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International and UK sports journalists can still reserve a place at the welcome service being held at St Bride's Church in Fleet Street on Tuesday 24th July.
St Bride's, which has a long association with the media and is often referred to as "the journalists' Church", was recently in the news for offering beds to accredited members of the media who are unable to afford a hotel room in London.
Renowned broadcaster, Sir Michael Parkinson CBE will give the address at the service which will be attended by Dame Tessa Jowell, Shadow Olympics Minister. The service will be multi-denominational, for journalists of all faiths, or of no faith and is being supported by BT, the official communications services partner of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and the Sports Journalists Association (SJA). The event will reaffirm St Bride's unique role as provider of spiritual and pastoral support to visiting media representatives who will be in London reporting on this summer's sporting events.
In his role as President of the Sports Journalists' Association (SJA), Sir Michael will deliver an address which considers the role of sport within society worldwide and the importance of sports journalism as a means of communicating this across borders. He will also light a candle which will burn in St Bride's until the flame is extinguished at the end of the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
Rector of St Bride's and Archdeacon of London the Venerable David Meara explained the motivation behind the service: "St Bride's has been associated with the printing industry and the media for some 500 years. With such a large number of journalists in London this summer, we wanted to extend both a welcome to them and an offer of spiritual and pastoral support."
Barry Newcombe, the chairman of the SJA, the world's largest national body of sports journalists and a founder member of the worldwide International Association of Sports Journalists, AIPS, welcomed the opportunity for his colleagues from around the world to visit such a historic venue. "We at the SJA are extremely grateful to St Bride's and their partners to give us and our international colleagues this wonderful opportunity to come together before the Games begin."
The service will be followed by a reception at the nearby Stationers' Hall, which will also be open to those unable to attend the Church. Jointly hosted by BT and the SJA, the reception is intended to encourage dialogue, networking and friendship - principles consistent with the Olympic ideals.
The service will begin at 7.00pm on 24th July, with the following reception starting at 8.00pm.
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