Event Organisers Update May 2015 ISSUE 128 - an independent information source published by the Society of Event Organisers (SEO).

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Event Organisers Update

The newsletter for organisers of events.


A group of intelligent, articulate and highly-talented students are just finishing their degree course in event management and are talking in the pub about jobs available to them in the events sector.

JIM "I've been offered a key management position at £28,000 a year plus expenses and car with AEG Europe at the O2 in London" .

LAURA "Lucky bugger. I've been trying to find a financial firm I can actually feel proud to work for. The collective greed and stupidity of the banks and bankers nearly collapsed the UK economy a few years back and some of the culprits had to be bailed out with billions of our money. Since then Barclays have been caught fiddling the Libor rate, whatever that is, others have been fined millions for mis-selling their customers and CEO's at Royal Bank of Scotland and Halifax have been stripped of their honours. Seems you can’t trust any of them and I really don't feel it would look good on the CV to be associated with companies and individuals so obviously lacking in ethics".

NOEL "Have you tried Wonga yet".

LAURA "Oh ho ho".

CAROL "Laura's right. I've thought about working at exhibition venues but checked on the net and found that the sector is one of just a handful in the UK that has actually had to have laws passed to stop some of them abusing their monopoly position to grossly overcharge exhibiting companies. Lord Sterling, chairman of P&O which owned Earls Court and Olympia at the time, tried to stop the laws with a judicial review so he could go on shafting his customers, but this failed and he was then barred by our government from taking the case further. Not exactly a shining business role model for us youth, was he? Disrespectful exhibitors and others dubbed him "Lord Stealing" after that little number".

JO "So when do you start at the O2, Jim?"

JIM "I've turned AEG down on ethical grounds. I was watching the BBC Rip Off Britain programme last Monday and the management of the O2 got a well-deserved kicking for ordering their security guards to search incoming visitor's bags on the excuse of "security" and confiscate any food found. This was so that visitors who wanted to eat had to buy from one or more of the 30 appointed outlets inside paying a commission to the O2 management. The Rip Off Britain researchers found that the grubby O2 practice is rife at around a third of the country's large event arenas so I'm giving the whole sector a miss until they can grow up. I really don't want to work with, and associate myself with people who are happy to treat their customers so badly to make a profit. Might as well work for Wonga, eh?"

Note for readers. The possibility, mooted above, that potential employees might start considering an organisation's ethics as a criterion for selection is pure speculation, and arguably unrealistically idealistic.


The Royal China restaurant group in London has had illegally imported shark fins confiscated by Westminster Council.

Jason Chan, marketing manager for the four-restaurant group had boasted to reporters from the i newspaper that he sold shark fin soup, not on the menu, to wealthy Chinese diners and had a team of people bringing the fins into the UK in suitcases "to stop them being confiscated". In fact the investigation found that the fins were being posted from Hong Kong, in contravention of UK import law.

Consumption of shark fin soup in China has plummeted by more than 80%, mostly from its rejection by young people aware that when caught by Chinese fishermen the shark's fins are simply hacked off and the mutilated bodies of the still-alive fish thrown back into the sea, where they can take up to a week to die, painfully. A number of celebrities, including actor Jackie Chan have started turning down shark fin soup when served to them at banquets, and some restaurant review websites have carried reviews urging other UK diners not to patronise Chinese restaurants, like Royal China, still serving it.

Campaigners hope that, like the consumption in Asian cultures of powdered tiger bones, rhino horn and seal penis, the drinking of shark fin soup will simply die out with its dwindling band of rich and irresponsible consumers.



o A rally of Neo-Nazis, Holocaust-deniers, and members of the National Front and BNP at the Grosvenor Hotel, Victoria on April 11 has angered the Campaign against Anti-Semitism after claims that speakers had dressed up their race-hatred as academic work and described Jewish people as "the enemy" and the "children of darkness" The keynote speaker was Spanish self-confessed Nazi Pedro Varela who has claimed "There were never any gas chambers at Auschwitz", although at just 57 years old he couldn’t possibly have been there at the time to know.

