A FORMER Barry & District News writer has won a prestigious music journalism award at a ceremony in London.

Simon Price, 43, won the ‘Live Reviews: Writer of the Year’ accolade, as part of the Record of the Day awards.

Simon, who went to Barry Comprehensive, is delighted with the award.

"I was pretty amazed as I didn’t even think I was in the running," he said.

"It's the first time I have won any type of award since I was in school."

Simon, who now writes for the Independent on Sunday, wrote a pop column in the Barry & District News between 1984 and 1986 called ‘Simon Says…’ Explaining how he started writing for the paper, he said: "I wrote a letter to the then editor, complaining that there was nothing for young people. It was full of obituaries and skittle scores.

"He said ‘Go on then, do something about it’ and offered me my own column, which was mostly singles that were out each week.

"It helped me find my way and learn the ropes."

Simon went on to study French and Philosophy at University College London, where he became music editor of the student newspaper, and soon started working for Melody Maker magazine.

"I was going to Paris for a year as part of my course and they asked me if I wanted to send reviews while I was out there," he explained.

Simon, who now lives in Brighton, went on to work full time at Melody Maker for nine years, before writing a biography of the Manic Street Preachers that was hailed as Book of the Year by both the Guardian and NME magazine.

Simon has now been reviewing bands for the Independent on Sunday for ten years.

"I spend every week of the year travelling - reviewing someone mainstream like Eric Clapton, or someone in a pub you have never heard of," he said.

"It’s nice to be paid for something you enjoy. If I didn’t have my job I would spend my money on CDs and concert tickets."

Simon’s father Gary Price, who died in January this year, also wrote for the Barry & District News as a youngster and went on to forge a successful career as a radio presenter and producer for CBC (later Red Dragon Radio), BBC Radio Oxford and BBC Radio Wales.

"I didn’t have any choice but to follow my dad," said Simon.

"I had an unrivalled music library to dip into and explore.

"He’s inspired me to go into radio, and I’ve just finished presenting BBC Introducing on BBC Radio Sussex," he added.

Christine Summers, Simon’s 63-year-old mother, said: "I’m thrilled to bits about him winning. I’m so very proud. He deserves it."

Simon was presented with the award at the Idea Generation Gallery, East London, on November 25.