TryAngle awards – 20th anniversary
June 21st 2014
It started in the Pfizer lecture theatre twenty years ago. It was the brainchild of Kent County senior Youth Officer Bill Butler and Area Social services Director Jan Askew who decided that instead of the stream of bad publicity directed at Kent`s young people it was time to recognise the achievements of those same young people in one of the most deprived areas of the County – East Kent.
And so the TryAngle awards were born. It was a low-key, school lunch-break event at first, celebrated with some crisps and squash and a few members of the “chain gang” to dish out awards and certificates. Amongst those roped in to make the presentations were the then Editor of the Isle of Thanet Gazette, Mike Pearce, and North Thanet`s Member of Parliament, Roger Gale.
After the first awards Jan Askew, Roger Gale and Bill Butler got together to plan how to grow the idea. “Next year the Winter Gardens, then the Albert Hall” was the dream. TryAngle has yet to go national and to reach the Albert Hall but in the intervening years the project has spread out to cover the whole of Kent with the “Spirit of TryAngle”, held in the Autumn, bringing together the “best of the best” in a “County Final”. The Award Scheme is now a registered National charity with a board of Trustees and still has aspirations to reach out nationwide.
“ We have had great support from many organisations and businesses” says the Foundation`s Chairman, Sir Roger Gale, “notably from Kent County Constabulary who have staunchly supported the bravery award, from the County`s newspapers and radio stations, from local philanthropic organisations and from the KCC. The awards recognise a number of areas of personal and group achievement relating to sport, the arts, the environment, community service and the like and each year it gets harder and more humbling to judge the submissions. The triumph of young people over all manner of challenges and adversity is truly extraordinary and those of us who are involved in the Foundation have been privileged to meet, over twenty years, some of the finest, bravest, most courageous, most talented, most determined and most outstanding of the young people of the County.
The ceremonies themselves have transformed from the original low-key event to evenings that harness the use of the County`s best venues and involve live entertainment, friends and relatives and proper hospitality all funded through the generosity of sponsors. The 20th Anniversary Thanet Awards at the Margate Winter Gardens, to be held on Thursday, will, I hope, mark the start of a new era that will take TryAngle beyond the boundaries of Kent and allow us to help to pay tribute to the young people not just of our own County but of Britain.”