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FCC announces recipients of inaugural Clare Hollingworth Fellowship

The Foreign Correspondents’ Club has chosen Mary Hui and Jessie Pang as recipients of the inaugural Clare Hollingworth Fellowship, named in honour of the preeminent and path-breaking journalist.

Mary Hui, left, and Jessie Pang. Mary Hui, left, and Jessie Pang.

The adjudicators noted the winners offer clear potential as future leaders both within the FCC and the wider Hong Kong journalism community.

“In its first year, we were pleased and gratified by the level of talent and potential of the applicants for the fellowship,” said Jodi Schneider, president of the FCC. “Mary and Jessie both exemplify the qualities we were seeking in Fellows.”

The Fellowship is aimed at early career journalists and current journalism school students in Hong Kong.

The open competition drew significant interest from a cross spectrum of applicants. The adjudicators noted the high standard of applicants and encouraged all to apply again next year.

“The fellowship is a key part of the FCC’s outreach efforts aimed at diversifying the membership base and bringing younger talent into the club,” Schneider said.


Mary Hui
Mary Hui is a correspondent with Quartz covering Asia business and geopolitics. She was previously a freelancer for publications including the New York Times and Washington Post.

Jessie Pang 
Jessie Pang is a recent graduate of Hong Kong University’s journalism program and is joining Reuters after an internship. Her previous freelance work appeared in publications including the Atlantic and HK01.

Further information on the Fellowship can be seen here:

Clare Hollingworth remembered in FCC celebration of her life

Hong Kong’s British Consul General Andrew Heyn paid tribute to Clare Hollingworth. Photo: Sarah Graham Hong Kong’s British Consul General Andrew Heyn paid tribute to Clare Hollingworth. Photo: Sarah Graham

Glasses were raised, tears were shed and stories told as relatives, friends and colleagues of Clare Hollingworth gathered to celebrate her life at the FCC on January 19.

Club president Tara Joseph kicked off proceedings with a warm tribute to Clare, who died on January 10 at the age of 105, and asked what she would have made of the new era of media – ‘would she approve of people retweeting tweets from presidential candidates?’.

She added: “She led a very full life… This was the woman who had the scoop of the century reporting the start of World war Two as she saw tanks and troops lined up at the Polish border.

“She went on to produce many scoops in her lifetime as a journalist.

“Another important thing for many of us is that Clare also broke barriers. She was the epitome of the swashbuckling correspondent – but that was only a few decades after two decades after women in Britain secured the vote.”

Hong Kong’s British Consul General Andrew Heyn said the Foreign Office had not always been very keen on what Clare was reporting. But he added that Clare had integrity and was an example to journalists today: “She is a role model for the younger generation, a role model for women, and also as a fierce defender of the truth.”

Clare had been a member of the FCC for more than 35 years.

Clare’s great nephew told the gathered audience how, as a correspondent, her scoop on the outbreak of World War Two had often overshadowed other achievements in her life – most notably the fact that she helped Jewish refugees flee Germany, saving many lives.

Her good friend Cathy also paid tribute to the courageous correspondent, revealing how she kept on top of news events in later years despite the fact that her eyesight and hearing was failing. And her long-time carer Susan Helen fought back tears as she recalled Clare’s kindness and quick wit.

She said: “She was very fond of singing… Every day, every hour… every minute we will sing this ‘Rule Britannia Britannia rules the world!“

Tributes were read out from dignitaries and journalists around the world, including last Hong Kong governor Chris Patten; and former Telegraph editor Max Hastings; and Stephen Robinson, who led the Telegraph’s foreign desk between 1997 and 2001.

Obituary: The legendary Clare Hollingworth, 1911-2017

Clare as a freelancer in the 1950s. Clare as a freelancer in the 1950s.

The FCC’s legendary Correspondent member, Clare Hollingworth, who spent her entire working life travelling the world reporting war and conflict, passed away at home in Hong Kong in January at the very venerable of age 105.

Hollingworth, often hailed as the “doyenne of Foreign Correspondents”, forged a remarkable career as a foreign correspondent, beginning with the scoop of the century when she reported the start of World War II from Poland in September 1939 while working as a stringer for London’s Daily Telegraph newspaper.

