Sir Michael Parkinson presented an Epsom Guardian reporter with a national award for her work on the Zone 6 for Epsom and Horton Cemetery campaigns.

Hardeep Matharu, 25, beat young journalists from across the country to scoop the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) Trainee Features Award yesterday.

A panel of judges, including Sky Sports News journalist Orla Chennaoui and Daily Mail foreign writer, David Jones, praised her for her "forward thinking attitude".

She was also commended for writing features which were a "perfect example of why local papers matter."

The group editor of the South London Guardian series, Sean Duggan, said: "We are all very proud of Hardeep's achievement. Alex Rucki who works on the Wandsworth Guardian, was shortlisted for the news writing award which is a reflection of the high standards of journalism on both those papers and sister titles across south London."

Miss Matharu was handed the award at an NCTJ gala dinner which took place in Nottingham.

Sir Michael entertained winners with tales of his journalism career after presenting the awards.

The Awards for Excellence recognise promising trainee reporters whose work is of a very high standard.