There was an infectious atmosphere of bubbling anticipation in the great room of the Grosvenor House Hotel before the CIPS Supply Management Awards last night.
Beneath chandeliers hanging like planets, the guests, dressed to the nines in ball gowns and dinner jackets, wished each other good luck as the lights dimmed.
More than 1,000 people had gathered at the lavish venue to see the results of their hard work and celebrate the best of the procurement profession.
To warm applause host Stephen Mangan took to the stage. Best known as a comic actor in TV shows such as Green Wing and Episodes, he took the audience on a journey through his career, beginning with two awards he picked up as a youngster. The first was for a short animated film he put together with a friend over the course of a year and the second was for his role in a school play.
Such early success meant he thought more awards would naturally follow, but unfortunately this was not to be. With the help of a slide show, Mangan took the audience on a humorous whistle-stop tour of his attempts to find recognition, taking in a number of roles (and strange outfits).
However, his perseverance did pay off, though not in the way he expected, when he won Celebrity Mastermind. Such was his pride in the achievement that he has been carrying the glass trophy with him ever since, and he produced it from behind the lectern.
Mangan demonstrated this attachment to the award with another sequence of amusing snaps: him holding the trophy next to Nelson Mandela, him holding the trophy on the moon… And the point he was trying to make before he started announcing the winners? Don’t take any award win lightly.
And the message seemed to get through, judging by the hugs and handshakes of celebration among the winners, the whoops and cheers of delight and the crowded dance floor after the Bright Sparks struck up.