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When a group of creatives, which include Patrick Collister, editor, Directory; Rory Sutherland, Vice Chairman, Ogilvy UK and Trevor Chambers, founder, Fear No Space ask The Drum to recognise the contribution that Marc Lewis, the Dean of the School of Communication Art (SCA) has given to the creative industry, how could we say nothing else but yes.

At The Chip Shop Awards 2018, Lewis was given the St Francis Lifetime Achievement Award for the incredible contribution he has made to advertising, as Dean of the SCA since he revived it 10 years ago.

Lewis says he failed education and education failed him. So he got himself a job in a department store selling figurines to pensioners. During his break one day, he picked up a copy of The Guardian which had a competition to win a scholarship at the world’s greatest advertising school. He entered the competition and his mum sent it in without letting him know and he won the scholarship.

The man who ran the school of communications arts changed his life and taught him how to think. Unfortunately, Lewis was his last scholarship student as he had Parkinson's disease and passed away in 2000.

The school disappeared when he left. Lewis was chatting to some industry friends one day, about the quality of the education and creativity and was dared by Sutherland to reopen the school.

The way to make a small fortune out of creativity, is to start with a large fortune, as Lewis did and he put everything into bringing back the school. It flourished over the next ten years in terms of supporting education and the industry, even though at times it has been a financial challenge. 

It’s no surprise that after a decade, there was a need to celebrate Lewis’ contribution to the industry.

Chambers and a host of industry experts decided that The Chip Shop Awards would be the best place to do this and Lewis has been awarded the St Francis Award for everything he has put into the SCA and the collosall influence he has had within the industry.

Founder of Podge Events, Phil Jones says that Lewis is a legend. “And I say that with the true meaning of the word legend,” he explains. “Marc is coming up to his tenth input of students soon and the amount of good he has done for the people he has taught over the years is just phenomenal.”

Sutherland supposes that hour or so he and Lewis spent together in a garden of a building on Frith Street was the best hour of their careers. He says: “I have to say that those few hours, which unbelievably were 11 years ago now, has to be, in my 30 years of the business, the most valuable hours I have spent. Marc. You are a hero, it is a staggering achievement, to which we are all in your debt and here’s to another 10 years.”

Chambers says he has nothing but the upmost respect for Lewis. "I've been a regular mentor at the school of communication arts 2.0 since Marc reopened its doors in 2010," he reminisces. "I was instantly in awe of his totally selfless approach, his dedication to giving every student the best possible creative education."

What also struck him was how much that Lewis has helped the industry, sending out fresh, new creative minds and allowing everyone to refresh their love of industry by being a mentor whenever their day jobs get them down. He says: "Marc is totally unique, a brilliant creative mind, a wonderful, kind hearted and lovely person and if all that's not worth an award, then I don't know what is.

"I know Marc loves the Chip Shop awards, it's his favourite awards and I think it's the real freedom of expression that these awards celebrate, and the punk in Marc that loves to fight the system. Thank you for everything you've done for us all Marc Lewis, enjoy your Chip Shop Award."

Many of Lewis’ friends and peers came together to send their appreciation to him in this video.

Lewis was awarded at The Chip Shop Awards, which took place on Wednesday 13 June 2018 at the Electric Brixton, London. For a full list of the winners, click here.

The awards will be back for 2019, register your interest now.

Partners of the awards are One Minute Briefs and UCGA