Willo Talk

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LAST week’s Pride in Hartlepool awards once again turned out to be an emotional rollercoaster as people from all walks of life gathered to be honoured for some outstanding achievements over the last 12 months.

Now in its third year, the Mail-backed event honours Hartlepool folk who have gone the extra mile to do their bit for the community, help people less fortunate than themselves, or achieve something in the face of adversity.

It was one of those occasions it was an honour to be a part of, and I’m confident that everyone who was in the audience will echo that.

We had lots of cheers and more than a few tears, but the overall feeling at the end was one of a huge sense of pride.

There were some laughs along the way as well, one of which came at the expense of the Mail’s sports editor Roy Kelly who had the honour of presenting local boxer Savannah Marshall in recognition of her being crowned as World Champion last May.

Roy isn’t the tallest bloke you’ll ever meet, in fact when he gets ready for work on a morning he has to put turn ups on his boxer shorts.

Before he started at the Mail, he used to be a bouncer at Toys R Us.

When he climbed onto the stage under the spotlight to hand Savannah her trophy, the difference in height between a 6ft Olympian and a vertically-challenged hack raised a few giggles.

Savannah is no stranger to collecting trophies thanks to her efforts in the ring, and it’s clear her proud dad John has also picked up some tips after accompanying her to all of the awards ceremonies she’s invited to.

Big John was first on his feet when his daughter earned a standing ovation for her achievements, and he was quickly up again when the cling film came off the buffet.

He then taught me how to balance half a dozen samosas alongside a chicken on a stick, with a strategically placed sausage roll on top of an egg mayonnaise sandwich stopping the picked onions from rolling off the plate.

It was a work of art, the plate looked so good it seemed a shame to eat what was on it.

His interval antics would have been worth the admission money alone, if I’d had to pay to get in, so next year I’m going to nominate him for a Pride award and see if I can get him on the front of the night Mail.

I’ll also take a box along in case Roy gets the job of handing the trophy over.