Word of the week … Legacy
I have just had the most extraordinary week, saturated with emotion based around two key events on Wednesday, when I chatted to 30+ businesses who are shortlisted for a Hull Lifestyle Award®. This was for Estuary TV as part of the build-up for the Awards which are held at the KCOM on June 8th .
It was a fascinating day hosted by Pace Communications that, in hindsight, I should have devoted at least two days to. The filming took place at C4DI (Centre for Digital Innovation in Hull), a new building and the perfect location for us to film in as, for me, it represents the new levels of enthusiasm, energy, optimism and, dare I say it, expectation that are abound in the city. In each interview with the various businesses, their passion for their business was evident, clearly demonstrating their expertise and appetite to grow and develop. What was even more inspiring, though, was their desire for their neighbours who others may consider competitors, and the city as a whole, to not only ride this current wave that the City of Culture 2017 has afforded them, but to create even more waves, for the benefit of all.
For me, the day was summarised by a real Hull ambassador boxer, Tommy Coyle. Tommy is a proud son of Hull who has used his enthusiasm, passion, and money to set up gyms in the city to encourage people to be active and get fit, with a real focus on helping young people. Children can use his gyms for free, as he strives to get as many children as possible off the streets and into sport, which he credits for saving him from a life of trouble…his Twitter profile says it all: “Motivated by legacy…giving the youth of today a head start for tomorrow.” This was certainly the theme of his chat with me.
The lifestyle businesses, which I believe are always a barometer of any city, have shown what a collective effort can achieve and now, for the first time in generations in Hull, their creativity and talents are being traded and celebrated. My final question to most was: what do you hope the legacy of Hull 2017 will be? The answers they gave were all similar; to summarise: we hope that now people will understand that Hull is a great place to live and visit, and residents and visitors alike will consume it in big hearty bites. There is so much more to do than watch Netflix or play FIFA, and this city has a lot to offer.
The pride they have for their city was palpable, which is one of the main reasons, I believe, that in only three weeks of voting the Hull Lifestyle Awards attracted 96,746 votes, a record for a Lifestyle Awards® outside of London. I left Hull full of excitement, enthusiasm and pride for what my home city was achieving, and will achieve, and rushed back to my home of 18 years, London, for a royal date.
I have been an admirer of and cheerleader for the Diana Awards for a number of years, since I was introduced by passionate Ambassador Sinitta. The Diana Awards is a fantastic charity that carries on some of the good work the Princess of Wales undertook in her too short life.
To commemorate 20 years since her death, the Diana Awards decided to award 20 exceptionally selfless children with a Legacy Award. The awards were presented to young people in recognition of the impact they have had on their communities. We were joined by HRHs Prince William and Prince Harry as we enjoyed the opulent surroundings of St James’s Palace. As I looked around the room, I took in not only the very grand paintings and furniture, but also how the people present really were changing the world.
The CEO of the Diana Awards, Tessy Ojo, has worked relentlessly to celebrate and encourage young change-makers in communities across the country. Alongside her team she has set up projects, celebrated individuals, and literally changed people’s lives with the work the charity are doing. The work Tessy is doing now is transforming communities and their culture, which will have positive outcomes for generations to come — she will leave a fantastic legacy.
I chatted to some of the Legacy Award recipients, brave young people full of love, wisdom, and ambition. Some working on very localised projects to change the lives and communities of a few, some more widely changing attitudes or raising money, and some having a huge effect on hundreds of people. All of them were inspirational, all were full of love, and most had come from very difficult personal circumstances that many would have crumbled under, but not these young people. These are society’s winners, and they are winning by putting others first…what a legacy these individuals will leave.
Then I looked at the parents of these super kids, what an amazing job they have done with their children, without even knowing or understanding their own achievement; their legacies were standing up on the stage chatting and having conversations with the Princes, while the rest of us looked on in awe through tear-filled eyes.
Finally, I observed the legacy of William and Harry; whatever your view of the royals (I love them), I saw yesterday first-hand what it meant to the families and the award winners to spend time with the Princes. The Princes knew the children’s stories and achievements, and the congratulatory and encouraging words they offered will stay not just with the children, but will resonate through families and communities. These children will be local celebrities when they get home, and, along with the media coverage that is generated by the presence of the royals, I hope this will encourage more of us to learn from these superstar kids.
I wrote recently about finding your ‘why’. After been inspired by the book ‘Start With Why’ by Simon Sinek, now I want to add a further thought. Once you have discovered your ‘why’, ask yourself, what is going to be your legacy?
Thank you to everyone I met in Hull and London this week…you have all moved and inspired me.
Estuary TV www.estuary.tv Freeview Channel 7 and Virgin Media Channel 159
Pace Communications www.pacecomms.co.uk
Hull UK of Culture 2017 — www.hull2017.co.uk
Tommy Coyle — www.twitter.com/tommycoyle89
Tessy Ojo C.E.O of Diana Awards — Twitter Tessy Ojo www.twitter.com/Ttall
Diana Awards — www.diana-award.org.uk
Diana Award Ambassador Twitter Sinitta www.twitter.com/sinittaofficial