The police say the rally "did not reach the threshold for a criminal investigation" However, going on previous similar situations, any Jewish staff at the Grosvenor who were exposed to the "vile rants" and offended by them may have a case against their employer under duty of care, if the management was aware of the content of the rally when the ill-considered booking was taken.


o A fire station opposite Piccadilly station in Manchester, derelict since 1986, has finally been put up for sale by its owners Britannia Hotels, after threats of a Compulsory Purchase Order from Manchester City Council (Business Desk).

The Grade ll listed red brick and terracotta building was built in 1906 in an Edwardian Baroque style and now has listed building consent to turn it into a high-end 227-bedroom, 13,000 square metre hotel with restaurants, bars and conference spaces, thought to be a profitable possibility given the ambitious plans for regeneration of the Piccadilly area for the HS2 trains.


o The billionaire Barclay twins, Sir David and Sir Frederick have sold their 64% stake in the Coroin holding company for Claridges and the Berkeley and Connaught hotels to the Quatari Constellation Hotels Group.

This follows four years of Fred and Dave making very rich solicitors richer still with failed legal battles to force Coirin's other shareholder, Paddy McKillen, to give up his stake.

The Barclays still own something valuable on London's Piccadilly called The Ritz.


Those organising events in venues with some history will want to know about Clevedon Hall, a beautifully preserved 150 year-old Victorian mansion, located 13 miles south west of Bristol centre and by the seafront at the time-warped Victorian seaside town of Clevedon.

Opened in 2010 for weddings and corporate events after a £3 million refurbishment the Hall offers an English country house feel and, from last November, 25 individual bedrooms in the style of the era. On a recent press visit our very spacious one included a large four poster bed, period furniture, a Victorian roll-top bath. a huge walk in shower stall, large bottles of expensive toiletries and a selection of more than fifty classic books by the likes of Shaw, Dickens, Scott, Stevenson, Somerset-Maughan, Dumas, Hugo, Turgenev and Dostoyevsky, enough for a year's relaxed reading and the perfect intellectual diversion for corporate high-fliers and newly-weds. One quirky item that might also appeal is the high-tech Japanese heated toilet seat that moves to different positions and delivers a cooling and cleansing spray.

For events there are six main areas available for twelve to 150 delagates. The impressive Great Hall can seat 150 theatre-style and 100 cabaret, prices on application. The chandeliered Dame Rosa Burden seats 70 theatre-style and 35 cabaret for £200/125 for a day/half-day. The Grand Library, with lots more real books, seats 140/100 for £300/175 for the day/half-day, and St Brandons seats 50/30 for £110/60 for the day/half-day. For smaller groups the Conrad Finzel - named after the sugar baron for whom the Hall was built - seats 20 boardroom style for £200/125 for the day/half-day, and The Snug which seats 12 for £135/75 for the day/half-day.

Outside are well-kept grounds with roaming deer and a photogenic lake area with, reputedly, a grumpy heron. Visitors can also step outside the drive onto the Clevedon seafront where they can hear the seagulls, smell the seaweed, inhale the ozone, enjoy the views across the Bristol Channel to Wales and promenade through the ornamental gardens to the Victorian bandstand and the Victorian Pleasure Pier, described by Sir John Betjeman as "the most beautiful in England".

Note. Viewing highly recommended. Review of food in next issue.

Tel 01275 778 142 Web: clevedonhall.co.uk


Those looking for a base for a small residential event or executive retreat in Yorkshire can consider the Old Lodge hotel at Malton, a cosy Yorkshire town midway between York and Scarborough.

