Ham&High’s blood scandal exposé in running for regional press award

Parents Della and Dan Hirsch, who lost one of their twin sons to the contaminated blood scandal

Parents Della and Dan Hirsch, who lost one of their twin sons to the contaminated blood scandal - Credit: Archant

A Ham&High campaign calling for justice for victims of the contaminated blood scandal has been nominated for an award recognising the power of local newspapers to lobby for positive change.

How the Ham&High covered the contaminated blood scandal last year

How the Ham&High covered the contaminated blood scandal last year - Credit: Archant

Over the last year this newspaper has reported on the stories of local people who were infected with HIV and hepatitis C (hep C) in the worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS.

They include Highgate musician Nick Hirsch, who died aged 35 after being infected with hep C during routine treatment for the blood clotting disorder haemophilia.

Hundreds of others were also infected at the Royal Free Hospital’s haemophilia unit, including Mark Ward who was told he had HIV aged just 14 and was later also diagnosed with hep C.

Former Crouch End resident Clair Walton caught the HIV virus from her late husband, who was infected and died from Aids in 1985.

Talented musician Nick Hirsch died from hepatitis C in 2012 aged just 35

Talented musician Nick Hirsch died from hepatitis C in 2012 aged just 35 - Credit: Archant


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We have supported calls for a fairer system of support for the 7,500 victims whose health has been ruined, and for families of the 2,000 who have died.

Now our campaign has been shortlisted for a Making a Difference award at the Society of Editors Regional Press Awards, which will be decided by a public vote.

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We are asking readers to support the Ham&High, and those who have so bravely spoken out to campaign for justice, by voting for us.

Nick’s mother Della Hirsch, of Highgate, said: “These articles have sparked new debates and discussions, together with an even greater determination to fight for justice for all those affected.”

Former British Airways flight attendant Mark Ward was told he has been infected with HIV aged just 1

Former British Airways flight attendant Mark Ward was told he has been infected with HIV aged just 14. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Polly Hancock

Sue Threakall, of the campaign group Tainted Blood, said: “The dedication and compassion you have shown in coverage of the contaminated blood scandal has been outstanding, and truly has made a difference to the lives of victims who feel that they have a voice that allows their stories to be told.

“You have shown an impressive determination to get our story out to the general public, and we cannot overstate the importance of this. Our campaign is not simply about appropriate compensation, but also about uncovering the truth behind what happened and how it has been covered up for so long.”

To vote, visit localnewspaperweek.co.uk/Making-a-Difference

Click on the frontpage ‘I want justice for my brothers’ to vote for Archant Investigations Unit: Contaminated Blood Scandal.

Voting closes at 5pm on Wednesday, May 18.

Archant is the name of the Ham&High’s parent company and coverage also ran across our sister titles in London, Kent, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire.

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