Budding journalists were giving the chance develop their skills when TV presenter Simon Thomas returned to the county yesterday.

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The Sky Sports presenter led a Norfolk School Games Media Academy conference at the Sportspark at the University of East Anglia.

Active Norfolk’s event was designed to give more than 100 youngsters some hints and tips on radio broadcasting, newspaper writing and photography before they report on the Norfolk School Games later this year.

Pupils from schools across Norfolk attended the event.

Former Blue Peter presenter Mr Thomas, who spoke to the teenagers about his pathway into the media industry and his career to date, said: “It has been brilliant. When I was growing up, media wasn’t really mentioned at school and when I went into the careers office, there wasn’t much about TV, broadcasting or journalism.

“It’s also a terrific way to spread the message of last summer.”

As part of the event, the youngsters took part in a either a spoken media workshop with BBC Radio Norfolk’s Nicky Price, a photography workshop with freelance photographer Angela Sharpe, or a written media workshop with Eastern Daily Press reporter Kate Scotter.

After the workshops, they had the chance to put what they had learned into practice at a mock press conference with Norwich City fan Mr Thomas and by reporting on a netball match.

They will now go on to report on the Sainsbury’s-sponsored Norfolk School Games which will see 4,500 children competing in the Winter and Summer Norfolk School Games finals in March and July.

Callum Parke, 14, from Hellesdon High School, who wants to be a sports journalist, said: “It’s been really good. It’s important for me to get as much experience as possible and I’ve been able to pick up some really important skills from today.”

Framingham Earl High School pupil Luke Swatman, 13, from Norwich, who took part in the spoken media workshop, added: “It’s been fun, I’ve enjoyed it.”

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