A trailblazing editor and broadcaster who helped pave the way for many more women at all levels in journalism has been named Journalist Laureate 2019.

Former Sunday Mirror and Sunday Express editor Eve Pollard received the prestigious honour at the annual London Press Club Ball which hosts the exclusive award.

An inspirational leader and trendsetter who helped shatter the glass ceiling for woman in the industry, she accepted the honour in front of a record 700 guests at the Ball, the social highlight of the UK’s national media in print, online and on air, held at London’s Grosvenor House.

She becomes only the second person to receive the Journalist Laureate honour created to recognise excellence and exceptional leadership in the national media.

Known universally and in her own right as Eve Pollard, as the wife of former Daily Express editor Sir Nicholas Lloyd she is also more formally Lady Lloyd, but to her friends and colleagues she is simply Eve.

She was presented with the honour by London Press Club chairman Doug Wills at the Ball held in collaboration with leading publishing and events company St James’s House and compered by journalist and royal broadcaster Jennie Bond.

In a significant move to successfully encourage more diversity, attendees, and sponsors – and to help raise more funds for the Journalists’ Charity as the Ball’s chosen beneficiary – the event was this year moved from the Autumn to the Summer and special discounts were offered to attract younger journalists under the age of 30.

The traditional pre-dinner ‘grace’ was delivered by the Revd Canon Dr Alison Joyce, Rector of St Bride’s Church, Fleet Street,> who is dubbed ‘the Vicar of Fleet Street’.

Funds raised on the night are to help the Journalists’ Charity, whose founders included Charles Dickens, which works tirelessly to help those in the journalistic trade who fall on hard times – whether through ill health, unemployment or sheer bad luck – as well as help support the valuable work of the London Press Club. The Ball, a blend of fun and fund-raising, has raised more than £120,000 for the Journalists’ Charity in the last five years alone.

As one of Fleet Street’s first female editors and the founder of ‘Women in Journalism’  Ms Pollard was awarded an engraved pen and a prize of £5,000 which she chose to donate and split equally between the Journalists’ Charity and Women in Journalism, whose members were well represented on the night.

Last year former Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre became the inaugural Journalist Laureate. The honour will build over the coming years into a Journalism ‘Hall of Fame’ into which recipients at the annual London Press Club Ball will be inducted.

A familiar face on television, Eve is known to millions of viewers far beyond Fleet Street.

For 23 years, she covered Royal Ascot as the fashion commentator for the BBC, and she often appeared in a similar role on other BBC programmes. She became a regular on the ITV show Through the Keyhole with Sir David Frost, which often reached an audience of 18 or 19 million viewers.

She also covered, on television, the Royal Weddings of Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips, Prince Charles and Princess Diana, Prince Andrew and the Duchess of York, Prince Edward and Sophie Wessex.

In 2008, she was awarded an OBE for services to journalism in the Birthday Honours List. She continues to work as Royal Correspondent for ITV News.

The ever-popular ‘Heads and Tails’ game helped raise funds

Among the sponsors and supporters, Bentley Motors and its CEO Adrian Hallmark used the Ball to celebrate the luxury car firm’s centenary, with eight of its historic and contemporary vehicles worth millions of pounds on display at the event.

Lord Black of Brentwood is patron of the Ball and president of the London Press Club.

Ray Massey and Robert Jobson, joint chairmen of the London Press Club Ball said: ‘We are delighted and honoured to welcome such an inspirational and dynamic figure as Eve Pollard as one of the very first Journalist Laureates.

‘She is a true trailblazer who has led by example and inspired generations of young journalists – both male and female. But she has been a particular force during her illustrious career in working tirelessly to promote women in our trade. We would like to congratulate her on her well-deserved induction into the journalism ‘Hall of Fame.’

Doug Wills, chairman of the London Press Club said: ‘Honouring Eve Pollard as Journalist Laureate is the icing on the cake of an evening dedicated to raising the profile of journalism as well as vital funds for the Journalists’ Charity and funds for the Press Club too.

‘The Ball stands out in the media calendar as a unique evening to celebrate the best in journalism and to support those who have fallen on hard times in this rollercoaster industry of ours.’

Ramsay Smith, chairman of the Journalists’ Charity said: ‘Not only is the Ball a very significant fund-raiser for the Journalists’ Charity, it plays an important role in showcasing our organisation.

‘Times have changed. People need help earlier in their lives due to redundancy, illness, or the scarcity of freelance work, and this applies to print, broadcast and digital journalists.

‘Role models such as the new Journalist Laureate Eve Pollard – herself a former chair of the Journalists’ Charity – are also vital and we thank her for her energy and support.’

Women in Journalism said:

‘We are delighted our founder Eve Pollard has been awarded this laureate in recognition  of her outstanding career and work in establishing women in journalism over the last 25 years.’

Eve Pollard collecting her award

‘Women in Journalism is all about women supporting women; the most senior females in the media give of their time freely and generously to support those starting out, those coming back after a career break and those who just want to get better at their jobs.

‘We know the power of the old boys network, WIJ is all about creating a strong women’s network – we have a huge mentoring scheme where senior women mentor the more junior and they become mentors in their turn. This has resulted in many young women getting exciting jobs and opportunities. Women are only the beginning of the diversity agenda: at Women in Journalism  we believe the media is most effective as a tool of our democracy when it represents all the population, the media needs to be a truly reflecting mirror, not a distorting lens – to do that it must be representative of the people it presents. we are doing all we can to widen access to our industry to other minority groups and have supported other organisations with funding such as Press Pad which aims to give free accomodation to interns coming to London to do work experience.

‘We are also proud to produce ground breaking research (most recently we’ve looked at which jobs women hold in the media, and the number of stories written by women).  Future projects include those looking at how we might further increase the diversity of journalists; we are particularly concerned by the lack of women of colour and those from working class backgrounds.’