ECHO journalists have been recognised with prestigious awards.

Basildon crime and chief reporter, Gina Marden, was named Print Journalist of the year, and features editor, David Giles, Columnist of the Year, at the EDF Energy East of England Media Awards awards ceremony yesterday.

Gina said: “To do the crime job and be chief reporter at the paper is a real privilege because of the people I’ve come into contact with.

“To be recognised for that means the absolute world to me.

I’ve worked for the Echo for a lot of years serving the community and I’m absolutely chuffed.

“I really would like to pay tribute to the victims of crime who have opened their hearts to me and allowed me to write the stories that have won me the award.”

David Giles was equally delighted with his accolade. He said: “Listening to a man from Sky News talk to 200 journalists and minor celebrities about my testicles – one of the subjects of my column – was a surreal experience.

“However, my infant son Henry and I are thrilled our little column has won an award.

“Henry celebrated by dropping the quite-heavy trophy on his mother’s foot, shouting ‘bush’ and then soiling himself.

“I plan to celebrate by not getting drunk, as sadly I’m still sober. “ The awards are now in their ninth year and honour the best in journalism across Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire.

There are 20 categories in all to choose from, covering daily and weekly newspapers, and radio and television broadcasters.

Echo deputy editor Chris Hatton commented: “ “Congratulations to Gina and Dave on their awards.

They are part of an outstanding team of journalists at the Echo who cover the issues that matter.”