Towards the end of November I was fortunate enough to attend the Greater Manchester Sports Awards with award winning Entrepreneur and joint Managing Director of First2group, Murali Goluguri, alongside sponsor of #GMSportsAwards, Journey9. Having always had a great passion for sport, this was something of a dream come true. Although it was all a bit hectic to start between finishing work, getting all dressed up, finding the venue, and my favourite part… test driving Murali’s car around the car park, the night couldn’t have gone any better. It was an amazing experience; from the professional photos when you walked in, to the amazing food, lovely company and, of course, the fantastic and talented awardee’s.
As it was my first big event with First2Group, I was fortunate enough to meet, and be sat with so many influential people including GreaterSport Chief Executive Officer, Yvonne Harrison, Laura Wolfe of Journey 9 and Sarah Collins, Producer of BBC Sports. I was also fortunate enough to be sat with a gentleman named John Morris, who left a massive impression on me. For the past 16 years, his job has been to go to events… sometimes he might even attend 3 a day! He used to work at Manchester University and seemed to know everything you needed to know about anything, whether it be people, events or just Manchester’s autobiography! One minute we would be talking about Gary Neville, the next the endless variety of auctions he’d seen at different events; he was a fantastic person to meet and someone I wish I had all night to speak to and listen to his experiences.
The evenings special guest was none other than Beth Tweddle MBE, deemed Great Britain’s greatest Gymnast to grace the floor (and the bars… and the beam for that matter) and undoubtedly Britain’s most successful female-gymnast. This was one of the highlights of the evening for me. Just having the opportunity to see her speak was amazing, and I will be forever grateful for both First2Group and Journey9 for putting me in a position to see and meet such influential people. To top it off, Beth Tweddle is actually my childhood idol. So with not much more than a tweet, I was in there! Sending out possibly the most cringe-worthy tweets of my life that evening was well worth it! A very down to earth Beth, who I would like to remind you has competed in 3 Olympic Games, achieving an Olympic Bronze at London 2012, is a triple World Champion, six-time European Champion, Commonwealth Champion and seven-times consecutive National Champion, was more than happy for me to meet her during the evening for a couple of pictures and a good old selfie!
The evening was mesmerising, seeing all the amazing things that so many people have been doing throughout all the different counties within Manchester was fantastic, and then to hear the full stories from the overall winners was even better. The two stories which struck me the most were that of Mayri Alejandra Diaz of Manchester County, and Glen Ragou who sadly couldn’t be there for the evening or to collect his award, and so his son, Louis Ragou, bravely did this for him. Mayri, who had gone from not being able to walk, to doing absolutely any and every physical activity she could get involved in achieved the Changing Lifestyle Award, sponsored by WorkSmart VPA. Glen achieved Coach of the Year after being a fully invested coach to all ages and all groups at his club; this award was sponsored by Gorilla BC which Louis collected for him.
Next up was Beth’s speech which I had highly anticipated all night. Very passionate and with no way of putting her career into words, we got to watch a video presentation summarising her career instead. As a fan it was so intense and exciting to watch what Beth regards as ‘her best bits’ and a round-off (excuse the pun) of her career; so, you can imagine my disappointment when sadly, I had to leave the event a short while after the speech began. Murali was able to stay, holding up the fort for First2Group, when talking about the evening he said “The Greater Manchester Sports Awards is proof that Manchester is the Worlds greatest city. It’s an inspiration to see ordinary, everyday people in Manchester doing extraordinary things; congratulations to all the nominees and all of the winners. Congratulations also to Yvonne and the team for putting together an unforgettable evening.”
Overall, as I have mentioned once or twice, this was one of the best experiences I have ever had, and a fantastic opportunity to meet such influential and prestigious people in their own right. Once again, I would like to thank both Murali and Journey 9, especially Laura Wolfe for having me come along to the evening in the first place. I hope to attend many more events like this on behalf of First2Group, it was my honour to represent them on the evening.
Written by Sammie Williams, Head of PR and Marketing.