The Pilgrim Award is a National Royal Television Society Award that represents the society’s acknowledgement of outstanding voluntary service to the RTS.
Introducing the Award, Pam Royle said:
Our honouree has been involved with the RTS since April 1997.
Amongst many other talents, he is brilliant journalist. I had the pleasure of working with him at Tyne Tees over the years as my producer, my programme editor, executive producer, Head of News, Director of Broadcasting and Managing Director. Graeme had such a lot to give to every role. And the performing arts has always been a passion for him — back in 2001 when I was invited to play the fairy godmother in the panto Cinderella at the Tyne Theatre, I thought there wasn’t a chance I’d be able to do it alongside my day job. Nevertheless, I approached Graeme with the thought, and to my amazement he said, ”Pam... you shall go to the ball!” Graeme’s positive, can-do attitude, makes things happen. He sprinkles the star dust wherever he goes.
Graeme is now Pro-Vice Chancellor at the University of Sunderland. He is responsible for engagement and culture; he chairs the Arts Council-funded community arts project, The Cultural Spring. He is also Chair of the International Group of the North East Cultural Partnership, and the Royal Television Society Education Committee in London.
Graeme stepped down as Chair of our Centre last year after a very successful 16 years. After so long at the helm it’s not surprising he leaves a remarkable legacy and an enthusiastic committee who’ll take the Centre forward.
Co-presenter Jeff Brown said:
Journalism and education are at Graeme’s core, and the tie-up between the University and the RTS has been hugely beneficial. Nine years ago, Peter Fidler — the Vice-chancellor of Sunderland University — made an inspired decision when he was looking for someone to be Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Design and Media. He chose someone who didn’t go to university himself, but who went to Darlington Technical College to study for his NCTJ Journalism Proficiency test... which is also where he met his wonderful and ever-supportive wife. With a passion for writing, for film, for the theatre and for journalism, it led him eventually to the role of Managing Director of ITV Tyne Tees and Border, and then to the University. Not bad for a lad from Shields!
Drawing on the experience of his diverse and fascinating career, he’s been passionate about hosting educational and industry-relevant events for the RTS. Whether you were a student or an industry professional, Graeme’s outlook for the Centre always made sure those who were there went away with a greater understanding of the industry in which they worked, or wished to work in. He continues as Chair of the RTS Education Committee, and is very proud of the bursary scheme that encourages talented students with more challenging backgrounds to pursue careers in television.
Graeme has given to the RTS, the North East and the education sector for most of his career. His service to the charity has been, and continues to be, exemplary and for all these reasons he’s the recipient of the 2018 Pilgrim Award.