Barking sports fan to work on national newspaper after securing scholarship

Lee Astley on a visit to the Sun offices

Lee Astley on a visit to the Sun offices - Credit: Archant

A budding journalist is celebrating after being picked for a top sports writing sholarship worth £7,500.

Lee Astley, from Barking, is one of two budding journalists to win a place on the SunSport Diversity Training Scholarship with Wimbledon based press agency Sportsbeat.

Starting in September, the placement will include one day a week working on The Sun newspaper’s sports desk and a chance pick up a National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) qualification.

If Lee passes all his NCTJ exams, he will be offered a six-week paid internship with Sportsbeat followed by a three-month paid internship with SunSport.

The 20-year-old football fan said: “There is no way I could have afforded a place on this course. It is dreamland for me. I know the course is going to be hard but I’m looking forward to getting out and reporting on sporting events.’

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A judging panel made up of journalists from The Sun and Sportsbeat selected Lee, and Karel Ikobonga, 23, from Newham, following a day of tests at Sportsbeat and a further morning of interviews and exercises at News UK.

Sportsbeat editor David Parsons said: “We are delighted to offer this opportunity to Lee and Karel. If they put in the work during their training there is no reason why they can’t become two of the stars of tomorrow.

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“The plan was to take just one candidate on the scheme but we were so impressed with Lee and Karel that we felt it right to offer them both a place.”

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