14th May 2016

We can be heroes

Our friends at Vital Network Solutions http://www.vital-ns.co.uk/ got in touch; they wanted to nominate us for Stray FM's 2016 Local Heroes Awards in the charitable company category. I thanked them and told them a bit about the charity work the firm has done and future plans. Fast forward six weeks and Kirsty, Emily, Hollie and myself are proudly representing the firm at a gloriously glittering Awards ceremony at Harrogate's lovely Cedar Court Hotel.

The first category is Child of Courage. Our mascara is destroyed as 10-year-old James accepts this award, explaining he just deals with what he has to. What he has to deal with is the complex and debilitating illness of his equally courageous sister, Jemima to whom he is carer, companion and inspiration. Stray FM's Nick announces that the station will be treating the youngsters to a trip to Harry Potter World. We all cry again.

And so it goes on. Ordinary people doing extraordinary things for others. Many of them bemused as to why these things are thought of as extraordinary.

And then it's 'our' category, charitable company. A pre-shot video is played and Macmillan's lovely and engaging Michaela introduces us as an organisation who raised £15,000 for Macmillan last year and she pays tribute to our passion and energy.

I'm interviewed in the video and asked why Berwins does it. (Now wishing I'd had an early night before the shoot) I explain about our CSR policy, our charity committee as part of that, our brand values of passion, care, ownership, teamwork and accessibility. Paul Berwin explains that this runs through the whole organisation - not top down but bottom up, sideways on - at every level. Watching it I realise that no-one at Berwins has not been involved in some way.

We go on to talk about what we did - and shout out to the cake-makers, the dress-downers, the dressing-uppers, the hill-walkers, the tin-shakers, the long distance runners, the newly-weds, the sandwich-makers, the lunch-servers, those generous with their time, energy, motivation, skills, talents, support and cash. That's the Berwins crowd, our clients, our contacts, our family and our friends. The amazing work that Macmillan does, and the inspiration we have had from Michaela, and the people we've encountered along the way who've lived with cancer and have told us about their experiences with Macmillan.

We won! Thank you Stray FM for putting on these awards and to the sponsors whose support makes it happen.

Driving home, having left the others lining up the Jager bombs I get to pondering some more the question of why Berwins does it, having felt I didn't address it properly, and more than a little humbled by sharing a stage with true heroes like 10-year-old James.

I come home to an empty house, the morning's post still on the mat. Uppermost is a mailer from Macmillan with the the words 'We shine brighter together' emblazoned on the envelope. Good bye to the remnants of the mascara. There's the answer.

Carolynn Peace

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