Thurrock Civic Awards 2018

As well as being a designer for dotty hippo design, I am also vice-chair for the Grays Town Management Partnership. This enables me as a business to get involved and work towards improving Grays for the local community and businesses.

Love Grays

Love Grays was created to bring awareness to the community.

We were thrilled to be asked to sponsor a category at the Thurrock Civic Awards. The awards are all about recognising members of the community and celebrating what they do. It seemed very apt that we were part of this.


The last time I went to the Thurrock Civic Awards was in 2014, as a finalist in the Business in the Community category. This year, I was representing Love Grays and had the very special job of announcing and presenting the winner. It was another chance to get my little black dress on.

I went along with Emma, the town centre co-ordinator. When we arrived we had a glass of bubbly and had time to catch up with a few people that I knew from networking. It was nice to see everyone all dressed up.

The evening begins

The organiser explained to me what I needed to do to present the award. It would be just like the Oscars. I‘ll be given an envelope, read out the nominees, open the envelope and announce the winner. Luckily our category wasn’t first, so I was able to see how it worked. My main concern was not to fall over walking up to the stage!

We were seated at our table with two nominees and their families. It was lovely to hear what they do for the community.

The award ceremony started with a break where dinner was served. Our category for Sporting Achievement was after dinner. It had been announced that music would be played whilst the sponsor walked up. Emma and I had great fun trying to guess what music would be played when I walked up.

Presenting the award

Here we go… our category was announced and I was introduced.

Off I went, walking up to the stage to Billy Joel, Uptown Girl. It was only when I got to the stand that I realised how many people were there.

I read out the nominees, pausing long enough for the cheers and applause.

Time to open the envelope and announce the winner… and the winner is Jean Jones.

Jean is 80 years-old and has given more than 60 years service to netball in Thurrock. That is amazing! She has taught all ages and still umpires many games. Even though she has mobility problems, this doesn’t stop her being actively involved.

She was delighted to receive this award, and when she came up on stage, I gave her the award with my congratulations and she just said, “I can’t believe it”.

It was then time for photos before heading back to the table to enjoy the rest of the evening.

Danny Crates was the host for the evening and a very fitting host for an amazing award ceremony. It was humbling to be part of a special evening full of inspirational people.

Well done to everybody who was a finalist – you all are winners in my eyes!