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Brighton, England

I’m loving angels instead

2020 is turning out to be a remarkable year. Besides adapting my lifestyle in response to a global pandemic, I’ve also entered my fifth decade.

Fortunately, both these events come at a point in my life where I am happy and content. This is in no small part to the service I’ve been working on over the 18 months, and the group of people I’m working with to deliver it.

Having got so much from working with my team, when lockdown came into effect, I felt it was important to keep everyone entertained and amused. Alongside designing mission patches to celebrate key project milestones, I created custom emoji for use in Slack, made a mug to mark Adam’s contribution to the design system and art directed various birthday and leaving cards. I even hosted an edition of Who Want’s to Be a Millionaire – complete with fastest finger first rounds – designed and operated entirely within Google Slides. I began to think of this as my third great act of volunteering after London 2012 and Glasgow 2014.

I’ve enjoyed working on these little creations. They’ve probably reignited a set of creative abilities long suppressed by years of working to client briefs. However, I did begin to wonder if my efforts had been fully acknowledged. Even more so when it seemed nobody wanted to mark my birthday like we had done for others.

Apply: Angels

Unbeknown to me, the team was beavering away on a creation of their own: a 4-minute video with everyone miming the words to Robbie Williams’ Angels, our go-to karaoke song. When we met up yesterday – for just the second time since lockdown began – the video (and all the behind the scenes scheming) was revealed.

I was floored. I still am! This is easily the best birthday present I’ve ever received. That it coincides with my 40th makes it even sweeter.

A massive thank-you to Emma, Anya, Kirsty, Elliot, George, James, Rachael, Dan, Gemma, Bill, Ben, Laura, Ed, Gaby, Matilde, Maya, Tijmen and Mike for their powerful and emotive performances, and Ting for returning to make a special guest appearance (and for the cover art).

The whole thing was organised by Matt and Sarah, with the video directed by Duncan and edited by Adam. 2020 really is turning out to be a remarkable year.