I had a message from the FA Wales’ Steve Lloyd a while back asking if I was free to take a call regarding the awards night. As it had been the TNS presentation evening just a couple of days before, I assumed that’s what he was referring to. I even got my notes ready, thinking it was a clarification on who won a particular award or something like that.
However it was none of that, in fact it was the upcoming Dafabet Welsh Premier League awards event that he was referring to. The host was Marc Webber and would I be available to roam the floor with a microphone and interview people? Before I could yes I had something to sort out, but once that was dealt with it was a case of diolch yn fawr. Thank you very much.
With a room booked for the night in the St. David’s Hotel in Flintshire, I set off with my wife, Debby, looking forward very much to what lay ahead. It was a professional set-up and well organised as you’d imagine. The hotel itself was fantastic and it was great to see our very own Connell Rawlinson, literally larger than life, centre-stage. I always feel very proud when I see our players in the limelight.
The event itself went very well, with specific awards going to the Harrisons – Craig picking up the manager of the season and Paul being inducted into the WPL Hall Of Fame. I was in on it of course, as I was set to interview H, but as Marc Webber built up to the announcement I watched our goalkeeper and captain to see at which point he realised that Marc was referring to him. Yet it was only when his name was mentioned that the penny dropped.
I’ve interviewed him many times of course during my time with The New Saints for podcasts and post-match interviews, but this was certainly the proudest one as far as I was concerned. I really like H, he’s not only a great player on the pitch but also a lovely person off it. His popularity extends far beyond the confines of Park Hall though, and this was evident as he received the one and only standing ovation from the room as he went to collect his award.
As a Rev I’m used to saying grace of course, but when Gwyn Derfel the WPL secretary approached me to ask if I would say blessings on the food prior to the meals being served, I felt very honoured. My faith is important to me and for it to be recognised in that way, was very special. Finally, as far as the awards evening is concerned, the TNS Radio cake even got a mention from the stage! It’s becoming legendary in its own right!
— Kayleigh❤️ (@Dramababey12) June 5, 2016
It was a busy weekend as the next day, with the dust hardly settling on the old season, the new one kicked off for TNS Radio. Reunited with my airwaves partner-in-crime, Sam Thomas, for the first time since the TNS Ladies’ Shropshire Cup final at Shrewsbury Town, it was great to be back on the mic. Park Hall was the venue for the charity game featuring the Once Upon A Smile celebrity XI and the local Zack’s XI.
Held in memory of Zackery Dell, who sadly passed away minutes after birth, his parents Gemma Newson and Oscar Dell have been instrumental in raising support and awareness for Hope House. A children’s bereavement and support charity, along with OUAS they do a tremendous work. An Internet search will reveal their respective websites, take a look at what they do.
The game itself saw the celebrities on the wrong end of a 7-0 scoreline, but that didn’t matter because what really counted was that both charities benefited from not only the exposure but also financially as well. Graeme Sutton did a great job in organising the day, and as anyone who gets involved in stuff knows, you end up multi-tasking. In this case he even picked up a whistle, although no cards were needed, as he officiated as the man in black.
We had representatives from both charities live on air with us during the game with Lynsey Kilvert from Hope House and OUAS represented by Stephanie Peters, Megan Pieter and Lauren White. The interviews, along with one that we did post-match with Graeme Sutton, will be in an upcoming podcast (episode 42). It will be dedicated to the day at Park Hall, but in the meantime check out the current one (episode 40) that includes the first club interview with the latest signing, Jon Routledge.
With photographs required for the website, I also found myself involved in the photo-shoot that took place at Park Hall last week. If you’d have told me a couple of years ago that I’d be involved in that sort of thing at a professional football club, I wouldn’t have believed you. It shows doesn’t it, in life we never know what’s around the corner. Every time I think I’ve ‘peaked’ in terms of feeling honoured to be involved in Welsh football, something else comes up, I wonder what’s next!