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WOW! What a night

KLS Award winners 2023
New Kent Law Society President Louise Duckett (pictured centre) kicked off her Presidential year in style at the sell-out Kent Law Society Annual Dinner and Awards sponsored by Howden, McBrides Chartered Accountants, Partners Wealth Management, Temple Legal Protection, Tower Street Finance and Southey & Co.
Over 325 members, honoured guests and friends gathered on Friday 12 May at the Mercure Great Danes Hotel to celebrate, catch-up, have fun, and see who would win one of the coveted Kent Law Society Awards announced during the evening which was hosted by Christina Blacklaws, a former President of the Law Society of England and Wales. Guest speaker was practising barrister and award-winning crime writer Imram Mahmood, who entertained guests with the fun story of why - and how - he became a top-selling author.
The 2023 KLS Award winners are captured on stage above celebrating their win and are, from left to right: 

Winner - President's Award: Darren Weir, University of Kent - sponsored by Howden.
Host: Christina Blacklaws.
Winner - Legal Hero Award: Keeley Lengthorn - Taylor Rose. Award sponsored by Southey & Co and presented by Michael Edwards
Kent Law Society President: Louise Duckett.
Winner - Kent Law Society Junior Lawyer Award: Sophie Wallace - Tassells. Award sponsored by Temple Legal Protection and presented by Matthew Pascall.
Winner - Outstanding Achievement Award: Simon Franklin - Martin Tolhurst. Award sponsored by Partners Wealth Management and presented by Duncan Wilson.
Winner - Pro Bono Award: Stuart Snow - Pump Court. Award collected by Marc Goodard (pictured far right) as Stuart could not be at the dinner. Award sponsored by Tower Street Finance and presented by Gary Shaw.

During the evening guests made a donation to the President's chosen charity for the year, The Young Lives Foundation, to be able to take part in the much-anticipated 'Heads and Tails' sponsored by McBrides Chartered Accountants.
The Winner was HHJ Sarah Davies who re-donated the prize of a £100 Marks and Spencer Hamper back to be auctioned. Guests were also able to make a bid to take home their table centre  - a beautifully lit and potted standard lavender plant and, at 1am, as the lucky bid winners departed, the car park turned into a glowing procession of light.  In total, across the evening, guests very generously raised an amazing £3,200 in donations for the charity. 
During the evening, Immediate Past President Nick Fairweather proposed the toast to The King, Her Honour Adele Williams DL toasted Kent Law Society and newly elected KLS Vice President Scott Neilson gave Grace. 
In her welcome speech, President Louise Duckett thanked all of those who had helped her '"along the way". She said: "I hope one day I can support people in the way that I have been supported" and added that her year would be based on three principles. Firstly, 'For you', arranging events relating to wellbeing and mental health plus some fun and indulgent activities to "switch off and enjoy"; Secondly 'For the future', with an emphasis on KLS continuing to encourage and support future lawyers and future trainees. She asked the guests gathered to pledge their time, work experience, a chat, or mini pupillage to a law student. And lastly, 'Charity',  to support the Young Lives Foundation to in turn support young people, provide advocates and offer advice and support for children who may not get that help elswehere.  The President said: "As I have asked you all to pledge your time... it's only fair that I will be making my own pledge. Every month of my Presidential term, I pledge to enter an event or activity to try to  raise funds by way of sponsorship... including runs, sea dips and cycling. "So watch out on social media for the first event  - I would welcome your company along the way."
She announced the next 'big' event as a charity dinner to be held on Friday 17 November in Canterbury.

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And finally, a big thank you from Kent Law Society to everyone who supported this wonderful evening. 

Our Partner Sponsors 2023

Temple Legal Protection   Howden Insurance Brokers   McBrides Chartered Accountants   Partners Wealth Management   Tower Street Finance   Southey and Co