Instead of being at the BOTYs, I was accompanying Ros to a surprise event, a dinner to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the election of a Liberal to Brighton Council. That young Liberal candidate was Navnit, now Baron, Dholakia.
Navnit is a very special figure to me, as his experiences are similar to those of my father, and when our paths first crossed fifteen years ago, we hit it off immediately. We would, thereafter run into each other occasionally, but ten years later, he was to play an unexpected role in events that changed my life forever.
I had not been seeing Ros for very long, when she went on a delegation to Taiwan with, amongst others, Navnit. He very kindly gave me a very good character reference, and the rest is history. To this day, Navnit jokes that ours was an arranged marriage, and that he was the one that arranged it.
And last night, the room was full of people whose lives have touched, and been touched by, Navnit and his wife Ann. From his early days in Brighton, through his work on penal reform, policing and equalities to his fifteen years in the House of Lords, there were people who had been there, had experienced that.
There were speeches from Tim Razzell, Chris Rennard and Raj Loomba, highlighting his contributions in a range of fields, but it was Navnit's response, talking of his early experiences after coming to this country from Tanzania, of casual racism, of being part of a mixed-race couple, which exposed a passion and a vehemence that I had not seen in him before. It did, however, encapsulate exactly why I admire him so much.
I should also mention Ann. Ann has been by Navnit's side throughout, and always has a kind word or gesture. She fulfils a role that I recognise in a way that many might not, that of support, helpmeet, and the person who, in quiet moments, is there with advice or information, who understands what you are going through. It was nice that she was recognised.
Afloat on a sea of affection, the evening almost ended too soon. But some of us are getting old, and you have to pace yourself.
I should not close without mentioning Chris Maines and Paul Elgood, whose kindness in arranging the event cannot be overstated. The brochure for the event, with pictures and stories from a range of people, brought back some great memories, so many thanks to them.