We had a three course dinner, which consisted of salad, salmon and lemon tart. It was certainly an interesting combination! There was accompanying music from Deaf flautist Ruth Montgomery.
I’m not quite sure what to think of the waiting staff! They kept asking every 5 minutes if we wanted a top up of water or wine! Considering the event was a ‘Deaf’ one- the hint is in the name… why weren’t they Deaf aware!? They kept walking in front of everybody when we were trying to lip-read or watch the interpreters, also when asking us if we wanted wine/water- we wouldn’t know they were behind us! A simple tap on the shoulder would’ve helped!
The atmosphere of the evening really surprised me because I’ve never been around this many Deaf/Hard of Hearing individuals before. I was expecting a quiet evening full of people signing to one another… it was the complete opposite! It was so noisy, whether it was people chatting or the music playing- I’m not sure!
Helen Lederer was the presenter for the night, she was great to watch! Her bold blue eyes really lit up the stage and the jokes she made were hilarious! The evening swiftly moved onto the auction, hosted by Bonhams, with some fantastic prizes on offer! I hope RAD raised a great amount from this for their services!
Toby Burton, Chair of RAD gave the best speech of the night. He highlighted the ongoing issues that Deaf/Hard of Hearing people face and some quotes he gave, I couldn’t have put it in better words. Parts of the speech brought a tear to my eye as he talked about how much contribution people like us give to the Deaf community. It really hit home about why I write this blog and he has inspired me to keep going!
Shortly after the speeches came the awards. This was the part of the night I’d been waiting for! All the categories and the contenders were amazing! Helen’s favourite line of the night was: ‘The nominations are… (Pointing to the screen)’.
When they announced the winners of each category, it was great to see their reactions! I was surprised at the amount of Deaf love in the room- everybody was congratulating the winners with hugs. One thing that took my hearing family by surprise was the way Deaf people applaud- they wave their hands! D and I were doing a combination of this and clapping as we can use both!
Of course, the Young Person’s category was the last one! I was nominated by my lovely mum, so thank you to her! The other contestants were: Finlay Maciver and Ashley Kendall. At this point my heart was pounding! I was so nervous to find out if I won.
Dr Tyron Woolfe, the host; announced the winner to be Ashley- he deserved it! He presents CBeebies’ Magic Hands and has contributed to many Deaf projects and workshops.
All the runners up in previous rounds didn’t get to go on the stage so I was a bitdisheartened. But… Tyron announced: “Could we please invite Ellen and Finlay on the stage”- my heart leapt up again! I couldn’t believe it- I got to stand on the stage with Ashley, the host and Helen! Ashley gave a very passionate speech through sign language, then I was asked to give mine! I didn’t know what to say! It felt as if I kept saying ‘thank you’ over and over again! I also found out I just spoke in front of over 370 people- how scary is that!
Finlay and I were so lucky to be highly commended and we both received a trophy of our own! Finlay was given his for his ‘positive attitude’ and myself for ‘amazing achievements in education, sport and her career’. This is truly a big achievement for me- I can’t choose between this, or running with the Olympic Torch! Did I mention- they accidentally gave us the wrong trophies, just as well I spotted his name on mine, as I probably wouldn’t see him again! I had to scavenge the room to find him!
I love this photo of all of us with our trophies and I managed to catch Ashley for a photo afterwards!
I even managed to get a quick snapshot with Helen herself! She asked me what my blog was called and also how old I was. She told me to keep up the good work, so it was great to hear that from her!
Toby Burton Chair of the Board of Trustees, RAD was kind enough to let me have a photo with him too!
I had a lovely quick chat with Dr Jan Sheldon, Chief Executive, RAD as it was great to finally meet her in person after the Skype interview for the nomination process! Hats off to her and her team for pulling off a fantastic evening! Here’s a photo of us together.
I didn’t get a chance in my speech to say proper thank you’s to my family who have supported me with this blogging, my mum for nominating me for this award and most importantly to my boyfriend, as if it wasn’t for him encouraging me to start the blog, I wouldn’t have been there that night!
The night finished off with music from ‘Bond Street’, at this time we headed back to our hotel! What a night!
More photos of the evening can be found on the Photo Gallery page!
For more information about the other award categories, please click here.
Hope you enjoyed reading,
Love E x