Last Thursday we all attended the annual Gala Dinner for the Croydon Business Excellence Awards. When a company covers as large an area as ours it is rare for us to all be in the same place at the same time, so it was nice to be together. It is also nice to have an excuse to put on your glad rags and enjoy a bit of socialising.
In 2014, we were lucky enough to be voted a winner at the Croydon Business Awards, so we knew we would be hard pushed to win again. After the initial judging, however, we found we were shortlisted in five categories. In addition to the categories of: Best Business for Customer Service; Best Green Business; Best SME Business and, Best Business for Training and Development, we also found ourselves shortlisted in the category of Best Small to Medium Business.
So, all dressed-up with somewhere to go, we headed off to Fairfield Halls, on Park Lane, in Croydon. The event started with a drinks reception, where it was lovely to see so many friends and colleagues. This was followed by four course meal with entertainment supplied by Stirling Austin, who has apparently played with Tom Jones, among others. The meal incorporated the serious part of the evening - the awards. As I say, since we had won last year, we knew it would be difficult to win two years in a row.
During the award giving broadcaster James Whale did an excellent job of keeping us entertained, and more importantly, keeping things moving. There is nothing worse than an awards ceremony that really starts to drag. At the same time, you know each winner deserves their moment in the limelight, so it must be a tricky job for the host to get the balance right. I must say, James Whale did an excellent job.
Everyone will tell that it is the taking part that matters and winning isn’t important. Well, having been winners and runners-up, I’d say it is always nicer to win and that these are often the sentiments of people who haven’t won. Certainly on the night, as the categories you are shortlisted for are announced, you can’t help but feel a little touch of excitement and anticipation.
In the end 2015 was not to be our year. Of the five categories we found ourselves shortlisted for, we were commended for two – Best SME Business and Best Business for Training and Development – and Highly Commended in Best Green Business. This means a lot, as it is important to us that we are recognised as environmentally responsible.
Were we down-hearted? No, of course not – it is the taking part that is important and it really is nice to be part of a group celebrating the achievements of businesses in our area. Many of those at the event are also customers, so it was a great opportunity to meet and chat with them in a social environment.
Following the awards we all enjoyed the party band, Supreme Collective, and danced the night away.
And, as our PR manager said as she left to catch her train, “there’s always next year!”
Well, maybe! As I said, it’s the taking part that is important...