This year’s grand final of Dickies UK Worker of the Year took place at the Thistle Hotel at Brands Hatch on Saturday 18th October. The final weekend of thrills and spills of the British Superbike Championships was thrown in for good measure for all six finalists and their chosen guests. The team at DickiesStore.co.uk were lucky enough to have behind the scenes access to report on all the high points of this year’s event.
Saturday began with a full day of corporate hospitality trackside, where the six finalists were clearly nervous ahead of the announcements due that evening. The finalists were Jez Young, a landscape gardener; Andrew Mitchinson, an automobile valet; Louise Jones, a baker and cake maker; Mike Watton, a chef; Andrew Fox-Hewitt, a fire-fighter and Chris Teale, a plumbing and heating engineer. These six had travelled for up to seven long hours to be at the Dickies UK Worker of The Year final, but were all in good spirits and supporting each other in anticipation of the evening ahead. As the day of racing closed, the finalists made their way back to the on-site hotel to steady their nerves for the evening to come.
The Big Night
The big night was finally upon us. As well as representatives from both sponsors Dickies and Suzuki, there were two special guests in attendance – Andy Fordham, best known for winning the 2004 BDO World Darts Championship, and Chris ‘The Stalker’ Walker, a popular competitor in the British Superbike Championship for many years.
After welcoming drinks and a sit down three course meal, the coffees were served. This could only mean one thing – it was announcement time. Our hosts for the evening, Maurice Morton (Sales and Marketing Director for Dickies) and Gary Barak (Chairman of Chicane, the Dickies PR & Marketing agency), spoke of the five year history of the UK Worker of The Year competition and what the eventual winner and other finalists could expect following the event.
This year’s winner looked forward to the prize choice of a Suzuki S Cross, a Suzuki V Strom motorcycle or a Suzuki quad. After selecting their preferred Suzuki vehicle, they would then have the chance to predict the top six rider positions of Sunday’s BSB races, with Dickies handing out an additional £100 000 cash prize if correct.
It was then time to announce the three joint 4th place positions for 2014. Andrew Mitchinson, Jez Young and Mike Watton all received a rapturous round of applause as their names were announced and they came up to the stage to collect their prizes and trophies.
The tension could be felt with just three candidates remaining for the title, the main prize and the chance to win £100k at the British Superbikes Championship the following day. Judi James, last year’s winner, then came to the stage to explain how winning the title had changed her life and given her confidence and opportunities she had never imagined possible prior to entering in 2013. It was then time to announce 3rd place. Andrew Fox-Hewitt, the fire-fighter, was awarded 3rd and walked away with £1k worth of holiday vouchers amongst other excellent prizes.
Finally it was time for the winner to be announced, with just two candidates left standing nervously on the stage. The winner of the UK Worker of The Year 2014 was Chris Teale!
Chris was allowed to have a moment to take in the news, while Louise Jones was briefly interviewed and given £2k worth of holiday vouchers amongst other prizes. Chris was then given his award and was asked which of the three potential prizes he would like to take home. Chris wisely chose the car and so is now the proud owner of a brand new Suzuki S Cross as well as the holder of the title of UK Worker of The Year 2014!
One Final Prediction
The excitement of the weekend was not over though. The next morning, everyone once again gathered in the hospitality area trackside where Chris was left sweating on the potential of a £100k jackpot if his earlier prediction of the top six riders in the final race of the season was correct. The race was held in the afternoon and everybody was praying for Chris to land the jackpot throughout the day. Unfortunately, much to the dismay of his supporters, up against a steep challenge Chris did not manage to guess the top six in order and so did not land the additional £100k cash prize, but still left that evening a truly happy and well deserving winner.
The UK Worker of The Year competition is due to return for the 6th straight year in 2015. Keep up to date with breaking news via DickiesStore.co.uk by signing up to our Worker of The Year newsletter, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.