Get involved! Send photos, video, news & views. Text SWINDON NEWS to 80360 or email us
Sports mad presenter picks up major documentary gong
A FORMER Swindon sportsman who is “living the dream” after landing a top job as an Australian TV and radio commentator returned to the UK to pick up a prize for his work as a documentary film-maker.
Ashley Morrison, 49, from Purton, scooped the Best Documentary award and a further gong for the Best Editing in a Documentary at last week’s Southampton Inter- national Film Festival.
He won the awards for his uplifting film No Apologies which tells the stories of two Aboriginal girls from different backgrounds, Kyah Simon and Lydia Williams, who during the 2010 Women’s World Cup became the first indigenous footballers to represent Australia.
The documentary has already been hailed by the UK’s FourFourTwo football magazine as “fascinating and humbling… one of the five football documentaries to see before you die.”
During a brief visit back home for the festival, Ashley, who produced and directed the film, said: “It was a big surprise to win. Frankly, I was just happy to be nominated – to win was amazing.”
He went on: “This was the second year of the film festival in Southampton and our victory saw us in the running for the Film of the Festival. Unfortunately we didn’t win this – but hardly expected to anyway.”
No Apologies recently won an honourable mention at the International Film Festival for Peace Inspiration and Equality, where Ashley also received an Award of Excellence in the category of best newcomer.
The movie marks another remarkable chapter in Ashley’s life. Having grown up in Purton he became a well-known figure on Swindon’s local sports scene, playing football, cricket and hockey at various levels. After a string of largely unpromising jobs in the UK he went to Australia in 1987 and, much to his surprise, found himself commentating on top matches, hosting a sports radio show, writing books and making documentaries on sport-related subjects.
Perth-based Ashley’s big media break came in the early 1990s when he was interviewed on the radio on behalf of a fundraiser at the local football club. He said: “They liked my voice and said I sounded like I had a brain!
“Then they asked me to do a two-minute match report of a local game by phone.”
He soon acquired a reputation as an articulate and incisive pundit and went on to host a weekly football radio show on one of the Perth stations and for the past seven years has presented Not the Footy Show, focusing on a variety of sports, on another Western Australia station.
His career has seen him travel the world covering cricket, football and rugby World Cup matches for Australian TV and radio.
Avid Swindon Town fan Ashley, whose father Malcolm still lives in Purton while mother Ann Cleverley and sister Phrynette Morrison reside in Royal Wootton Bassett, turned his attention to making TV documentaries during the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
He travelled across Africa – from Nigeria to Nairobi – to make Standing in the Touchlines which captured the continent’s joy at hosting the tournament for the first time.
Ashley, who is married to digital marketing manager Quie Ying, is now making a third film with support from the World Boxing Council charting the tragic story of African boxer Battling Siki who died mysteriously at 28 after facing rampant prejudice and corruption in the 1920s.
l Information on No Apologies, including how to buy a copy, is available at: www.noapologies required.com