Winning an award in the Southern Group of Motoring Writers’ New Year Honours will be a double accolade this time around.
That’s the view of the SGMW after a difficult year and deliberating whether or not it was appropriate to judge candidates against entirely unexpected circumstances.
“In the end, we decided it was absolutely right to go with the awards for several reasons,” explained SGMW Chairman Ian Robertson.
“As it did for so much of ‘normal life’, Covid-19 devastated our motoring year, cancelling two of our flagship events – the spring Karting Grand Prix and the summer Heritage Day – and crushing many industry and social events where members and their PR contacts get together. So, the committee was determined that the pandemic should not sink the New Year Honours too.
“We also reminded ourselves that five of our eight awards are about human excellence: what better way could there be than to judge how people have coped or stepped up during this awful year of 2020? Any subsequent award must be regarded a double accolade or ‘bravery under fire’.”
The winners of eight tightly fought categories will be announced on 1st January 2021 as the SGMW New Year Honours list 2021 – the 4th year since the awards were launched.
Ian Robertson added: “It continues to be a ‘virtual event’ with no formal awards ceremony – at least for now – and all winners receive a handsome trophy to keep. They will be named along with significant runners-up on New Year’s Day.
“And there is always drama, with last year’s event confirming a hat-trick for Steve Kitson and his Kia team in the ‘Best PR Office’ category, despite being pushed hard by votes for John Handcock’s line-up at Citroën.
“To some extent though, all bets are off for 2020: members will be weighing how the PR offices and individuals have reacted to most unusual circumstances and how creative they have been to enable our members to maintain their livelihoods.”
Here’s a reminder of the awards up for grabs, plus a reminder of last year’s winners and runners-up:
Best PR Newcomer – awarded to someone who made a special impact in liaising with the media during the past year and is either new to the industry PR scene or has taken on a new role/position:
Winner: Emma Gaffney (Media Relations Executive – PSA Group)
Runner-up: Poppy Mackenzie-Smith (Press officer, Corporate – Ford)
The SGMW OBE (Operating Beyond Expectation) – for acting above and beyond the call of PR duty during the past year. It can be for consistent high performance, a memorable one-off effort, or a thoughtful gesture towards one of our members caught in a bind:
Winner: Carly Escritt (PR & Events Manager – MG)
Runner-up: Lucy Goss (Partnerships and Events Manager – Nissan)
Best PR Office – awarded to the operation consistently delivering the best all-round or forward-thinking service to SGMW throughout the year:
Mentioned in dispatches: Honda
Best in PR Innovation – awarded for an unusual or particularly excellent launch, driving route, or any imaginative addition to an event of the PR year in general:
Mentioned in dispatches: Skoda
‘Dark Horse’ of the Year – a car that surprised SGMW members, either by its arrival or just how good it was.
Winner: MG ZS EV
Runner-up: Suzuki Jimny
Mentioned in dispatches: Volkswagen ID.3
One to watch 2020 – the car that SGMW members most look forward to driving in the coming year.
Winner: Land Rover Defender
Runner-up: Ford Mustang Mach-E
SGMW Car of the Year
Winner: Tesla Model 3
Mentioned in dispatches: Renault Clio
SGMW Southern Star
Winner: Steve Loader