The topic for #BEDN today is ‘Your Hometown.’

The National  are the brainchild and passion of Gemma Pears, from Preston, Lancashire.  Gemma is an experienced event, marketing and project manager who wrote her first blog post in 2008 and has helped establish and maintain blogs for a number of different companies during her working career.  Blogging is a subject close to her heart and had the idea for a cross industry awards for individual and organisational bloggers 3 years ago.


Gemma comments: “We feel the blogging world deserves this recognition.  In a very short space of time, industry bloggers have become a real force to be reckoned with and are increasingly recognised as a source of inspiration for consumers and traditional media alike. We hope that this event not only raises the profile of the industry, but creates an unrivalled opportunity for bloggers to meet up and share knowledge.”

Here are our top 15 facts about Gemmas hometown of Preston in Lancashire:

1. Preston obtained city status in 2002.

2. Preston Guild (or the ‘Guild Merchant’) is England’s oldest festival.  Preston Guild is a civic celebration held every 20 years and recently celebrated in 2012. It is the only Guild still celebrated in the UK and as such is unique.

3. Preston was by-passed by Britain’s very first motorway which opened in 1958 and within a decade formed part of the M6 – giving Preston a direct motorway link with Manchester and Birmingham.

4. Preston is home to Europe’s largest bus station.  The 1960s Brutalist design can take 80 double-decker buses, and is regarded by some as of major architectural significance. Others think it possibly the ugliest building in Lancashire and question its location half a mile from the city’s train station.  It has just been saved from demolition.

5. In 1816 Preston became the first place to be lit by gas light outside London.

6. Preston had the first covered shopping Mall in the UK, St Georges Shopping Mall, which opened in 1966.

7. Wallace and Gromit creator Nick Park studied Art and Design at Preston College.  It is said that the character idea for Wallace came from his old English teacher in Preston.

8. Despite having active munitions factories, a dock where military ships assembled, airplane manufacturers and a very busy rail station for embarking soldiers Preston was never targeted by Germans bombers during World War Two.

9. Preston’s University Of Central Lancashire has the only working partnership in the UK with NASA to help store, investigate and share images from their Solar Dynamics Observatory satellite. Only UCLan has equipment powerful enough to play a leading role outside Standford and Harvard Universities in the USA.

10. The Battle of Preston on 12th of November 1715 is said to be the last major battle fought on English soil. It is often better referred to as the Preston Fight.

11. Preston North End were a founder member of the English football league in 1888 and they were the first football team to complete the FA cup and League championship double in 1889. Preston was (and is) known as the ‘home of football’.

12. Newman College in Preston is the best college in the country for the fourth year running according to the official national performance tables.

13. The Black Horse Pub at 66 Friargate is the only pub in England to have entrances on 3 different streets. It also has an unusual tiled curved bar counter, one of only 14 such bars in the country.

14. A delicacy virtually unique to Preston is parched peas (also known as black, maple or carlin peas).

15. In 1617 at the nearby Hoghton Tower King James knighted a loin of beef – which is how a Sirloin steak gets its name (“Arise, Sir Loin”).

[Thanks to  for many of these facts]


The winners of the  will be announced at the awards dinner in London on Friday 25th April 2014. As the first prestigious UK Blog Awards we thought that it was important to have a glittering ceremony in the UK capital to celebrate the top bloggers from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.  You must be “in it to win it” – if you haven’t yet entered your blog .

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