As 2014 draws to a close it’s time for my alternative New Year’s Honours to say thank you to some of the people who’ve helped me, inspired me or contributed massively to the things I care about most. This list could easily go on and on, as I know so many talented and inspiring people, so I’ve deliberately restricted it to 10.
Professor Anne Gregory @gregsanne – I’ve known Anne for more than 20 years and she’s one of the most impressive advocates I know for increasing professionalism in public relations and emphasising how ethics should be at the heart of what we do. She’s currently the chair of Global Alliance (the confederation of the world’s major PR and communication management associations and institutions), but has also been president of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (in fact under her leadership we finally achieved chartered status). She’s also a brilliant example of how in the UK you can forge a successful international public relations career without resorting to living and working in London.
Robert Minton-Taylor @MintonTaylor – I’ve also know Robert for more than 20 years, ever since he left his London career at Burson-Marsteller to move to Yorkshire. Robert deserves an honour because of his selfless, unflagging work and campaigning to get a fair deal for interns in public relations. He recognises that not only is it the fair and ethical thing to do, but also that it’s essential if we are to increase diversity in the public relations profession.
Tom Murphy @tpemurphy – I first ‘knew’ Tom by reading his PR blog, but didn’t meet him until 2005 when we both spoke at the UK’s first ever PR social media conference in 2005. He now lives in the US and has held several senior PR positions with Microsoft including leading PR for Corporate Citizenship, Windows and now Office. But, he doesn’t deserve an honour for any of that. Tom deserves an honour for the rare occasions when he updates his PR blog when it is guaranteed he’ll share some common-sense public relations advice and observations that is always refreshingly free from the marketing bulls**t and social media guru hype that today infects PR blogs.
Stephen Waddington @wadds – Wadds as he is affectionately known to almost everyone is a one-man dynamo who never ceases to astound by his sheer volume of activity on his blog, as president of the CIPR, as a European director at Ketchum and still finding time to love and support his family. He’s done an amazing amount this year as president of the CIPR for which I’d like to say a huge personal thank you.
Sarah Pinch @ms-organised – Sarah has the unenviable task of taking over from Stephen Waddington as president of the CIPR for 2015. I’ve no doubt she’s more than up to the task and I look forward to working as a CIPR council member to give her whatever support I can.
There are so many people in politics I could have listed, and equally so many that have let the nation down (I’m thinking of you Ed Miliband), but the two I want to single out are both Labour parliamentary candidates in marginal Tory seats. They both need all the help they can get so please try to help by volunteering or donating.
John Grogan – John is one of my oldest friends and from 1997 to 2010 was a marvellous MP for Selby. Against all the odds in 2005 he held onto his seat, mainly because he was such a highly regarded local MP. Unfortunately boundary changes meant the seat was unwinnable in 2010. He’s now the candidate for Keighley in Wharfedale where he grew up.
Jamie Hanley @jamiehanley – Jamie fought the Pudsey constituency, where he grew up and lives, in 2010 and bucked the trend to do far better than the statistics indicated he should have done, but not quite good enough to win. He’s fighting the seat once again and is up against a phenomenally well-resourced Conservative campaign so Jamie needs all the help he can get.
Karen Bruce @karenbruce – Karen makes the list not just because she’s a wonderful wife, marvellous mother and wondrous work partner, but because she also finds time to be an awe-inspiring councillor who does a fantastic job representing local people in Rothwell. Not only is she active at community events and on the doorstep, but she also makes fantastic use of social media to listen and talk with thousands of local people. Her most successful Rothwell News Facebook updates and personal blog posts reached more than 5,000 people on very local issues such as a new skatepark and saving Windmill Youth Club. This is far more people than you could hope to reach via traditional media such as the Yorkshire Evening Post.
Esme Bruce – Esme continues to amaze and delight. She’s doing well at school and is doing more and more out of school activities including football, learning to play the keyboard, horse riding, choir and performing arts. And you can’t keep her nose out of books, she even picks up The Guardian and has a go at reading some of the news. Pretty good for a seven-year old. She happily comes out campaigning with us, although she sensibly prefers leafleting to door-knocking. But her interest in politics is deeper than that and she likes to see politicians she knows being interviewed on TV such as Rachel Reeves, Ed Balls and Andy Burnham.
George Bruce – when we lost our mum to MND in 2007 I was worried about my dad and what he’d do. But, I didn’t need to be as he’s more active than ever. Not only does he enjoy frequent holidays in the UK, but he also drives from the English Lake District right across Europe to holiday in Austria. He also does a ton of voluntary work and is active in the local Labour Party, the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and the Motor Neurone Disease Association. This year to raise money for MNDA he even went on the UK’s longest zip wire.