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A huge thanks to Don’t Panic, organisers of the UK Social Media Communication Awards, better known as #somecomms, for my Outstanding Contribution to Social Media award.

I picked up the gong at the awards ceremony in Manchester last night.

In an off-the-cuff speech I dedicated the award to my Grandfather, Fred Entwistle whose funeral was earlier in the day.

Fate occasionally throws you an unexpected opportunity and I grabbed this one firmly in both hands.

Fred was an incredible man who at 101 was larger than life itself. He was an engineer, an artist and a craftsman.

Born in 1910 in Earlstown, Newton-le-Willows, he saw off two World Wars, five monarchs, 24 prime ministers and witnessed the dawn of commercial flight, television and the Internet.

Aged 12 he won a scholarship to Manchester Grammar but left after two-years to help provide for his family.

Work was Vulcan in Earlestown and then English Electric in Preston. He spent the Second World War on aircraft projects and as a Captain in the Home Guard.

After the war he worked on traction engines. You’ll find one of his projects, an electric engine built in the early-60s that ran on the East Coast mainline for 20 years, in York Railway Museum.

Fred was a great advertisement for retirement. He worked on a project at Lancaster University in the 90s helping to catalogue and computerise census records and successfully traced our family tree back four generations.

His keen interest in genealogy was an example of his constantly enquiring mind. He taught me never to accept convention. Always embrace the new and always ask questions.

Fred was one of the first people to buy a personal computer and most recently log onto the Internet. Three weeks ago, during a short spell in hospital, he asked me to fix him up with an iPad.

He was fearless of technology and he’ll continue to live with me for the rest of my life through the passion that he unlocked.

Thank you #somecomms.

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About 

European Digital & Social Media Director at Ketchum and President of the CIPR. Author of Brand Anarchy and Brand Vandals; and editor and contributor to Share This and Share This Too.