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British Pool & Hot Tub Awards 2020 - Ricoh Arena 28th January 2020


Imagine my delight to be approached by SPATA Ltd, The Swimming Pool and Allied Trades Association, to host the British Pool & Hot Tub Awards for 2020, taking place on Tuesday 28th January.

A highlight in the calendar for this incredible industry that sees so many leading companies and brands come together to celebrate their hard work and achievements over the last year and beyond. This one in particular was a brand-new event for me to look after, and I always have a nervous excitement when stepping into the unknown for the first time. After all, I’m meeting new people, new procedures and an unknown quantity of personalities, professionalism and expectations. Nether-the-less, this is what I love to do for a living and helping people achieve their greatest results for such special occasions is my forte!

Pre-event nerves are actually really good, whether you are organising, hosting or performing. Why? Because it usually means you have a heightened adrenalin, which indeed helps you become alert and on-point, and subsequently helps with an energised and focused delivery. 

Arriving early, for a late afternoon run-through, I was greeted by the rather warming Jan who, along with colleagues, quickly made me feel welcome and at ease. Showing me the ‘greenroom’ (a relaxing, dining and changing private area that is shared with other artists) I soon had my items placed safely and securely, and also in the knowing of having a comfortable breakout space. Not every event has this, but gratefully, this event did.

Now settled, I could run through the script, 41 pages in all, and liaise with the event organisers and technicians regarding our collective delivery of the evenings schedule and awards ahead. Run-through complete, expectations now clarified, the stage set and tech almost to my liking, I could unwind and interact with other artists in the greenroom prior to me being needed onstage later. I duly changed into my evenings black tie dinner dress-code shortly before doors opened.

As guests arrived, I circulated and said hello to various groups, which often helps with building a repour and gives me insight into the different types of people, personalities and energy in the room. As everybody had dinner I retired to the greenroom to eat mine (sometimes I get to sit with the guests and dine on the set menu too) but I’m happy either way, and it can be novel to indulge with other performers and interact backstage. We were treated to a very well-made Chicken Curry (or vegetarian if so desired), accompanied by rice and mixed salad, a stunning and very light ‘bread and butter’ pudding with Devonshire custard and a range of hot and cold beverages that were beautifully presented to us by our own member of hospitality staff. I can say we were treated like very special guests and made to feel appreciated and comfortable, before delivering our required performances.

Closer to the awards I ventured out into the room and awaited my introduction onto the stage. The room full of beautifully dressed people all attentively looking stage front and hanging on my every movement, action and word. I love that immediate opportunity to engage; delivering warmth, energy and clarity with immense passion. I ran through a long list of awards, inviting a collection of; sponsors, incredible winners, and runners up, to the stage for photographs, awards and a handshake while I also integrate with video screens, sound and light. There were many fabulous guests in attendance, including; Gold Medallist Olympic Diver, Jack Laugher MBE, who interreacted and delivered with pride. Prior, and after the awards, we were able to have a good chat, planning his requirements beforehand and also reflecting on the delivery afterwards. As it happened, we had some technical issues during the main awards, which we hadn’t experienced during the rehearsal.

They always say a good presenter comes into their own when something goes wrong and I certainly didn’t fail to deliver! During the giving of awards, the sound, including microphones, completely went off, no power at all. As the tech team quickly tried to locate and rectify the issue I am stood on stage thinking, do I go on or do we wait? I knew it was a very tight schedule. The organiser explains that the amp has gone that powers what we need to make it work and tech are trying to address it asap. I ask him whether he wants me to continue without the sound system? His eyes said it all, with thanks and admiration for my efforts to continue, and quickly said, yes please Phil ,do try! That’s all I needed, I quickly jumped back into action apologising for the issue and informing the audience that tech was doing their best, but we’d continue anyway. People cheered, and I went on to raise my voice, fill the room with clarity, and take extra effort to ensure everything was repeated by myself as it happened on stage. The sound issue came and went three times, as the amp came on and quickly died again. I involved the crowd, who each time cheered and applauded as we shared that journey together. Overall, we delivered a really successful awards presentation and didn’t allow small issues, or what may have been big to some, phase us in the slightest. The show needed to go on and it did!

