MICHAEL FORTUNE TO RECEIVE GWA AWARD

MICHAEL FORTUNE TO RECEIVE GWA AWARD

It has been announced that six months after his passing Michael Fortune will be posthumously recognised with the Greyhound Writers' Association award for services to greyhound racing at the annual GBGB Award Gala at the Royal Lancaster Hotel on Sunday, January 26th.

Jonathan Hobbs, the GWA chairman, said: “Members of the Greyhound Writers' Association had no hesitation in awarding Michael a posthumous honour.

"For many of us he was a loyal colleague, someone who championed the sport of greyhound racing and, especially on those huge nights at Shelbourne Park, loved nothing more than discussing the night's action after racing with those who shared his passion.

"Most of us will have debated the relative merits of the Irish challenge for the English Derby, and vice versa, with Michael and these conversations would always be friendly. However this proud Irishman always batted for those his side of the Irish Sea! 

"Any why not? He had the knowledge to support his opinion because he was a superb and prolific greyhound journalist with a huge list of contacts and experience of greyhound racing all over the world.

"Michael was the voice of Irish greyhound racing, and those brilliant, spine-tingling commentaries of his will live on. Michael was a greyhound writer but, above all, he was our friend."

Speaking on behalf of his family, Fortune's son Ian, who worked with his father for many years said, "It came as a shock when we heard that Dad was going to be recognised by the GWA but as a family we are so appreciative.

“He had so many of his friends and colleagues in the GWA and the fact that they chose to recognise his lifetime's work and efforts to promote greyhound racing is a real honour. 

"He was proud of his involvement with the Racing Post for so many years and didn't take his role as Irish correspondent lightly. Indeed, he made a point of beating the Irish greyhound racing drum as loudly as possible at times. 

"More than ever, however, Irish and English greyhound racing depend on each other. Just this year we saw Irish success in the Scottish Derby, Derby and Leger and it was great to see the likes of the late Salacres Punch come to Ireland and fly the flag for the UK. 

"Anglo-Irish relations are so important and Dad was more than aware of the fact. He regularly tried to wind up his UK based colleagues with JK, in particular, often taking the bait but he always accepted and promoted a healthy competition between Ireland and the UK.

"If he was still with us he'd be both honoured and a little embarrassed although you can be certain he would have relished a trip to the UK for a party. 

"In accepting the award on his behalf, I will echo his sentiments by saying, we are involved in a wonderful sport, a sport to be proud of and we must continue to do everything we can to tell the world how much we love our dogs and the sport."