It’s a tale of tartan, tears, tension, and triumph. It’s the Fishing News Awards - through MWC Project Manager Harriet’s eyes.
Last week, MWC Director Katrina and I were lucky enough to attend the annual Fishing News Awards as a guest of Fishmongers’ Hall. We contemplated whether to go, given how far away Aberdeen is from Bristol, but this was the first time we’d ever been invited (even though we’ve worked in the industry for years) and we agreed it was an opportunity not to be missed. I can tell you now, we were not disappointed.
We had tears, tartan (lots of it), power cuts, dancing, singing waiters, falling waiters, lost dinner jackets, and a huge amount of pride!
Here are my highlights.
The whole of Aberdeen lost power about two hours before the event was about to start. This meant no drinks, no food, no A/V, no water for showers and people locked out of their rooms because their key cards wouldn’t work. Katrina narrowly missed out on going to the awards in a sweaty mess as she was just off to the gym when she found out she wouldn’t be able to shower afterwards! The receptionist handed me a water bottle and said I could ‘give myself a quick flanel wash’. This did not fill me with joy.
In attempt to keep everyone calm in the darkness the event organisers made the bagpiper play his bagpipes for two hours straight and then they handed out free (warm) booze...
The power came back on in the end and we were able to get started. What a drama!
To kick the awards off, a new ‘Life Saver Award’ was presented to Brixham fisherman Reegan Green and the crew of the ‘Emilia Jayne’. During a violent storm Reegan was swept overboard and, thanks to the quick actions of the crew, Reegan was picked up an hour later by the HM Coastguard. Reegan was the first fisherman in 20 years to be found alive after that amount of time in the water and it was because he was wearing a life jacket.
The winchman, Mark ‘Spike’ Hughes, gave a short speech and became tearful at how grateful he was that Reegan was wearing his lifejacket and he didn’t have the awful job of winching up a dead body. It was a lesson for everyone in the room and I really hope it encourages other fishermen to always wear theirs.
One of the weirdest bits of the whole event was the way nominees for each award had to go up to the stage - meaning that if and when you eventually found out you hadn’t won, you had to stand in front of everyone and graciously congratulate the winner.
This shamefully happened to us, as one of the project’s we worked on (Gearing Up) was up for the Sustainability Award. Katrina and I went up to the stage only to find out we hadn’t won… embarrassing! We were, of course, nonetheless very happy for the winners and were delighted to find out we were Highly Commended.
What struck me most at the awards was the passion and pride everyone has for their industry. I loved seeing how happy everyone was not just to win an award but to be recognised for their hard work.
This was especially true for Mike Montgomerie who won the Lifetime Achievement Award for his passion and dedication for gear innovation. He has helped hundreds of fishermen in his career and it obviously meant so much to him to win. He told me afterwards the cheer from the crowd was the ‘best thing ever’.
The falling waiter
After the awards finished two of the waiters broke out into song - or opera to be exact. However, before one of the waiters could get his first line out, he fell over a chair onto his face. Probably one of the funniest things I’ve ever witnessed but hats off to him for getting straight back up to continue!
So, that’s it. My quick down-low of the FN Awards. Katrina and I have decided that we will definitely be going next year - but this time we will win the award!