After the presentation awards, and the raffle that I also co-hosted with Jack Laugher MBE, we were able to reflect and appreciate what we’d pulled off. I was grateful that many movers and shakers of this incredible industry took time to come and show warming thanks for pulling off such success for their event, under potentially difficult circumstances. I take pride in knowing that my clients have bought into professionalism and it’s my job to ensure the show runs as smoothly as possible, although they cannot foresee every eventuality, we had succeeded in a time of duress. I must say that this isn’t a usual occurrence but as a consummate professional you have to be prepared for anything and not fall apart.

I really enjoyed this incredible event and find myself grateful that following the success of its execution, I was immediately invited to host again for 2021. Of which I quickly answered, yes!

Thank you to all of the teams that worked together to ensure a wonderful evening that ensured everybody had a good time.

I look forward to seeing everyone again in 2021!

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Birmingham Raises £33,525.00 for Wuhan Fundraiser!

There is one thing you can certainly count on in Birmingham in a time of need. That is, the city coming together to support each of the many communities, that make up this beautiful multi-cultural centre of the UK, in a time of need. When local businessman, James Wong, and the Chinese community asked me to help them with their fundraiser, to assist with getting much needed medical supplies, and more, to their friends and family in Wuhan,China, then I jumped to the challenge. Actually, when I say challenge, it was far from that for me. I simply had to help spread the word ahead of the event and turn up to an ITV interview, prior to hosting the evenings event on Monday 10th February 2020.

James Wong and Wendy Choy of the Chinese Community, and James, also Chair of Southside BID, were supported by President of the Overseas Chinese Association, Tom Lee. Collectively they pulled together an event fundraising idea that would have only 10 days to execute. No small feat for anybody hosting such a gathering. However, Birmingham being what it is, we all pulled together and worked hard to ensure that this would be a true success and give support to those in need.

A big thank you goes to Cairn Hotel Group (Holiday inn) who gave their amazing, and newly refitted, Birmingham Conference & Events Centre (Hill Street) for FREE! Chung Ying Cantonese Restaurant supplied all of the incredible food for FREE, which included for each table; whole seabass, steamed chicken, roasted duck, sweet & sour chicken, beef in black-bean sauce, and an endless list of other starts and mains. An array of sponsors gave cash in kind, auction and raffle prizes, and of course bought tables at £700 each (for 10) for approximately 200 people to be in attendance on a Monday evening in February!

The night kicked off with an array of movers and shakers from the city playing their part and networking freely before the main event.

As the host of the evening I had finally managed to get James Wong to sit down (only 20 mins before the commencement of the event) and run through: a schedule, running order, special guest speakers, prizes and entertainment; and was subsequently able to make myself a plan! I must confess, I do not normally work on such a ‘final hour’ production schedule but under the circumstances, many of the details hadn’t been finalised until that day and James was still asking his team questions as we sat down to plan. However, I am able to deal with last minute changes, being a consummate professional, so we merely stretched my idea of changes to accommodate. 

A last-minute check-in with Darren, the sound and light technician, and I was calling people to dinner in the main arena and opening the event. A warm welcome and insight into the night’s schedule followed by me welcoming an array of distinguished guests to speak and pledge their support to help Birmingham help others in Wuhan. We welcomed: The Birmingham Lord Mayor – Councillor Mohamed Aziz, West Midlands Mayor – Andy Street, President of The Overseas Chinese Association – Tom Lee, James Wong – Chinese Festival Committee, Southside BID Chair, Owner of Chung Ying Group and finally, Professor KK Cheng from the University of Birmingham who gave a powerful but practical insight into the Coronavirus, and as with any virus, how to try and be careful in everyday life, especially about washing hands and other simple things, in stopping the spread of germs. All spoke with passion and togetherness, which made you feel incredibly proud as a Birmingham businessman, resident and fellow human-being! Other guests included Southside BID, Birmingham Chinese Lions, The Birmingham Hippodrome Theatre, Bootcamp Media, Colmore BID, Councillor Alex Yip and Birmingham City Council. Too many to name but all incredibly worthy and appreciated.

My role was simple, or I certainly make look it, that is; keep it energised, keep it flowing and ensure that the message is clear and thus achieving a successful end result. There were performances from: Wan Sheung Dance, Birmingham’s Chinese Society Karaoke, Dan’s Dance and finally the fantastic Elegant Entertainment. A raffle with incredible prizes from numerous donors in the city, businesses and personal, and also an auction that included artwork by Nancy Duan and also Kealey Farmer too. I worked the auction to its max and collectively the raffles and auction raised circa £4,500.

