The awards are named after Philip Geddes, a member of St Edmund Hall and a journalist of considerable promise. After graduating he joined the staff of the London Evening Standard, then moved to the staff of the Daily Express. In December 1983 he was in Harrods, the Knightsbridge store, when orders were issued for the building to be evacuated. Realising there was a story to be had, he went to investigate. He was killed by the blast from a bomb planted by the IRA. Philip Geddes was just 24.
A tree and plaque in the gardens of St Edmund Hall commemorate his life, and since 1984 the Philip Geddes Memorial Prize has encouraged promising student journalists on the path to Fleet Street, radio and television. Former prizewinners are employed by the BBC, ITN, Reuters, the Economist, and a wide range of Fleet Street newspapers.
Each year a first prize of £1,000 is given to the most promising student journalist at Oxford University. A further award of £500 is open to undergraduates of St Edmund Hall.
Student journalists who specialise in sports writing are also able to compete for The Clive Taylor Prize for Sports Writing, a £1,000 special award in memory of the distinguished cricket writer Clive Taylor. The Trustees of The Philip Geddes Memorial Fund are delighted to have added this prize to a growing list of awards, and express their gratitude to its generous sponsor.
In the future it is planned to add further categories for students wishing to specialise in broadcast and photographic journalism.