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PFM Awards 2014: Eamonn Holmes takes personal approach with winners

Author : David Strydom

07 November 2014

Eamonn Holmes and Alex Murphy

In a departure from the schedule, TV presenter Eamonn Holmes - host of the 2014 PFM Awards at The Brewery in London on 5 November - personally interviewed three award winners onstage. Here's the full story:

Describing any large awards celebration as ‘a night to remember’ is a bit of a cliché, but in the case of the 21st PFM Awards, it certainly wasn’t a cliché. With host Eamonn Holmes providing entertainment, along with magicians and affectionate mobile trees adding to the unique flavour of the evening, the winners weren’t the only ones having fun.

And there were winners aplenty – from Cofely with the North East Lincolnshire Council (NELC) to Sodexo with Unilever, 14forty with Airbus Defence & Space, and iSite with Nationwide Building Society, among others.

But the best moment for me was Eamonn Holmes’s interviews with the three individual winners – Alex Murphy of ISS (Young FM of the Year), Nicola Foster of Mitie (Partnership Team Member Award) and Simon Cox of ISS (Peter Middup Lifetime Achievement Award).

Instead of the winners merely coming onstage to collect their award, getting their official photo taken and returning to their tables, Eamonn suggested beforehand that he pull each individual winner aside and light-heartedly interview them. Nobody feared for a second that this departure from the norm would disrupt the schedule – but neither did we imagine it would be such a touching moment.

Owing to the fact that Alex is, like Eamonn, an Irishman, it was no surprise the 32-year-old general manager exhibited a gift for the gab. He was, he pointed out, thoroughly impressed to be standing next to an Irish legend. Indeed, it must have been quite a night for Alex. He had, in every sense, the best of Irish luck.

After receiving her award, Nicola Foster (pictured) had no idea she was going to be pulled to the side by Eamonn. She hurried back towards her table, where her Mitie colleagues were eagerly awaiting to congratulate her, before being almost reeled back onstage to face the music.

Nicola, a daytime cleaner at a Leeds school, won the team partnership award because she’d decided, on her own initiative, to improve pupils’ reading skills. She seemed genuinely surprised at the reaction to her selflessness, and – to her credit – held her nerve extremely well under the audience’s intensely interested gaze.

Finally there was Simon Cox who this year celebrates 30 years of service with ISS. His humility was immediately obvious as he accepted the award, but Eamonn succeeded in his inimitable way of drawing Simon out for the audience’s benefit. Touchingly, the ISS table came to its feet to applaud a man who is obviously loved and respected.


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