Sunday Post reporter Gordon Blackstock nominated for prestigious award for Smyllum coverage

The former Smyllum Park Orphange (Andrew Cawley / DC Thomson)
The former Smyllum Park Orphange (Andrew Cawley / DC Thomson)

A Sunday Post reporter has been nominated for a prestigious award for campaigning and investigative journalism.

Gordon Blackstock has been shortlisted for Private Eye’s Paul Foot Award for his work investigating Smyllum Park Orphanage.

The revelations surrounding the Lanarkshire children’s home were harrowing and heart-breaking, and finally allowed living victims the chance to share their stories.

Smyllum children’s home revelations central to The Sunday Post’s recognition as Newspaper of the Year

Gordon said: “It’s a real honour and privilege to be shortlisted for this award, especially when you consider the calibre of the others on the shortlist.

“It took a lot of hard work and plenty of hours to bring the Smyllum Park orphanage issue into the light.

“Ultimately, I hope our story gives those whose relatives died at Smyllum Park what they have always wanted – the deaths to be acknowledged by the organisation who was meant to be looking after them.”

The Sunday Post’s investigation centred on how many had died while in the care of Smyllum Park orphanage in Lanarkshire between 1864 and 1981, run by the catholic order the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul.

A genealogy researcher combed through more than 15,000 death certificates, and the investigation found that more than 400 children had died and were buried in an unmarked grave.

By the third week of our coverage, the religious order had promised to build a memorial for the children in St Mary’s cemetery that would finally name all those who had died.

The Sunday Post’s evidence was submitted to the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry.

Gordon’s work has already been recognised with a hat-trick of awards at the Scottish Press Awards.

He was named Journalist and Reporter of the Year, as well as receiving the Scoop of the Year award.

The Sunday Post was also awarded Front Page of the Year for the coverage, which was central to the paper being named Scotland’s Newspaper of the Year.

Sunday Post editor Richard Prest said: “It’s fantastic that Gordon has been nominated for one of the most prestigious journalistic awards in the UK.

“The quality of the shortlist is outstanding and it’s hugely gratifying for all at The Sunday Post to see a colleague standing shoulder to shoulder with investigative  reporters at the likes of The Times and The Guardian.”

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