Awards, friends & Coronation street



One morning at 5am in the morning, I set off for the lake district to collect a sofa which I’d arranged to buy on ebay.

I’d only worked at my new job at Sonova for a few months, and wasn’t very comfortable borrowing the company van, so you can imagine my delight when someone I hardly knew, offered to come with me and pick up the sofa.

We picked up the sofa and drove back to work. Once there, there was a slight problem as the van was needed, so we had to unload the sofa into the warehouse reception temporarily. It took 4 days before I could get it moved, and one of my fondest memories of working at Sonova is seeing the Polish girls very politely sitting on the sofa waiting to clock out and go home.

The person who drove the van, who refused to accept any payment, was the now famous Mithering Gareth.

Gareths 30th birthday and leaving do from Sonova

We’ve been good friends ever since, and I was surprised to hear recently that he’d decided to leave Sonova for pastures new.

Tracy told me there was a surprise leaving party, and asked if I wanted to go. For a friend like that, there was no question.

I arrived early at Tom at 101, and sat chatting to Phil and Lisa. Without any warning, Gareth appeared, said hi and headed for the door.

Turns out it was also a 30th party and Gareth knew all about it.

Loads of Gareths other friends from Sonova and Unitron were there, and many of his former customers had actually flown in from Ireland and the Isle of Man to be there.

My memory of the day was loads of children playing with balloons, and loads of grown men playing with mobile phones, trying to watch the match without being seen.

I gave Gareth a gift of a framed copy of the photo of the sofa. My new boss asked whether Gareth would prefer something like a bottle of whisky, but I knew better 🙂

modifications to cabling after foolhardyness

Whilst doing up my bedroom, I had to take the carpets up ready for the excellent Martin fit the laminate floor.

I was convinced that the telephone cable into my house presented at ground level and the cable I was holding in the bedroom, was an un-needed extension.

Drunk on my own sense of power, I got giddy with the wire cutters. The outcome, I cut off my own internet. Fool.

I needed the external cable moving and Lucy from work helped, by putting these easy to understand points onto the photograph I sent to the window people who’d agreed to fix it.

Tony and his crew in the Angkor watt

In the centre of this picture, my old friend Tony, formerly landlord of the Frog & Nightingale, now the Lock Keeper.

Tony (like most people from London) considers swearing a hobby and starts most sentences with F@cking …

I was delighted when he approached me with a plan to introduce some culture into his life, and visit the Angkor Watt in Cambodia.

We sorted out the tickets and visa’s and stuff and here he is, on the ground in Cambodia enjoying himself.

Friends having curry in Frodsham

Talking about friends.

Have a look at this photo of me and a few friends having a curry in Frodsham.

Have a look at the woman 3rd from the left.

Same friend in Coronation street

Now look at this scene from Coronation street, at the woman on the bottom right.

Yes, its the same girl, my Parrot loving friend Maria from IVC.

15 of 15 countdown

I’ve been at Moneypenny now for about 7 months.

Its fab, and one of the first projects I had to work on, was to setup a TV in our playroom, with cryptic messages and a countdown timer on it.

It seemed a bit eccentric to me, and a lot like messing about. I was told it was very important (and now I know a bit more about the Moneypenny culture, I know why).

Basic idea, was that on the 7th of February, Moneypenny would have been trading as a company for 15 years.

At the time, this was 138 days away, the the TV above would count down the months, days, hours and minutes until then (an excellent chap who’s now my friend and called Reggie wrote the website).

My boss Oliver bungie jumping in the car park

The idea, is that there would be 15 events to celebrate the 15 years, culminating in one event 15 of 15, which would be the biggest one of all.

Loads of events happened (too many to mention here), but one highlight for me, was to arrive at work and find a crane set up in the car park for everyone to have a go at Bungie jumping.

We arrive at the Queens Hotel

Months later, and 15 of 15 is announced. It would be an amazing Black Tie evening at the Queens hotel in Chester (only 150m from my house, I couldn’t wait and got my dinner Jacket dry cleaned in earnest).

On the night, I met a few friends for a drink first before heading over, into what nearly became a faux pas.

As I got there, I heard some sort of noisy music being played outside.

Considering how important the evening was, and presuming them to be vagrants, I immediately walked over with the intention of telling them to p1ss off.

As I got there, Ed (one of the company’s directors) asked if I liked the band he’d arranged. Turns out they’re a professional outfit called Karamba Samba and do loads of stuff in Chester.

Our PA army

Once inside, it was “proper” Champagne in lavish surroundings.

I was delighted to be there with all my friends, and the “PA army” we’re all so proud of.

Excellent food, quality wine and cracking music. Can’t have been cheap, but quality usually costs money.

Only low point of the evening, was when the zip on my trousers broke.

But I’m a career engineer – a safety pin from the hotel reception, some creative (and careful)  fastening and I’m back out enjoying myself.

Me on the stage, receiving my award

Later on, awards were announced and people were called to the stage. The announcements were pre-recorded by Marc Silk who’s famous for his work in TV.

I think I’ve done well at Moneypenny, but in 20 years in IT I have had promotions, pay rises and qualifications, but never any kind of award.

So you can imagine my surprise, when I won not 1 but 2 outstanding contribution awards for customer service and going above and beyond (1 of only 2 people in the company to do this).

Chosen and voted for by the very people I help every day.

As I accepted my 2nd award, our managing director Glenn told me how much I was appreciated at Moneypenny (I think he might have thought I was being aloof).

It wasn’t that. It was one of the proudest moments of my career. I was speechless with emotion.

Afterwards our band Incognito kicks in and the room is on its feet.

I find a quiet corner and chat to a few friends. Feeling very satisfied and content, I see off 3 bottles of wine all on my own 🙂

Rachel from Marketing

So who actually organised all of this (including hotel bookings, bungie cranes, tea at the Grosvenor…) ?, while keeping everything top secret so it was a special surprise.

A. an event management company ?

B. a 50 year old project manager in a £1200 suit ?

C. Laurence Llewelyn Bowen ?

None of those. Rachel, a capable assistant in our marketing department.

She couldn’t win any awards as she was organising, so here’s one from all of us here at

That was the best company event that I’ve ever been to by a mile. That’s as simple as I can say it.

At home with my awards

This blog entry began with me talking about things that have pride of place in my home.

It’s going to end the same way. Back in my living room, my favourite chair, my TV, fish tank and my wooden blinds.

But what’s on the table in the middle.

Back at home not 1 but 2 awards for outstanding achievment

Both my Moneypenny awards. Exactly where they belong.

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