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ARC's Catholic Consultant Wins Gold Medal on top of Sony Gold Award

Updated July 12, 2009:

ARC's Catholic Consultant, Mary Colwell, who recently won a Sony Radio Award, (see below) has won another top accolade for the same podcast. The Budgerigar and the Prisoner - illustrating how the natural world can redeem us and protect us - has this weekend picked up a World Gold Medal in New York.

'The Budgerigar and the Prisoner really seems to have hit a spot, and I'm delighted about the New York Festivals Radio Awards," Colwell said. "Les's story is universal and speaks to anyone. If it brings a sense of hope anywhere in the world it will have done its job. I'm really pleased." Along with prisoner Les, Father Robert King of Clifton Cathedral, Bristol, features in the podcast which was first broadcast by the Clifton Diocese.

He said: "I'm thrilled that such a simple story of redemption should receive international acclaim. Everyone has a tale to tell and Les's story inspires hope as people strive to find their own way in life."

The World Gold Medal is decided by a grand jury made up of top radio professionals from five continents and more than 25 countries. Each year the New York Festivals Radio Awards selects winners from radio stations, networks and producers from over 30 countries.

The podcast is also on the shortlist to win the internet audio award at the Jerusalem Radio Awards - the announcement for this prize takes place at the Royal Academy in London in October.

The Clifton Diocese, which serves the Catholic community in Bristol, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire, has won this honour for the past two years. Mary Colwell is preparing a podcast to introduce ARC's work.

May 13th 2009

Mary Colwell, ARC's Catholic Programme Advisor has been honoured with a Gold Award for Best Internet Programme at the Sony Radio Academy Awards in London. The prestigious event took place on 12 May and the award was presented by Chris Evans.

Mary describes her elation in winning on her blog: "It was an amazing night and I am thrilled". Her work was described by the judges as 'A beautifully and subtly crafted programme which used the simplest materials to tell a compelling story and deliver profound emotional impact. It was perfectly adapted to the medium, breaking genre boundaries to deliver its message to the target audience with perfect pitch.'

The podcast of ‘The Budgerigar and the Prisoner’ tells the story of Les who spent six years in prison for a serious crime. During that time, his life was turned round by looking after a budgerigar.

Waiting for his release he had time to think about life and responsibility. The programme interweaves Les’s story with the reflections of a local Catholic priest, Father Robert King, who talks about Advent and the transformation of human life through the birth of Jesus. For Christians, Advent is a time of waiting - waiting for the birth of Christ who Christians believe transforms their lives.

In the podcast Les says: “Christmas is a new start for everyone - for the future.” Mary Colwell added: “It’s an honest and moving story combined with a creative Christmas message. It weaves together a story that’s applicable to everybody whether you are a person of faith or not and therefore appeals to a wide audience in an accessible way."

“Looking at the world and this well-known story anew - in an entirely different and compelling way - ‘The Prisoner and the Budgerigar’ brings together the Christian audience with those alive to the Christmas season.”

Father Robert King said: “Redemption stories inspire hope: making the seemingly impossible possible. Les’s story is a remarkable one and I’m delighted that it has been nominated for a Sony award. When I became a priest, I never thought that one day something of which I’ve been part would be up for an award with the likes of Chris Evans and John Humphrys!”

The beautiful carol - ‘In the Bleak Midwinter’ - was specially recorded for the podcast by Irish folk guitarist Gareth Davies-Jones. Clifton Diocese entered the award on Mary's behalf. Listen to 'The Budgerigar and the Prisoner.

Mary added "Thank you to Tom and the Diocese for entering me. Thank you so much to Robert King for your gentle insights, Gareth Davies-Jones for the beautiful music and of course Les and his budgie."


Mary Colwell's blog

Clifton Diocese

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