Hanging out with some of the famous

Well, I did my last in a looooong string of events last night until after Christmas, it was the NOF Energy annual dinner at the very glam Wynyard Hall where Hannah Waddingham, star of the West End and Broadway and currently being filmed for series 5 of Game of Thrones as Septa Unella, wowed the audience with her voice while the dancers from Encore Dance Entertainment performed brilliantly. I’ve been introducing and interviewing all kinds of people on stage including The Great British Bake-off’s Mary Berry and X-Factor judge Cheryl Fernandez-Versini. Frankly, I could have turned up in my wellies with all the glamour going on around me and noone would have noticed! Still, I’m always pleasantly surprise when a ‘celeb’ turns out to be sweet, funny and down-to-earth because so often they can be very disappointingly brash, obnoxious and offhand. Everyone I have met over the past couple of months has been great. But it hasn’t been just famous folk I’ve been talking to: the youngsters at the Princes Trust/Samsung Celebrate Success event at the Sage Gateshead were so inspiring. Congratulations to all of them and to Adrian, Young Achiever of the Year. They have all turned their lives around and faced some incredibly difficult challenges to succeed in business and education. Can you believe the Princes Trust will be 40 years old next year? Also huge congrat’s to Rachel Holliday, Time to Change – West Cumbria who was a reluctant but fabulous interviewee at Cumbria Community Foundation’s AGM event at Rheged, Penrith. She and service user Shane spoke quite movingly about the set up Rachel runs for homeless people in West Cumbria following her own experiences of being homeless as a teenager. Rachel then went on to pick up the Cumbria woman of the year title. Go Rachel!