About

Rite of Passage

Membership of the HWPA represents the diverse nature of 21st century sports media coverage, from the traditional newspaper/print journalist through to broadcasting on radio and television. More recently members of the Association have embraced newer methods of e-communication meaning that those who work in internet and mobile communications are represented just as strongly.
The HWPA is managed by a committee of 12, who are drawn from the current membership and their election forms part of the Annual General Meeting held every year at Aintree Racecourse on Grand National Day. Principally, the HWPA acts as the liaison between the Racecourse Association (RCA) and the horseracing media to provide the best possible race-day facilities at all UK racecourses for accredited members of the media. There is an annual awards lunch every December, hosted by the HWPA and always a sell-out event. This lunch includes awards for the best journalist, broadcaster and photographer, as well as a number of other awards voted for by the membership.

History

The Association was founded as the Horserace Writers & Reporters Association at a meeting held at the White Hart Hotel in the High Street, Newmarket on April 5, 1927 under the chairmanship of Arthur Coaten of the Morning Post. Although it remained active until the outbreak of the Second World War, the Association was dormant in the post-war years until it was revived in 1967 with the late Clive Graham as President and Peter O’Sullevan as vice-president.

On its revival, the Association invited the then Lord Derby to be its patron. On the death of Clive Graham in 1973, George Ennor became President, and remained the leader of the Association until 1994 when John Sexton became the third President. During Sextons tenure, in 1998, a resolution was passed at the annual meeting at Aintree changing the name of the Association to its current title, a reflection of the growing number of photographers now represented. Sexton stepped down six years later, handing over to Geoff Lester in April 2004. Will Hayler became the 5th president serving the association from 2008 until 2011 when at the Annual General Meeting on Grand National Day Steven Cargill became the first photographer to be president of the association. After six years as President Steven Cargill stepped down and was replaced by Marcus Townend.

As well as representing the interests of racing journalists in every branch of the media, the Association makes regular donations to racing charities.

Presidents Of The Association

1967-1973 Clive Graham
1973-1994 George Ennor
1994-2004 John Sexton
2004-2008 Geoff Lester
2008-2011 Will Hayler
2011-2017 Steven Cargill
2017- Marcus Townend