There are a lot of “Evening with…” events about these days. Some of them are fairly niche, some are take-it-or-leave-it, but some are particularly special.
DM PR had the great pleasure recently to attend An Evening with Paul Gascoigne, organised by Exeter City Football Club.
We were able to share this experience with family, friends, colleagues and clients, and the fun and games and hearty food provided at the start of the evening were – though enjoyable – nothing compared to the electric atmosphere in the room when Gazza walked in and onto the stage.
The sound technician at Exeter University Great Hall that evening was blasting out Tina Turner’s Simply The Best as the sporting legend walked into a cacophony of applause, the whole room rising like the tide to greet him.
Many times throughout the relaying of anecdotes, hosted skilfully by Willie Thorne, that applause lifted and took over the room again. Laughter was often unavoidable. Gazza is a charm with a cheeky quip – when you can follow his accent, that is.
It has to be said that many times it was evident from looking around the room, that the hearts of this man’s long-time fans were bursting with both sadness and pride for their hero.
I was talking to some of the dedicated fans after the show and what struck me was the depth of respect they had for Gazza on so many levels.
Gazza’s grace on the football pitch was and is undeniable, there are very few footballers who have ever come close to his skill and physical poetry. Many of the audience were inspired by Gazza as youngsters and still admire him today.
The man has lived a hard life, wrought by the lowest sufferings of trauma and depression and the highest reaches of success and elation. Many of us would not suggest that Gazza has left footprints that it would be wise to tread in, but those who have taken the time to study his story have developed a deep admiration. Admiration for a man whose life has resembled a hurricane tide, and yet he is still standing. Perhaps not better than he ever did – even he might admit to that – but a true survivor, nonetheless.
Great love and respect and admiration flowed through that Great Hall, both from the fans and from Gazza himself, who shed tears when he waved his heartfelt and humble goodbyes and told us that “it was all for you, you kept me alive. Every second of it all, it’s for you”.
A sincere thank you is due from all of us to those who arranged and attended the event, and to Paul Gascoigne himself. It was truly a night not to be missed, and I for one will remember it always.
This brilliant evening, provided to us by Exeter City Football Club, was kindly sponsored by RGB Building Supplies, JMC Group, Mi-space, RGB Recruitment and LWS interior solutions.