After 18 months of lockdown, the parking sector came together in London on 24 September for the British Parking Awards 2021. The awards lunch at the Royal Lancaster is the highlight of the parking sector’s social calendar. This was something that more apparent than ever after 18 months of lockdowns and restrictions on social gatherings.
For many people in parking, the awards ceremony in March 2020 has been the last social gathering they had attended before COVID-19 gripped the country. Once the Parking Review team had launched this year’s competition, one regular request from entrants was that they did not mind waiting a while as long as the awards ceremony could be run as a real world event.
Working with the Royal Lancaster, contractors and the Landor LINKS events team, we sought to stage a safe but spectacular show. The feedback on the day, and since, is that this is what we achieved. There was a real sense of joy and camaraderie as colleagues, counterparts, clients and friends from across the sector met in person after so many long months of video conferences.
This year the event was hosted by the comedian and actor Marcus Brigstocke. As the ceremony progressed, it emerged that rather than always use hotels, our compere often drives to gigs in a motorhome, so he is a regular, and appreciative, user of the driveway parking services provided by a number of finalists.
It was intriguing to see Marcus become increasingly engrossed in the competition, and he said drivers really should appreciate the work that goes into providing the parking facilities that are all too easily taken for granted.
Our host was front and centre on stage applauding a special film made by Parking Review to thank the sector for supporting communities, the NHS and critical workers during the pandemic. After the event, Marcus wrote to say: “I thought the event went well. People had fun and that’s what’s important. It was great to see how much extra work people in the parking industry have done to help us all get through the pandemic. Lovely stuff.”?
From everyone at Parking Review, Landor LINKS and on behalf of the jury, I endorse those sentiments. We are now hard at work planning 2022’s awards, which will hopefully be the best yet. ?Big lessons to carry forward: never underestimating the importance of nice wine, slightly naughty jokes, an ABBA soundtrack and, especially, the beneficial effects of sticky toffee pudding!
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