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Leeds crowned best BBC local

Radio Leeds won the BBC Station of the Year Award at the annual Gillards in Birmingham on Saturday evening. Stars including Simon Mayo, Jane Garvey, Michael Buerk, Jon Sopel, Jane Hill along with BBC Director General Mark Thompson and BBC Trust Chairman Sir Michael Lyons all attended the bash.

Named after BBC Local Radio founder Frank Gillard, the awards celebrate the best of BBC Local radio across England. Over a thousand people were at the event, a mixture of present and past BBC staff along with a selection of listeners from each station.

The evening started with a show about the history of BBC local featuring a mixture of archive audio and film, in recognition of 40 years of broadcasting.

Thirty judges include: John Inverdale, Adrian Chiles, Vijay Sharma, Lorna Clarke, Richard Bilton, Director of the Radio Academy Trevor Dann, and member of the BBC Trust, Alison Hastings.

BBC Radio Manchester passed the award for BBC Station of the Year across the Pennines to BBC Radio Leeds. BBC Radio Manchester won the award for Station Sound .

Six people were recognised for their outstanding contribution to BBC Local Radio, including BBC Radio Merseysides Rugby League commentator Ray French, BBC Radio Sheffield Engineer John Walshe, former BBC Radio Essex presenter Alison Hartley, former BBC Radio York and BBC Local radio stalwart John Jefferson, BBC Radio Leicesters Herdle White, and the BBC's Owen Bently.

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