145. Award winner

Column I wrote after winning the award. Originally appeared in local paper, Bishop’s Stortford Independent.

I’d be exaggerating if I said I’d lost them all as I did manage the odd ‘crikey’ and ‘thank you’.  However, even now, back at home, I am still lost for words.  So, what on earth happened to me in a marquee in January, to incite this reaction?

Warning … I am about to do something very un-British and blow my own trumpet

Drum roll please; I won the ‘Person of Courage’ award on Friday 26 January at the 2024 Indie Awards evening .

To see it written down is a shock, but to rewatch it on the live facebook stream is just surreal.  Me courageous?   I haven’t scaled the highest mountain or swam the deepest sea.  

When the awards ceremony was announced, as in previous years, I sent a cheeky message to the editor of the paper, Paul Winspear, to ask if there was space for a random contributor to the newspaper (thats me) to attend.   He came back to say that, yes, I could attend and I could bring a guest.

But I nearly didn’t attend.  My plus one was going to be the ‘wise(ish) man’ but I had ‘kindly’ donated my streaming cold to him and he wasn’t well enough to join me.   I had been to previous award ceremonies and knew it would be a good evening and so my daughter, Catherine, rushed back from London to be my plus one.   

The elephant of the evening was of course, Parkinson’s Disease (PD), which, as usual, was intent on trying to disrupt my enjoyment.  Regular readers will know that PD raises its ugly head at random times during the day.  It’s first target was the journey to the venue, which was too short for a taxi, but, as it turned out, too long for me. 

I learnt a while ago that ‘time’ is something which PD hates.  That is given enough time I can usually achieve most things.  So I left over half an hour for what should have been a five minute walk.  I felt a small victory when we arrived at the venue on time.  

On arrival, desperate for a familiar face, I spotted young friend Jane in the crowd.  Pleased to see her I asked her in what capacity she was at the evening.   She explained to me that she was a competition winner.   She seemed to be following me, as she was also sitting next to me at the meal table.  PD robbed me of my sense of smell a while back, otherwise I might have have smelt a rat.  I found out later that there was no competition, and she was actually there as she had nominated me.

We had a lovely evening, seated with those who run Jackson Square shopping centre, who, it turned out, sponsored the award.  This was ironic as shopping is one of my dopamine inducing activities.  I was also able to ask my million dollar question when should I start queueing for the new TK Maxx store being built in Jackson Square.

After a great meal, during which the catering company seamlessly catered for my dairy and gluten intolerances, the award ceremony began.

We watched many brilliant short films with many deserving winners.  Then when Paul Winspear announced the penultimate category, Person of Courage, everything went a bit odd.  I heard that someone named ‘Julie Walker’ had won.   It took me a second to realise, that was me.  What was the first thing which happened when all eyes were on me?  PD decided to try and show off and pull my mouth about so I looked like an odd gurning person.

Paul gave a lovely speech, over some photographs of me from the six years I have been writing for the Indie.  I went up after the speech and accepted flowers and a lovely, glass award which for damage limitation David carried.  During the photographs I had another small victory, managing to overpower PD, forcing the odd gurn into a half decent smile for the camera.

Thank you to Paul Winspear for his lovely words, Jane for the nomination, the management of Jackson Square for sponsoring the award,  Catherine for being super-sub, David for being Paul’s glamorous assistant and for the lamination.  Also thank you to everyone at the Indie for their unwavering support in publishing my waffle each week. It still amazes me that a middle aged woman with no journalism experience is still let loose on a page of the local paper.