She was a dedicated journalist who overcame gender barriers to report from the front lines of major conflicts in Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and Vietnam. She lived her final four decades in Hong Kong after being one of the few Western journalists to report on the Cultural Revolution from China in the 1970s.

Hollingworth had celebrated her 105th birthday in October last year at the FCC. “We are very sad to hear about Clare’s passing. She was a tremendous inspiration to us all and a treasured member of our club. We were so pleased that we could celebrate her 105th birthday with her this past year,”  FCC president Tara Joseph said.

Best known as a Daily Telegraph correspondent, Hollingworth wrote for many publications during her long career, including The Economist, The Observer, Manchester Guardian, Daily Express, International Herald Tribune and Asian Wall Street Journal.

Charles Moore, the editor of the Daily Telegraph described Clare as one the Telegraph’s most distinguished servants and an inspiration to all foreign correspondents and all women in journalism. Other tributes from the Telegraph included:

Clare in the 1960s next to a RAF Hunter in Aden Clare in the 1960s next to a RAF Hunter in Aden

Kate Adie, the veteran BBC war correspondent said Hollingworth was “a pioneer” for women in journalism who did not stop after her great scoop, went on to have a “a lifetime of journalism, full of adventure, good stories and terrific attention to detail and fact. She was a role model, without being aware of it.

Robert Fox, the Telegraph‘s former defence and chief foreign correspondent, described Hollingworth as amazing and steadfast. “After the Falklands I remember she took me to lunch and asked me about the state of the British Army. She used to take the trouble to come over to me, she was always interested and took a great deal of interest in younger reporters.”

The BBC’s John Simpson, who first met Clare in 1978, described her as a journalist who people trusted. “She interviewed the Shah of Iran in 1941, just after we had put him on the throne, and she was the only person he would speak to before he died – because he trusted her. I consider her one the finest journalists of the 20th Century, along with Martha Gellhorn and one or two others. I shall miss her memory more than I can say.”

Chris Patten, who knew Hollingworth when he was Hong Kong governor, said, “Clare was quite literally one of the greatest journalists of the 20th century. She was a great buccaneer, brave, witty and wise. “She covered some of the greatest stories of the last century with imitable dash and, on top of all that, she was kind and lovable.”

Clare with the Commander of British Forces near Tamar in Hong Kong. Clare with the Commander of British Forces near Tamar in Hong Kong.

Patrick Garrett, her biographer and great-nephew, said, “At 105 we had begun to wonder if Clare was one of the immortals. However, she got a cold around Christmas and obviously it is an extra concern with the elderly. We assumed she’d fight it off but it was to be her last Christmas.

“She was far from home but she’d been abroad most of her life. Seventy-eight years ago in Nazi Austria and most years since on foreign soil.”

Garrett, in his biography of Hollingworth, “Of fortune and war” published in July last year, described her first taste of war: “27-year-old Clare collared one of the scoops of the century by borrowing the flagged diplomatic car of the British consul-general in Katowice (with whom she’d a fling, extra-marital for both of them) on the Polish-German border, driving probably in breach of the rules into Germany and by chance seeing masses of Wehrmacht tanks readying for action. When a couple of days later the tanks rolled into Poland, Clare’s first account of world war breaking out was denied – by a disbelieving Polish government.”

What is far less well known is what Hollingworth was doing immediately before she walked into the offices of the Daily Telegraph in Fleet Street in August 1939 and asked for, and got, a job. “The fact is during the spring and summer that year Clare played an important part in rescuing around three thousand people from under the very noses of the Nazis.” These were refugees facing immediate arrest, or worse, as the Nazis tightened their grip on eastern Europe. Clare’s job was to try to help these very frightened people who were on the Nazis’ wanted list to find a safe haven. This she did despite nightmarish logistical difficulties, lack of funds and baulky bureaucracies. It is an amazing account of sheer, bloody-minded persistence on Hollingworth’s part – qualities that would serve her splendidly in her journalism. It was clearly “fiendishly difficult and dangerous work that deserved gratitude and recognition far beyond the modest OBE she received from the British government much later in life.”

