked if there was a way we could honour Neil," continued Rachel. "To win three times was a great achievement so it seems only right to make a lasting tribute. 

"We hold the awards ceremony at the Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence, Canterbury which we know was very special to Neil - he remembered having his interest in sport sparked when his father took him to watch Kent play the West Indies in the early 1960s."  

Neil Bell died in March 2018 at the age of 61 after a battle with cancer. At the time tributes poured in from sports minister Tracey Crouch, Brands Hatch, Gillingham FC, Brighton & Hove Albion, not to mention his BBC South East colleagues including BBC Radio Kent's John Warnett.

Watch some of Belly's best moments below, thanks to BBC South East. 

BBC South East Today Neil Bell playout VT - Monday 12th March, 2018 from Journalist Ben on Vimeo.

posted in: maxim/client news,

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