At 7pm last night, putting the last squashed grape into a bin bag and carrying plastic cups out to the car, I had a little teary moment. We’d done it. Pulled off another event. Sold out. Trending on twitter all day long. Northern Rocks 2 was a success. And I was a teensy bit proud. Then I looked up, saw my husband lugging boxes, dripping in sweat (the way he had been since 6am) and I realised that this event isn’t about me and Emma. It’s about all the people who stood behind us and refused to let us fail.
Nick Mitchell and the team at Leeds Beckett who met every whim and request without complaint, and exceeded them all with new ideas and generosity beyond anything we’d hoped for.
The speakers and panellists who not only gave up their Saturday, but who I know will have been thinking and prepping and worrying for weeks.
The helpers who were there bright and early supporting registration, smiling and setting the tone for the day and for all of the sessions.
The sparkles team – the three stooges and Rachel Orr who made sure that the day ended with people dancing in the aisles and laughing their heads off.
The sponsors who probably made nothing from the day, but believed in our values and aims and gave us money and more anyway.
And to the delegates who came, in the rain (again) and smiled and smiled all day long. I can’t tell you how lovely it is to walk into a room and have everyone beam at you. To have people take the time to stop you to say thank you. To be able to put faces to all those names on twitter. It was an honour and a privilege to have you all there.
Ann Mroz said at one point during the day “what a great event and what a great crowd” and it’s true. Northern Rocks has a little magical something. Serious issues are debated; pedagogy is explored, learned, interrogated; we learn. But there is more – it is characterised by humanity, kindness, hope and positivity. That atmosphere we can’t quite put our fingers on – that’s collective joy that is. A profession united in common purpose. And I love it.
So thank you all. It’s not our event. It’s yours. Here’s to 2016.