The build up to the Yorkshire Choice Awards was a busy one! We launched a voting campaign like no other and we didn’t find out who had won until the night.
The venue was Elland Road Football Stadium and it had been beautifully decorated for the evening event. I always love an excuse to buy a new dress and have someone professionally do my hair and makeup! It takes hours of preparation for me to be ready…but I love it!
I had all the people together with me who have made the Road Safety Talks project possible and who have supported me on my journey so far. My Parents, a couple of my close Friends, Rebecca my Project Manager and her husband Chris, Jo Dobbs the Head Teacher of the first Primary School I spoke at, T/Inspector Paul Cording from North Yorkshire Police and Helen Richardson the former Community Safety officer for Harrogate Fire & Rescue. There were a couple of people who couldn’t attend, but we celebrated with them afterwards!
It was a great honour to be nominated for both The Volunteer Of The Year Award and The Kate Granger Award for Outstanding Contribution. It was very humbling to be in the same categories as so many amazing individuals who deserve recognition for what they have achieved. It was very emotional hearing the stories behind all the other award nominees and winners.
I think that our table raised the roof when Chris Pointon, the husband of Dr Kate Granger who launched the #hellomynameis campaign, announced that I had won the Volunteer of the Year award. I actually couldn’t believe it! I had everyone by my side as I collected the award, we had photos taken and then the rest of the night was all a blur of dancing, gin and laughter!
As I am trying to use these blogs to not only share my journey, but to highlight life with a spinal cord injury, I thought it would be nice to include a funny story from the evening…
During the silent auction, where pictures or items are walked around the room for people to then bid on, my friend Stacey had made me laugh over something. As a picture of the boxer, Mohammed Ali, reached about £10,000 my arms went into spasm due to me laughing and just as the spotlight scanned the room looking for bidders, they went up in the air. My mum was sat next to me and was then trying to break my spasm and put my arms back down, which made me laugh even more, before I ended up with a rather large painting in my house!!
I was absolutely overwhelmed, and still am, at the number of family, friends and members of the public who took the time to vote for me and who asked others to vote for me. Thank you once again to everyone who supported me, I can’t tell you how much it meant to me to win the Award. I have always been proud to be from Yorkshire and this night was no exception. It was an incredible night and one I will never forget.
Receiving this award made us all realise just how much support we had for the project and it was the start of a new chapter for Road Safety Talks. We all knew that night that we had to take the project to the next level.