Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 14.37.04The best of public relations in the North East were announced Friday night (4 December 2015) at the 2015 CIPR North East Pride Awards, which gathered together more than 150 of the region’s public relations professionals to celebrate at The Biscuit Factory, Newcastle.

The prestigious awards, hosted by BBC Newcastle radio breakfast show presenter and stand-up comedian, Alfie Joey, recognised the best public relations campaigns, staff and organisations in the North East over the past year.

The regional CIPR committee for the North East recognised the achievement of Steph McGovern from the BBC, who received the coveted Communicator of the Year title. This award winning business presenter from Middlesbrough has been working in financial journalism for over 10 years travelling all over the UK to cover economic and business news for the BBC and since joining Breakfast has broadcast live from over 200 businesses. Whether she’s talking to workers in factories or interviewing FTSE 100 chief executives in the studio, she makes it her mission to find out what’s going on in the real economy.

Previous winners have included Steve Cram, Shaun Campbell of the Arthur Wharton campaign fame, The Duchess of Northumberland, life-saving children’s heart surgeon Dr Richard Kirk, RunGeordieRun, Herb Kim and Durham Cricket Club’s David Harker.

The committee also named the region’s in-house PR practitioner of year as Sheila Dixon from The Bowes Museum who received the Ken Robinson trophy.

Amongst the big winners on the night was Cool Blue Brand Communications, scooping three Gold Awards, including the coveted title of Outstanding Public Relations Consultancy, as well as Best Arts, Culture or Sport Award for the Festival of Thrift and Best Publication for Story Homes.

The judges said of Cool Blue Brand Communications, ”Off the back of its most profitable year, Cool Blue Brand Communications has successfully grown into a strong team of 35 staff, listing an impressive client base. Focused on delivering best results that are at the core of clients’ business objectives, the consultancy is investing considerably into its team, with generous training budgets and a focus on staff wellbeing.”

Another big winner of the night was the Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust winning three Gold Awards for Healthcare Campaign, Integrated Campaign and Best Use of Digital.

Two of them were for their campaign ‘A&E changes across Northumberland and North Tyneside’, created in order to raise awareness of the changes that took place at A&E departments in Hexham, North Tyneside and Wansbeck general hospitals which became 24 hour walk-in services providing urgent care for less serious conditions.

The team wowed the judges with their approach and were commended for a “robust and comprehensive campaign that was executed across a vast geographical region”. They were also credited for “using a thorough mix of communications channels to effectively reach residents and workers while delivering strong return on investments.’”

Sally Pearson MCIPR, Chair of the CIPR North East group, and independent PR consultant, commented:

“This year’s PRide Awards demonstrate yet again the breadth of quality and creative PR talent from across the North East. Standards for the awards are extremely high and everyone nominated for an award should be incredibly proud of their work, in what has been a highly competitive competition.

“On behalf of our committee, I’d like to congratulate tonight’s winners, all of whom have demonstrated the highest professional standards of public relations practice. The recipients of the two special awards were the North East’s Steph McGovern who received the Communicator of the Year award and to Sheila Dixon from The Bowes Museum who received the Ken Robinson Award.  Both have contributed to taking the North East out to the UK and globally and are outstanding communicators in their field.”

Full Gold Award winners from the 2015 CIPR North East PRide Awards:

Corporate and Business Communications Campaign: Symbiosis – The go-to sterile specialist, ramarketing

Public Sector Campaign: Jack’s Story, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service

Not-for-Profit Campaign: Changing Lives, Narrative

Healthcare Campaign: A&E changes across Northumberland and North Tyneside, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Integrated Campaign: Opening The Northumbria, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Low Budget Campaign: Keeping up with the Cowdashians, Creo Communications

STEM Campaign: Symbiosis – The go-to sterile specialist, ramarketing

Arts, Culture or Sport Campaign: A second year of thrifty fun! – Festival of Thrift, Cool Blue Brand Communications

Best Use of Media Relations: General Election unspun, Durham University

Best Use of Digital: A&E changes across Northumberland and North Tyneside, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Best Publication: Story Living Magazine – Story Homes, Cool Blue Brand Communications

Best Event: How to spend the mental health pound, NHS North of England Commissioning Support

Outstanding In-House Public Relations Team: Durham University

Outstanding Public Relations Consultancy: Cool Blue Brand Communications

PR Practitioner of the Year: Sheila Dixon, The Bowes Museum

Communicator of the Year: Steph McGovern, BBC

View full set of results, including Silver winners and case studies on the CIPR website

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