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A Shaw thing

Sam Shaw is a reporter on Money Marketing

Oh dear Lord. That Chesterfield place certainly has a lot to answer for. As if the Headline Money awards last week did not manage to get the entire financial services PR and journalism community absolutely hammered, some of the more foolish among us felt it necessary to carry on to a Mayfair hotel to trip the light fantastic a little later. With my fellow Shaw-ite Esther tinkling the ivories to everyone’s delight, the night was filled with frolics.

More Th>n’s Jon Sellors kept me highly amused with his Peter Kay-style knees-slide across the dancefloor and a certain Scotsman PF editor spent the latter half of the awards do asleep at one of the tables. Legend that she is, though, she was soon up and on the tiles again after her little power nap. The people at the very noisy Gartmore table nearly got a beating by the Capita boys (and many other irritated attendees trying to listen to the compere) and Abbey’s Steve Ainger held his own in the air guitar stakes.

Awards won: Several. Hurrah.

Random bruises acquired: Two, only one that makes any sense.

Early meetings regrettably booked for the next morning: Two. Why do I do it to myself?

Annie Shaw is a freelance financial journalist

Dr David Brown, chief actuary at HBOS, may not have a pointy head like some other number crunchers of his profession but he certainly has a sharp nose – so much so that he was runner-up at a Halifax Insurance wine-tasting event at the Dali Gallery in County Hall to launch the firm’s new “beat and freeze” household cover product the other week.

Dr Brown’s feat was the more remarkable as he is on a strict detox regime and not a drop of alcohol passed his lips. Lucky, then, for the abstaining oenophile that I, with a knowledge of wine extending only as far as what is on special offer at Sainsbury’s, beat him to first place and the Champagne prize by filling in the quiz form at random.

David Rutley, sales and marketing director of Halifax General Insurance, was reminiscing that he used to live in St Albans. The name rings a bell and I recall that Mr Rutley was the Conservative candidate for the constituency in the 1997 general election, losing Peter Lilley’s erstwhile Tory safe seat to Labour’s Kerry Pollard (OK, there were boundary changes, which did not exactly assist Mr Rutley’s cause). He tells me the name of the road he used to live in and that rings another bell. It is the same road as the home of Bob Goodall, founder, in the aftermath of Halifax’s demutualisation, of the Save Our Building Societies campaign and more recently founder of the House Price Control lobby group.

Esther Shaw is deputy personal finance editor at the Independent on Sunday

While I am not sure of being entirely sober while I write this, I will do my best to piece together at least a little of what happened last night. Recollections are, admittedly, a little thin on the ground but I do remember that Lifesearch’s Kevin Carr had long hair (he’s getting it cut as a birthday treat) and that Hargreaves Lansdown’s Tom McPhail had a beard. I do recall Roger Anderson making too many jokes at the expense of the pictures illustrating our prize-winning copy in the dear Sindie. From now on, in protest, we will be illustrating all stories with pictures of Oasis. Definitely. (Maybe.)

I can also confirm that as there was a piece of silverware sitting at the bottom of my bed the following morning, I definitely did win an award last night which is more than I can say for years gone by when, having failed to win an award myself, I resorted to stealing other people’s awards, namely from Sir Lappin’s esteemed publication. Interested parties can still submit bids for it on ebay,

Elsewhere this week, I was pleased to be able to play the piano at the wedding of the delectable Laura Brady. Given that I approached my piano practice for this event in the same way that I approach my journalistic deadlines, I am pleased to report that my renditions of Here Comes The Bride and other nuptial tunes came with a minimal amount of duff notes.

That is more than I can say for my renditions of anything I tried to play on the grand piano at the Royal Lancaster last week and then at the Chesterfield, where I could no longer see my fingers. Shots of Sambucca quaffed at the awards: Enough to feed a small army. Number of times Nationwide’s Steve Blore tried to get me into a taxi home: Several.

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I write this blog with tears streaming down my cheeks. Why? I hear you ask. Well – ’tis because it’s my last pensions blog for Money Marketing. Next Monday I move to write about pensions and investments for another paper and will be replaced by our lovely life and protection reporter Nicola York who, I have been repeatedly assured by various contacts, is much more attractive than me.

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