Huge congratulations to Alex Jones who won this year’s 2019 Graham S. Brand Award. The award is given annually at the University of Westminster in the memory of Graham S. Brand who was a student there. Myself and Graham’s mother, Sheila Brand present the award to the winner each year and give a talk on writing to the second year students now eligible to win it.
Alex’s ten minute piece told the story behind Finn’s Law, a campaign to get harsher sentences for criminals who would police dogs.
Alex told me: “I chose Finn’s Law as my chosen topic not only because it was relevant at the time of making this documentary, but because I have a genuine interest in the Police (in particular police dogs). It is a story that a lot of people feel strongly about and I found it interesting that a law to protect service animals was pretty much none existent at the time, and I wanted to follow the journey of getting this law passed.
How did she go about researching the story and persuading people to speak to her? “I was very fortunate that I had some contacts already in the Police and having those people were a huge help in getting interviews for this piece. It was interesting to hear their opinions on why the law should get passed and what it meant for them as working dog handlers. I was also very lucky that I managed to get a chance to meet PC Dave Wardell and Finn himself and it was such an amazing experience!”
Alex was a worthy winner and it was a delight to meet her. Mrs Brand asked her how she felt as an award winner? “Hearing that I had won the Graham Brand Prize was quite surprising actually! I had no idea that a university project that has pretty much been my life for the last year or so (from making the documentary to celebrating the passing of law in April) was even good enough to win a prize. It is definitely something that I am proud of and I hope people enjoy watching it as much as I loved making it.”
To add to the good news, Finn’s Law became law in April 2019 meaning better protection for police dogs.
Find Alex on Twitter at: @minnielex
With thanks to Aasiya Lodi and Matthew Linfoot of the University of Westminster for their care running the award.