Martin's Mailbox: Everyone's a winner

Martin's Mailbox: Everyone's a winner


It was well worth the wait: a venue to die for, an explosion of colour, celebrities at every turn and our chief host sporting the snappiest Cruise Liner jacket since Humphrey Bogart sauntered into Rick’s Café and ordered his long-suffering pianist to ‘play it again…’.

It can only be the Bridging & Commercial Awards 2012 – the hottest ticket in town.

After 2011’s sauna-fest, I confess I wasn’t sure what to expect. As we gathered on the rain-soaked pavements in our finery and flapper dresses (the girls looked great too), I knew it would be bigger but would – could – it be better?

Well, it was. From the first glass of bubbly to the final slurp of lager, the day was an appropriate reflection of all that is good in bridging.

As an awards veteran, I reckon Mo and his team judged it about right – celebratory rather than hubristic, positive without being arrogant. I also appreciated the focus on our sector rather than the wide-ranging approach of other events. Frankly, I couldn’t care less who provides the best equity release or lifetime insurance products, and I doubt they give a fig who’s the king-of-the-swingers when it comes to bridging.

And what an opportunity to network! Had a Boeing 747 skipper mistaken Chiswell Street, EC1, for Heathrow, Runway One, the short-term lending industry would have been wiped-out in an instance (… who’s that cheering at the back?). But we were spared, and the great-and-good mingled, gossiped and man-hugged with abandon.

Perhaps there’s no finer illustration of just how dynamic bridging has become than in the table plans of the hosting attendees. As one myself, I can attest to the fierce competition to secure sought-after names. The fact one was spoilt for choice surely says something about the quality and entertainment value of the people?

So my thanks to the entire Bridging & Commercial team for a superb day. With expectations running high, I suspect they’re planning something even more special for 2013. I’ve already booked our tables, and expect not to be disappointed.

Finally, my sincere congratulations to all the winners in the individual award categories. The process that selected you was, so far as I’m able to judge, among the most objective, fair and transparent I’ve seen.

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