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Pride of Birmingham 2019

For the third year running, the University of Birmingham’s Great Hall provided the backdrop to this celebration of local heroes: Pride of Birmingham.

And Birmingham has plenty to be proud of.

2019’s winners

This year’s winners included Ahmad Nawaz, who survived a Taliban attack on his school; firefighter John Conway, who rescued a holidaymaker who had fallen into an active volcano; and Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Rosemary Cox, whose campaigning led to the creation of the NHS Organ Donor Register.

Person receiving award

You can see a full list of winners here. They’re now in the running to be feted again, at the Pride of Britain awards later this year.

Red carpet stars

The University team rolled out the red carpet on 26 March 2019 for a host of celebrities.

Compere Kym Marsh returned again to keep the ceremony moving.

Kym Marsh on presenting duties.

Strictly star Ore Oduba and local music legend Tommy Iommi added to the glamour for guests, along with sporting stars Albert Adomah and Brendan Batson, and cast members from BBC’s Doctors, which films here in Edgbaston.

Entertainment was provided by Georgia Burgess, the X Factor star who wowed Simon Cowell last year.

georgia burgess

Behind the scenes

Of course, behind the glitz and excitement, there’s a busy team at work making it all look seamless for the guests.

Preparation for the big event begins the day before at 8am, when the tech build process begins. Decorations and set dressing like sponsors’ archways arrive the day before too to allow time for construction – and the all-important awards themselves arrive as well, to be carefully stored away.

The big day itself starts at 8am, and from then it’s all systems go. Everything from chair covers and placecards to signage needs to be put in place. The many rooms surrounding the Great Hall allow Green Rooms for celebrity guests, and planning space for organisers.

The catering team are on site from 12.30pm, ready to begin preparations for a three-course meal to impress: Trio of beetroot, pan-fried salmon or asparagus risotto, and a chocoate and orange tart.

Tech rehearsals begin at 2pm. Meanwhile, outside, the red carpet is being built.

By 5.30pm, music is playing in the marble rotunda, ready to welcome guests with drinks when the doors open at 6pm.

After a fabulous meal, microphones are waiting in the wings from 8.30pm ready for Georgia Burgess to sing. Then Kym Marsh takes over as host to hand out the special awards. After the ceremony, the after-party goes on until carriages at 1am.

That’s not quite the end for the team, however, who finally close down the event at 3am, with a fully-cleaned venue and all props and equipment boxed and ready for collection.

All that effort is of course worth it, to celebrate these worthy winners. And it’s all in a day’s work for the events team here at the University of Birmingham, who are hoping to welcome Pride of Birmingham 2020 back to the Great Hall next year.

BBC West Midlands were there to capture the occasion. You can see the Great Hall in action at the beginning and end of this clip, as well as more about those worthy winners.

Find out more about the Great Hall here.

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