We owe a great deal of thanks to all those involved, including the judges, our sponsors and the IPR West of England committee. But the biggest thanks go to every PR consultancy, in-house team and independent practitioner for his or her entry. A lot of time and energy goes into entering the PRide Awards, and although not everyone who entered won an award, those who didn't win can take comfort in the fact that the calibre of entries this year was incredibly high. Many congratulations to all our winners - the competition was tough. The PRide Awards are an important way of recognising excellence and professionalism in the PR industry. I hope that next year's awards look to identify and celebrate both new and existing talent among PROs in the West of England.
LIS ANDERSON, chairman, IPR West of England Region
In the West of England we can take pride in the strength and vibrancy of our PR industry. Over the years, many London-based public relations professionals have headed west, seeking a better quality of life. But they have not arrived in a backwater. This region boasts a bedrock of highly talented people, who, with the new arrivals, have created a thriving, forward-looking industry. It is not unusual to find small agencies in the South West working on major national, and increasingly international, accounts - the kind of work that previously would only have gone to London.
Finding skilled people is becoming harder all the time, so anything the profession can do to raise standards through training and development can only benefit the industry long term. Along with this is the need to recognise those individuals, agencies and in-house teams who produce outstanding work. This is why these awards are vital - if only to counter the view of the profession held by many in the media. As a journalist, I come up against bad PR all the time. In my view, the industry isn't good enough at weeding out individuals and agencies that give it a bad name. But by applauding those who achieve high professional standards, it is making a tremendous start.
ROBERT BUCKLAND, business editor, Western Daily Press.