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Never mind the Winter Olympics, Commonwealth Games or the World Cup, training is being stepped up for the main event of 2018, the Highlands and Islands Press Ball and Media Awards. Next year marks a major milestone for the Press Ball as it is the 30th event since the ball was revived after a period in abeyance. There were media balls in the 1970s and early 80s, but the Highlands and Islands Press Ball has now been running continuously for three decades, and has incorporated the media awards for much of that time. The ball has grown from an event attended by around 80 people to one attracting 270 journalists and PR managers from Shetland to Argyll and from Moray to the Outer Hebrides, as well as politicians and leaders of public and private sector organisations. HIPBMA is the only occasion that brings together under the one roof so many industry representatives from across our  dispersed region. The 2018 event is being held on Friday, 2 February in the Kingsmills Hotel, Inverness, and is again being organised by System2. Long-time supporter Diageo will again be the principal sponsor. Demand for tickets for this landmark night is expected to be strong again, so make sure of your place by booking early. Tickets have been held at £25 for journalists and those for corporate guests will cost £40. These will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis and only after payment has been received (post-dated cheques are accepted).  To ensure HIPBMA remains primarily a media occasion, only journalists and PR managers based in, or regularly working in, the Highlands and Islands may book tickets. Corporate tables must primarily be made up of PR managers and partners and must contain at least one regional journalist, and preferably more The ticket price includes a complimentary drink on arrival, three-course meal and a ceilidh featuring our resident band The Black Isle Peas. The Kingsmills Hotel is offering special HIPBMA B&B rates of £82.50 for Classic bedrooms and £102.50 for Luxury bedrooms (both based on 2 guests sharing). Supplements will apply for other room types. ​Guests are reminded they are responsible for booking their own rooms. Reservations need to be confirmed 30 days prior to the event to guarantee the special rate. Contact the Kingsmills reservations department on 01463 257100 or email We will also be having our usual fundraising activities in support of four local charities. It would be much appreciated if you could contact us if you have prizes you would like to donate to help our fundraising, or suggest a charity to support.


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