The 2009 Plain English Campaign Awards marked the 30th year that we have recognised the saints and sinners who communicate with the public.
In 1980 we gave our first awards to six organisations that had used plain English in their documents. We also named and shamed more than 100 groups who were guilty of gobbledygook.
It is our light-hearted treatment of these people that has always attracted the most attention. We gave the first set of winners a repulsive wastepaper basket, and the 1981 winners found a parcel of tripe in their mail! Unfortunately, hygiene laws now prevent this, and instead we give the winners a plastic 'Golden Bull' trophy.
After the 1981 awards, a sceptical journalist phoned 20 previous Bull winners to see how they had reacted. Only one had taken no action and Eagle Star, one of the unfortunate winners, had totally rewritten their bull-winning policy.
We later found that government departments won so many of the Plain English (or 'good') awards that, in 1987, we gave the first Inside Write Awards for documents written by the civil service for civil servants. The category was so successful, we made it permanent in 1991.
1993 saw perhaps the most famous Golden Bull, awarded to the NHS for a 229-word definition of 'a bed'!
In 1995 we gave the first Crystal-clear Trophy to NatWest for being the bank most committed to plain English throughout the year. We later added other Crystal-clear categories, including local authorities and insurance.
In 2000, the Crystal-clear Trophies were replaced with a separate event, Crystal-clear day on 30 June. This was a celebration of all the documents that have earned the Crystal Mark.