Also popular for weddings (it has a licence) and private dining this Tudor mansion offers a total of 20 individual bedrooms in the atmospheric main house and 8 modern rooms in The Old Lodgings, a self-contained annexe nearby, which has its own lounge area and kitchen and can sleep from eight with a bedroom each and has beds for up to 20 sharing. All rooms have baths, most have showers over, all have double beds and B&B prices are from £85 for single occupancy to £125 for double occupancy.

In the historic main house, once a 17th century gatehouse, there are five rooms with four-poster beds, including the hotel's huge and tastefully furnished honeymoon suite. Eleven of the 20 bedrooms have a bath/shower combination, all have tea and coffee facilities, TVs and DVD/CD players and B&B prices run from £85 to £145.

For conferences and meetings the Dining Room can seat up to 100 theatre-style, or 75 for a banquet and the Main Hall takes up to 25. There is also an antique wood-panelled Boardroom for 16 boardroom-style, and a wood-panelled Snug that seats 15. Prices are based on hourly, half-day and daily hire, with catering and AV extra. All rooms can be used for private dining, as can an outside terrace, and there is a marquee option in the three acres of grounds for larger events. Those corporate or wedding guests who overdo the evening alcohol and forget the essential rehydrating pint of water before going to bed are offered a "hair of the dog" restorative at breakfast of a Bloody Mary, champagne, Kir Riyale or Bucksfizz.

Tel. 01653 690 570 Web: theoldlodgemalton.com


The Sheene Mill is a Grade II Listed 16th Century Mill House on the river Mel in the village of Melbourne, on the Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Essex borders, near Royston.

It is operated as a fine-dining restaurant with rooms - see food review in last issue - as well as an attractive option for non-residential conferences for up to 100 and, due to the quiet waterside setting in attractive grounds, for weddings, parties and other social events. The main restaurant and banqueting area is divisible and can seat up to 120 covers, or 100 theatre-style to allow dining space. There is also a conservatory area for 50 with a bar and small separate lounge, overlooking the river and grounds, which feature a striking white waterside pavilion for bridal photographs.

Currently there are nine individual boutique bedrooms, most refurbished in the last two years and comprising seven doubles, a double-bedded bridal suite and a single, with four having baths with shower over and five having shower only. The double with bath that we stayed in had a comfortable bed and especially good in-bed lighting for reading. Currently there are plans to extend the Mill and add six more bedrooms to total fifteen.

Tel. 01763 261 393 Web: thesheenemill.com


This 1932 black and white science fiction horror shocker was the first, and far and away the best of three Hollywood adaptations of the 1896 H.G.Wells story, The Island of Dr Moreau.

Starring one of the era's finest actors, Charles Laughton, this is about a mad and sadistic doctor on a remote Pacific island who carries out cruel surgical procedures to graft bits of animals onto humans, without anaesthetic, on his operating table in his "house of pain". To control his dozens of created abominations the repellent Moreau uses a whip on them, and indoctrination into "laws" against violence designed to protect him from any revenge. and repeated by his brutish "Sayer of the law" (Bala Lugosi). His one attractive and female creation, more human than animal, is Lota the beautiful panther-woman (Kathleen Burke) and with Moreau's encouragement (he wants her to breed) she falls in love with a shipwrecked traveller, Parker (Richard Arlen) who has fetched up on the island after being dumped overboard the freighter that picked him up.

As the story moves on and more of the nightmarish beast-men are revealed the freighter captain is persuaded by Parker's fiancee to sail to the island and mount a rescue operation with his crew, but this is thwarted by Moreau who orders one of his beasts to strangle the captain. This breaking of the "law" by Moreau is seen by all his zombie-like beasts as a sign that the law is "no more" and they gleefully seize the opportunity to mob Moreau and carry him off to his operating table where they slash and stab him repeatedly, without anaesthetic, with the scalpels that had been used on them.

