It has been a week of extraordinary highs and lows.
First, a horrible low: the sudden death of a true industry legend, Tony Pidgley. When I saw a tweet announcing the death of the Berkeley Group chairman on Twitter last Friday, I thought it was a sick joke. I could not wrap my head around the idea that someone so full of life could be dead.
Only a couple of months earlier, he had been his usual ebullient self in our first View from the top feature. Not even in the depths of the Covid-19 lockdown could his spirit be dampened. “I know we’ve got Mount Everest to climb in terms of financials, but it’s brought the country together,” he told our analysis editor Sebastian McCarthy at the time.
“People are being decent again, saying hello to each other. Nobody wants to have a row with you or flip their fingers up in the car. If there’s one thing that’s refreshing, it’s that old-fashioned decency.”
People will now have to climb the mountain without him, but as those who knew him attest in our tribute, his sense of decency (epitomised in his response to Grenfell), unerring ability to read the market correctly and sheer joie de vivre will never be forgotten.
I certainly won’t forget him. I had the pleasure of meeting Tony several times. He showed me around Kidbrooke Village when Berkeley launched modular concept Urban House in September 2016. Earlier that year, I had sat with him on the top table at the Property Awards with fellow Hall of Fame inductees Sir Stuart Lipton and the late Irvine Sellar.
He was utterly charming and I loved his brilliant linguistic inversions and malapropisms – he would talk of the good-feel rather than feelgood factor and disinfected rather than disaffected youth.
He was a true one-off and will be missed.
Our finest hour
And now for the extraordinary high. We have been shortlisted for major media awards more times than I care to recall in recent years and not won anything. Well now, I am delighted to say that we have. This week, Property Week was named Business Magazine Brand of the Year at the prestigious PPA Awards.
This award is recognition of the phenomenal achievements of the whole PW team, but as editor, I am particularly proud of what we have achieved editorially. It has been a massive year for us. We launched our investigations unit (reporting on The Great Section 106 and CIL Scandal and The Fall of Adam), kicked off a major campaign (The Climate Crisis Challenge) and introduced new sections including ‘Retailer Watch’ and ‘This Week in…‘
The win is for our work prior to lockdown and despite some great colleagues leaving us for pastures new. It is testament to the fearlessness, incredible work ethic and out-and-out brilliance of the team that Property Week is even better now, despite Covid-19 and the fact a third of the team is new (Chris Mann joined in February; Leonore Schick, Grace Howarth and Anviksha Patel the day before lockdown; and Sebastian McCarthy a few weeks into it).
So well done to the Property Week team past and present and thank you to our readers, contributors, advertisers and sponsors. We do what we do for you and would not be able to do it without you.