Clare during the India-Pakistan war in circa 1965, also with The Guardian Clare during the India-Pakistan war in circa 1965, also with The Guardian

After her journalistic coup on the Polish-German border, Clare had hair’s-breadth escapes from the rapidly advancing German forces, experiences which did nothing to quench her thirst for action and adventure. Far from it. And the outbreak of World War II was by no means her only scoop. Another notable success was breaking the story of double agent Kim Philby’s defection to Moscow.

Throughout her subsequent career she repeatedly impressed or shamed her male correspondent peers with her sang-froid and apparent fearlessness. “It was manic story-chasing and a perverse pleasure in warfare. This relentless hunt for conflict and adventure would become a way of life for Clare, and ultimately it is what defined her as a person.”

Hollingworth was born October 10, 1911, to a middle-class family in the village of Knighton in Leicestershire, England. Her father ran a boot factory founded by her grandfather. She took brief courses in Croatian at Zagreb University, international relations in Switzerland and Slavonic studies in London. She worked as a secretary and then at a British refugee charity in Poland while writing occasional articles about the looming war in Europe, before landing the job with the Daily Telegraph that was to launch her remarkable career.

When Clare moved to Hong Kong in 1981 it was supposed to be temporary. She was researching a book on The Great Helmsman (Mao and the Men Against Him) and had secured a research position at HKU’s Centre of Asian Studies. She never planned to stay, but was intrigued by the negotiations over Hong Kong’s future. Finally she decided to sit it out until the Handover. She never left.

Undoubtedly one reason she opted for Hong Kong was the FCC. Describing the Club as a “second home” for some members may be an old cliché. But for Clare it soon became her first home. Widowed in 1965 she lived for journalism, and was frankly obsessed with following “the story”. She lived modestly – university accommodation at first, later an un-renovated one-room flat. But in the FCC Main Bar there was always someone – local insiders, out-of-towners, and reporters from the 20th century’s wars – to exchange gossip and memories.

A one minute silence was observed in the Main Bar and a service to celebrate Clare’s life will held in the Club on Thursday, January 19. Tributes to Clare and her achievements can be found on the FCC website at

Celebrate Clare Hollingworth Facebook page

Patrick Garret, Anna Fenton, Jonathan Sharp, Paul Bayfield

Tributes pour in from around the world as legendary journalist Clare Hollingworth marks her 105th birthday

Friends and family gather to say happy 105th birthday to Clare Holingworth. Friends and family gather to say happy 105th birthday to Clare Hollingworth.

Legendary journalist Clare Hollingworth, who was the first to report the German invasion of Poland in the Second World War, turned 105 this week and was honoured at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club on Monday.

Family and friends gathered to pay tribute to the former reporter, who is also credited with saving the lives of thousands of Eastern European refugees by helping them flee Hitler’s Nazi army.

Among the tributes was a poignant birthday message from Margo Stanyer, who was just four years old when she was rescued from Poland by Clare and helped to a new life in England.

“Clare was the one who helped these families to get out,” a tearful Margo said in a video played to a packed main bar. “Otherwise they would have been knocked off… killed… put into concentration camps.

“Without her help I would not be here”

It was August 31, 1939, when Clare was working as a new reporter for the The Daily Telegraph that she was sent to Poland to cover the worsening tensions in Europe. While there, she came across the build-up of German troops on the border and immediately called the British embassy in Warsaw to report the invasion of Poland.

Clare is also a celebrated writer, having published five books: The Three Weeks’ War in Poland (1940), There’s a German Just Behind Me (1945), The Arabs and the West (1950), Mao (1985), and her memoirs, Front Line (1990, updated with Neri Tenorio in 2005).

Among others to pay tribute were Britain’s foreign secretary and former Telegraph colleague, Boris Johnson; the British Consulate General in Hong Kong, Andrew Heyn OBE; the Director of Information Services in Hong Kong, Joe Wong; and the Daily Telegraph’s foreign desks in London and Washington.

Also in attendance were Clare’s great nephews, one of whom, Patrick Garrett, has published a book on his great aunt, Of Fortunes and War: Clare Hollingworth, First of the Female War Correspondents.

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