A Giant accolade: Jen Falding and Susan Lees have received the Chief Constable’s Commendation
The Duo behind Liverpool’s biggest ever free event have been awarded one of the top honours from Merseyside Police.
Liverpool City Council’s Susan Lees and Jen Falding, who both work in the Culture Liverpool team, have received the prestigious, Chief Constable’s Commendation – for their role in organising the Giant spectacular, Liverpool’s Dream. The honour recognises an exceptional contribution that has been made to the city or the wider city region.
They were nominated by Superintendent Mark Morgan who acknowledged the tireless effort they invested in the event, working with partners across the city region to ensure it was safe and incredibly well-organised.
In his nomination he notes that ‘despite huge crowds, there were no reported injuries or increase in crime’ and ‘a huge amount of positive public engagement has been seen’.
The event which took place from 4-7 October, brought in 1.3million visitors to Liverpool and Wirral, and generated a massive £60.6m for the local economies.
Susan was the event manager which meant she oversaw every single operational element, and Jen was the Project Manager whose main task was to co-ordinate the complex relationship between the French team, Royal de Luxe, and the 55 agencies involved in the mammoth event.
Liverpool’s Dream, which was funded by Liverpool City Region Combined Authority through their Single Investment Fund, has gone on to scoop several awards in the recent months. This includes being named Best Visual Spectacular 2018 by the Event Production Awards – which is regarded as the ‘event Oscars’.
They received the Chief Constable’s Commendation on Friday 13 September at an event in Aintree Racecourse.
Jen Falding said: “I’m very proud and very surprised! We are representing the wider Giants team as well as all the city partners who came together to make Liverpool’s Dream possible.
“I’m lucky enough to have worked on all three Giants events, but to be part of the finale, which will go down in the city’s history, is amazing. The logistics are really off the scale in terms of everything you have to manage including road closures, security and transport. It’s always a tricky project to work on, as having Giants explore the streets of the region will inevitably lead to disruption – but the response from residents, businesses and visitors was overwhelmingly positive.”
Susan Lees said: “A year ago we were sat in an office on the rehearsal site – tensions were pretty high, as they always are before a major event, as we were planning everything down to the last second to make sure this was an unforgettable event for all the right reasons. So twelve months on, I was shocked and humbled when I was told about the award! It was a huge team effort and the way the city took the Giants to their hearts will stay with me forever.”
“This was the first time I had been the lead event manager on the Giants, and it was an exhausting, exhilarating experience. Now the dust has settled I can appreciate how huge it was, and would do all over again – but I don’t think my family would be too happy!”
Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Culture, Tourism and Events, Councillor Wendy Simon, said: “Jen and Sue are two very well deserving recipients of this accolade, and their tireless work behind the scenes resulted in the incredible piece of street theatre enjoyed by more than a million people.
“It’s a real honour for our staff to be recognised by the Chief Constable in this way – it truly was a team effort and there was a huge number of city council teams involved, as well as all our external partners who made Liverpool’s Dream possible. As a spectator, these events appear seamless which is testament to the experience and dedication of all of those involved. I’d like to congratulate Jen and Sue, and the whole Giants team, on this honour.”
For more information about Culture Liverpool, visit www.cultureliverpool.co.uk