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ABPCO recognises excellence in second annual awards

Winners revealed at The Brighton Centre, as SECC collects inaugural Special Chairman’s Award

NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau's Paul Szomoru and Caroline Reed, flanked by Best Industry Partnership award finalists Linda Best of Birmingham's International Convention Centre, and Shocklogic's Pritesh Mawdia

The in house team at Diabetes UK and the NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau were among the winners at the Association of British Professional Conference Organisers (ABPCO) Excellence Awards.

Around 90 ABPCO members gathered at The Brighton Centre for the second edition of the annual awards, part of the Chairman’s Lunch, and Diabetes UK was awarded best conference by an in-house conference organiser, while Opening Doors & Venues won best conference by an agency conference organiser and best industry partnership went to NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau.

Attendees voted for their winner in each category following a series of five-minute presentations from each finalist. 

Diabetes UK was honoured for its 2015 Professional Conference at ExCeL in March, which attracted a record attendance in excess of 3,400 delegates, 64 exhibitors and placed an emphasis on a social media buzz among the UK Diabetes community. 

The inaugural West Midlands School Leaders Conference, held at Chateau Impney in Droitwich Spa, earned a win for Opening Doors & Venues, after its Great Expectations themed event attracted 200 delegates from a ‘standing start’. 

NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau’s ambassador scheme also proved a hit with voters, who were impressed by the relationship the bureau has forged with Newcastle University, which has secured a number of association conferences.

In addition, co-chair Caroline Windsor announced a new award for 2015, the Special Chairman’s Award, in recognition of CSR programmes and initiatives, which went to the Scottish Exhibition & Convention Centre (SECC) for its work on the new Healthy Venues Initiative. Manchester Central’s efforts in achieving a number of international standards, was also given special mention. 

Windsor said: “We had to consider how far reaching these initiatives were and whether there is a legacy.”

Kathleen Warden, director of conference sales at the SECC added: “These awards are testament to the partnerships we have developed with the PCO community over the years, and we would like to thank the ABPCO board and their members for recognising the work that we do in continuing to innovate and move our industry forward. Thank you; it’s a true honour.” 

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