Sports fans have chance to quiz top journalists

Paul Hayward is the award-wining chief sports writer of The Telegraph
Paul Hayward is the award-wining chief sports writer of The Telegraph

Some of the country’s top sports journalists are taking part in a fundraiser next month.

Some of the country’s top sports journalists are taking part in a fundraiser next month in a bid to generate some money for a community centre.

Nick Szczepanik, an Albion fan and football reporter for The Independent on Sunday, is chairing a panel at Exeter Street Hall on Friday, November 14, from 7.30pm.

The hugely-experienced writer will pose questions to a collection of leading lights from the world of sports coverage, including the Daily Telegraph’s multi-award-winning chief sports writer Paul Hayward.

Also included in the line-up are: Lynne Truss, former sports feature writer with The Times and author of Get Her Off The Pitch; Brian Oliver, former sports editor of The Observer and author of the definitive book on the Commonwealth Games; Mick Cleary, rugby correspondent of the Daily Telegraph; and Paul Weaver, Formula One correspondent of The Guardian and co-author of Flight of the Martlets: the Golden Age of Sussex Cricket.

According to Mr Szczepanik, the night represents a superb opportunity for local sports fans to quiz some of the biggest names in journalism - with something for everyone.

He said: “Paul Hayward knows about every sport under the sun while the others are experts in certain fields but, like almost every sports writer, have been called upon to report in other areas.

“I'm a football and NFL specialist, but I've covered tennis, croquet, four-in-hand carriage-driving, you name it.

“There'll be questions sent in beforehand in the first half, Question Time-style, and then questions from the floor in the second.

“I'm sure there will be questions about the Rugby World Cup, Sussex cricket, and the Albion as well as the big stories of the moment, but I'm also expecting more general enquiries about why there aren't more women in the sports media - Lynne can tell some revealing stories about that - and the role of the media in sport.”

And, of course, it is all for a good cause, as Mr Szczepanik explained: “Exeter Street Hall was and is a well-used local resource and the local community was given a chance to buy it when St Luke's church, the owners, had to sell.

“We were able to raise enough money to keep it out of the hands of developers and now we all own a share on a not-for-profit basis. But things like roof repairs don't come cheap.”

Tickets are £8 or £5 for concessions and can be ordered online at: www.exeterstreethall.org.