The team behind last year's virtual sea shanty festival has had a double win at a major national awards ceremony.

The Falmouth Town Team has won two awards for its work and leadership in supporting Falmouth, its businesses and wider community through the past two years of the global pandemic.

Falmouth BID manager Richard Wilcox won ‘UK Inspirational Leader of the Year’ while the virtual sea shanty festival won ‘Best Digital Project’ at the key national place management industry awards, facilitated by the Association of Town and City Management, the ATCM.

The awards, which recognise excellence and innovation, both in terms of leadership and projects are open to hundreds of towns, cities, and councils across the United Kingdom to enter.

Richard Wilcox winning Inspirational Leader of the Year award

Richard Wilcox winning Inspirational Leader of the Year award

Richard Wilcox was recognised for his "outstanding" work in supporting and lobbying on behalf of Falmouth businesses, delivering a range of trailblazing projects and PR campaigns, nationally championing Cornwall’s high streets to Government and political leaders and more, hugely impressed the judges.

Many of the competing BIDs, councils and leaders in this category have much larger resources and budgets, and the fact that Richard has not only established Falmouth BID as one of the best small BIDs in the country through facilitating a huge range of innovative schemes, but does so as the sole employee, blew the judges away.

Commenting on the national awards, Richard Wilcox, Executive Director of Falmouth BID said: “I am proud and humbled by our recognition. I know that up and down the country, there have been some incredible projects delivered by my colleagues and their teams to support hundreds of thousands of businesses and enable high streets to continue operating through the pandemic.

"For Falmouth to be acknowledged as one of the best is, as I say, humbling."

Richard continued: “Our teams are small, and we operate within a not-forprofit framework, with all resource and energy focussed on making Falmouth as vibrant and engaging place as possible. We simply could not do that in isolation, so we look to work collaboratively with many proactive people to make it happen. These awards reflect that teamwork and I’d like to say thank you to everyone who works so hard on behalf of the town.”

Falmouth winning Best Digital Project for Virtual Sea Shanty Festival

Falmouth winning Best Digital Project for Virtual Sea Shanty Festival

Because of the pandemic, both the 2020 and 2021 in-person festivals were cancelled. But knowing that this would have a significant regional impact, given the heritage, scale and reach of the event, the organising team worked on finding an innovative solution to showcase the festival to an even wider audience. The technical and logistical complexities involved in attempting to organise a virtual shanty event, aligned with the fact that this was the first of its kind for the south west, hugely impressed the ATCM judges.

Speaking about the judging panel’s decision to recognise Falmouth, Ojay McDonald, Chief Executive of the Association of Town and City Management (ATCM) highlighted:"Falmouth continues to punch well above its weight. The stresses and strains of the pandemic have created challenges for destinations everywhere, but the hard work, professionalism, and dynamism of the Falmouth team has allowed the town to gain influence on the international stage.

The Mayor of Falmouth, Councillor Steve Eva added: “Huge congratulations to the Richards! The partnership between Falmouth Town Council and the BID - led so well by Richard Gates and Richard Wilcox, has been vital in supporting many projects and ideas that have had a huge social and economic benefit to the community. We are all at the current time, living and working in such difficult circumstances, and the team work incredibly hard to support our community in as many ways as possible.

"If only people could see the amount of work and planning that goes into each and every festival, marketing campaign and public realm project to make them the best they can be!

"And that work was epitomised by the return to an in-person Sea Shanty Festival last weekend. Extremely challenging operational, financial, and even weather conditions, but the event was delivered seamlessly and enjoyed by thousands. Again, congratulations."