HUCSF's Dean Cartwright brings us his unique take on their Business Awards win last week...
Last Thursday night saw the Community Sports Foundation team attending the Hartlepool Business Awards ceremony having been nominated in the Best Community Group category.
The tension had been electric ever since we’d been shortlisted with question after question unfolding in the build-up. Would we win? What’s the prize? Will Paige ever get an outfit sorted and will Nobbsy fit into his wedding suit as it’s the only attire he has that’s remotely apt for such a high-profile event? (The answer to the latter questions were (i) yes for Paige and (ii) with the help of a shoe horn for Mr Nobbs).
And so, having fought off the paparazzi at the entrance to the Borough Hall, we took our seats now convinced that we didn’t stand a chance as we were so close to the kitchen that two of us helped prepare the starters.
Not being the sort to get too downhearted though, the team comforted each other with clichés such as “we did well to get here” and “we’re all winners really” although the alligator eyes and cynical look on Burto’s face summed up the universal assessment that none of us were happy being there just to make up the numbers.
Next up was the food, which I must say was a culinary delight and an education for some of the younger members of the team. I dutifully explained to Isaac what the items on his plate were before reassuring him that a terrine was the delicious fish dish in front of him and not a small orange fruit.
So following a number of speakers and a very good comedian/magician, we moved on to the Awards whilst Vicki (unsuccessfully) tried to hide the fact that she was watching the Sunderland playoff semi-final on her phone. She may have gotten away with it if she hadn’t celebrated so much when the final whistle went.
Each prize was preceded by a glowing narrative about the winning company before their identity was revealed and, as they were being given out, we quickly realized that the other companies banished to the back of the bus like us were picking up the Awards left, right and centre.
Maybe this was reverse psychology from the evil geniuses that organize the event and we did have a chance?!
Was this a false dawn? Would we be the odd ones out? Would the only stage Nobbsy’s suit ever see be in an am-dram production of Saturday Night Fever?
All was about to be revealed…..
The nominees were read out and then our host, Mr Steele, began a monologue that seemed to be describing our wonderful organisation with every glorious word. We looked at one another, could it be true? And then the announcement came, the winner was…..Hartlepool United Community Sports Foundation!!
Conscious of last year’s Oscar ceremony, we legged it to the stage to collect our prize before anyone had a chance to say “there’s been a mistake, it should have been Moonlight!”
And so the cast of La La Land were front and centre, delighted that the hard work each and every one of the team puts in as ambassadors of the town and the Football Club had been recognized and rewarded.
We left the stage to thunderous applause with the papers eagerly awaiting quotes from Keith, Hello magazine wanting pictures of Sarah and Nayrice whilst Viz turned up to speak to Isaac.
It didn’t stop there either. A few minutes later the Club received a second Award when Mr Raj Singh won the prize for Best Business Leader for his wonderful work in saving our Club from extinction last year and, in doing so, steadying the shakiest of ships and putting us back on the path to league football once again.
A great achievement by the Club and the Foundation, emphasizing the importance of both, not only to football fans in the town but to the local economy, the image of Hartlepool and to the lives of every person, young or old, that we connect with.
As we’re always on the clock, we also took the opportunity to network and promote what we do which led to us securing another sponsor for the Foundation for next season and the possibility of partnership work being briefly discussed with a couple of other companies, to be continued at a later date.
And so the night drew to a close as the limousines arrived to take the more prestigious guests to after show parties whilst we all climbed into the back of Craig’s Vauxhall Corsa with the intention of going to Popworld.
Alas we didn’t make it. Tomorrow was Friday and the work goes on for the team with the our adoring public relying on us to turn up bright-eyed and bushy tailed to do what we do. And we do it pretty well, even if we do say so ourselves.
See you next year Hartlepool Business Awards, it’s been a blast!