Sky TV reporter David Blevins has interviewed two American presidents (Clinton and Bush), three Irish presidents, four British prime ministers and five Irish premiers in his TV career, as well as covering the Troubles, the Good Friday Agreement, and the death of poet laureate Seamus Heaney.
He also covered the aftermath of the Omagh bombing and 9/11 in New York, as one of Sky’s best newsmen.
And in his role as youth and church worker, he has met the Queen.
His mantra is ‘Speak to them all the same’. So he did just that in the presence of Prince Edward at the weekend, when David was assigned to present the Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards when 55 young people gathered at the Harbour Commissioner’s office in Belfast, bringing to a climax their years of hard work in attaining their gold standards.
“It was an honour to be chosen,” said David who works for Sky four days a week and combines it with his role of Methodist lay reader – in effect, assistant minister – at his home village of Richhill.
Said David, “Usually the Duke of Edinburgh attends these ceremonies, but with his recent illnesses, Prince Edward does the needful.
“He moved among the young people, chatted away and he and I also exchanged pleasantries.
“But then it’s left to the local person – me on this occasion - to hand the awards out, and I really enjoyed that.
“I met the Queen some years ago at a Boys’ Brigade function in London (he was Captain of Epworth, 6th Portadown) and again we exchanged a few words.
“It isn’t like television, you don’t interview royalty – you just engage in conversation.”
David – who started his career in the Portadown Times – gave a rather inspirational address to the young people. He told them that a principle behind the Duke’s Awards was determination and a ‘never-say-die’ attitude.
He gave the example of Martin Luther King’s ‘I had a dream’ speech (delivered 50 years ago) and that self-belief was essential.
He added, “You have to believe in yourself and believe in other people. I have had the opportunity to report the news from 10 different countries on four continents.”