Portsmouth estate agent Fry & Kent backs The Guide awards as part of its commitment to the community
March this year will see the 50th anniversary of the founding of Portsmouth estate agents Fry & Kent.
A lot has changed since 1970, when the first 747 jumbo jet landed at Heathrow, The Beatles broke up and the average house price was £4,975.
But one thing has stayed the same - the fact that without our community, we wouldn't have a business.
To sustain and encourage that community, we endeavour to prove our commitment to it not through empty gestures or words but through action.
Fry & Kent was founded by Bill Fry and his wife Rosemary. Bill quickly became known as a businessman who brought integrity and sought extra value in transactions for his clients - and that is an ethos that has continued to this day.
Despite the fact Bill is in his 80s, we still have clients coming in to ask for him. What better testament could you have?
When we were first asked to be headline sponsor of The Guide entertainment awards run by The News, we were told that without sponsorship the event simply wouldn’t happen.
Unsure of what exactly we had got ourselves into, we attended the ceremony and were amazed at not just at the performances on the night but at the scale of culture and arts that is going on in our city.
It felt very humbling to be giving out awards to some of the winners, whose achievements and dedication to their performance were truly outstanding.
Last year also saw us being asked us to step in and save the Southsea Bandstand performances when a sponsor couldn’t be found. The Bandstand provides free entertainment for thousands across the summer against the beautiful backdrop of the Solent and we were proud to be able to ensure that, in partnership with Portsmouth City Council, performances could continue.
Since 2010 we have provided a structure so that one of our full-time members of staff can respond for the local Portsmouth RNLI lifeboat station during working hours when the crew are desperately short-handed. In that time our crew member has responded to many hundreds of shouts, some of which have involved lives being saved.
In a world where much time can be spent staring at a computer or mobile phone screen, it has never been more important to invest in things that not only bring our community together, but remind us what raw talent lies within each of us if only there’s a platform for us to express ourselves without fear of ridicule or censorship.
The Guide awards provide not only a platform to celebrate the excellence of culture in our city, but are a beacon for those involved in all performing to aim at. Whether or not they are winners on the night, they have dared to be different and express themselves artistically in whatever format to ensure that culture in this city thrives.
Culture is what differentiates the human race from other species on this planet, made possible by language and freedom of thought and expression.
For more information on Fry & Kent, go to fryandkent.com
The Guide Awards take place at the Kings Theatre in Southsea on Monday, January 27. To get free tickets, go to kingsportsmouth.co.uk and follow the instructions on the event page, or call the box office on (023) 9282 8282.
By Fry & Kent director Neil Maxwell