As a host I like to work the room and ensure people are enjoying themselves and feel engaged with the evening, that is my role. Here, I didn’t fail to deliver, and the entire evening was a huge success. People had fun, ate well, enjoyed traditional Chinese and British entertainment, heard some passionate speeches and were able to network with friends, colleagues and strangers alike, who maybe became new friends.

I really love what I do as a host, whether it’s a corporate event, an awards dinners, charity night, opening of some kind, a fashion show and so much more. I aim to bring togetherness, and ensure smoothness, taking the pressure off the organiser so they can relax and enjoy what they’ve created. I felt privileged to host something that would help so many, while also helping the people in the room enjoy a fundraising evening.

In all, we raised £33,525.00 for China, and the people of Wuhan!

The right host helps get to the right result but it’s the coming together of a team of like-minded people that really helps make things happen.

Congratulations to everybody who gave their time freely, gave event space, supplied entertainment, organised the night, donated prizes, bought tickets, gave speeches and attended the evening; including the support from BBC Midlands Today and ITV Central News.

Phil Oldershaw

Presenter/ Host / MC



Cool Britannia

Cool Britannia

As Brexit manoeuvres into position many around the globe release a sigh of relief while standing at the front of the queue for the exciting potential of doing new business with the UK. While others inside, and outside, of the UK are still scratching their heads thinking “How did this happen? Why are we leaving? and, Will Great Britain ever be the same again?” 

Whether you were for, or against, democracy has spoken and rightfully, we are doing what the small majority of people asked for! 

23rd June 2016 was the date almost 52% of the UK decided that packing our bags and leaving the EU would be the best step forward in making the UK a ‘Greater Britain’ on 31st January 2020. Somewhat different to when we had a referendum in 1975 and 67% decided we should stay! It seemed a rocky relationship from the start, as we first applied in 1961 and were subsequently vetoed by the French government twice, in 1963 and 1967, until finally being given the green light in 1969 for negotiations to finally allow us to become a member into the European Communities (as it was once known) in 1973. 12 Years to get in and 4 years to get out, already a positive sign that we get things done much quicker without Europe, even though it did appear that Brexit negotiations lasted millennia. 

Firmly embracing that stiff upper lip, we may take a while to get in but are pretty consistent when in position, and we are certainly quicker at pulling out when things don’t feel right for us.

However, when it comes to business, although we have sold some Great British brands such as Rolls Royce, Cadbury’s (I twice sold a car to Mrs Cadbury), Weetabix, Jaguar-Land Rover, Branston Pickle, Camelot, Boots, Raleigh and Asda, to purchasers around the world, we can still smile in delight at the global impact 20 of our key brands have in the world’s top 500 companies. We sit 6th on the world stage for the amount of business done by our leading brands, falling behind these 5 world leaders, who hold the represented numbers of businesses within: USA (126), China (111), Japan (52), Germany (32), & France (28). 

We can surely class ourselves as a ‘Cool Britannia’ when these giants help us hold our place on the world’s business stage:  

8. BP (12 in 2016), 49. Prudential (56), 90. HSBC (88), 102. Tesco (92), 143. Aviva (90), 

158. Vodafone (149), 172. Legal & General (49), 189. Lloyds (121),265. SSE (269),

278. Rio Tinto (316), 290. GlaxoSmithKline (273), 303. J Sainsbury (310),318. Centrica (286).

336. Barclays (284), 377. BT (346), 413. Compass Group (387), 449. Anglo-American (-)

453. British American Tobacco (-), 460. IAG (435). 

All in all, not bad considering that there’s 1,439,323,776 people in China (18.47% of the world’s population), and America has 331,002,651 (4.25% of the world’s population) as well as drones and the CIA to help gain business (just a thought) then at a mere 67,886,001 (0.87 % of the world’s population) in retrospect, taking population into account of the leading 5 then we are a significant player on the world business market and would probably sit top 3.

Be proud of your country and be grateful of what we have. It’s easy to take things for granted and speak with a negative tongue, but we’re not doing too bad. The world’s eyes are upon us and together we can achieve greater things together, for the benefit of all, given the freedom and opportunity. 

After all, WE ARE ‘Cool Britannia’.

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