Island of Lost Souls was banned in Britain for more than 20 years for its scenes of vivisection and its portrayal of cruelty to animals, and Dr Moreau saying "Do you know what it means to feel like God" but it was finally passed for an X certificate, with cuts, in 1958. In 2011 it was re-classified, with the cuts restored, as a PG on DVD. It is available in a combined DVD and Blu-Ray format as part of the Eureka Masters of Cinema series, and the extras include a 32-page booklet featuring rare production imagery and a video interview with Laughton's biographer, Simon Callow.

Diary Dates

Tuesday May 19 - Thursday May 21 Imex exhibition, Frankfurt.
Web: imex-frankfurt.com

Wednesday May 20 Venuemasters academic venue show. ILEC Conference Centre, Earls Court, London.
Web: venuemasters.co.uk

Tuesday July 7 - Thursday July 9 The Meetings Show. Olympia, London.
Web: themeetingsshow.com


With the death toll in the Nepal earthquake forecast to reach 10,000 it was disturbing to read the headline on the front page of the Daily Telegraph of April 29th that told the world "Briton feared among dead as Nepal quake toll rises".

Disturbing indeed that the newspaper's editorial team and owners seem to expect all their UK readers to be infinitely more moved by the possible death of one Briton than the certain deaths of thousands of non-Britons, known as "Johnny Foreigners" in some circles where their daily dose of the Telegraph tells them how to think.

Question is, is this myopic parochialism a British thing, or just a British newspaper thing? We really must be told...


Is the events sector actually shrinking, despite reassuring figures which may show otherwise?

We ask this noting a report in Conference News that the NEC-based Best of Britain and Ireland inbound tourism exhibition (BOBI) has dumped its previous focus on the lucrative events market, and changed its name to The British Tourism and Travel Show (BTTS) for its next year's March event.

Apparently the dumping was done on the advice of the hotels, travel companies, destinations and attractions exhibiting there and not getting the promised event organisers showing up and begging to buy. Also against the focus were most of the visitors, who don't organise events, with the few who did not finding anyone on any stands of interest empowered to answer their questions.


Of course Old Grit is in the tiny minority of miserable kill-joy curmudgeons who view selfie sticks as unspeakably naff narcissism for saddos, and their growing ubiquity with a growing horror. A group of sophisticated ladettes from Newcastle recently invaded his Quiet Coach on the train, shrieking hysterically as they used them to take pics of themselves, shrieking hysterically.

Fortunately there is also a growing number of places rightly banning them, such as museums and art galleries on the grounds of potential damage to exhibits and priceless art, and other venues on the correct grounds that they could be used as an offensive weapons.

Until a most welcome total ban in every public area is enforced however, on the grounds of debasement and degradation of the human spirit, it behoves the sensitive, public-spirited and discerning amongst us to helpfully and politely suggest to any selfie stick user annoying them that they really are the ideal tool to carefully insert and take fascinating photos of the inside of their upper bowel.


o A recent trip to the little Yorkshire town of Malton, between York and Scarborough turned up a very good Indian restaurant, Malton Spice, which offers more than 90 starters and mains and nearly 40 side dishes and sundries. Apparently if you can’t find that special dish you like on the menu they'll make it for you.

Acting on the local recommendations, and the fact that we were able to use our trusty Tastecard to slash 50% off the food prices we sat down and tucked into some tasty poppadum’s and tangy pickles, followed by a sizzling hot plate of wonderfully fragrant king prawns, marinated and dry-cooked in the hot Tandoori oven to bring out the flavour. These we accompanied with a mushroom bhaji, a sag aloo spinach and potato combination and a chapatti to mop up the juices, all washed down with a pint of cold Cobra beer.

Without the beer our food bill came to nearly £20, which came down to £10 with the Tastecard discount. Everyone should have one.

Tel 01653 691222 Web: maltonspice.weebly.com


o Staying in Yorkshire we found another good Tastecard deal at 23, Mitford Street in the pleasant seaside town of Filey.

At the smart Gold River Chinese restaurant we enjoyed our evening meal, from a menu of nearly 200 options. This comprised a plate of prawn crackers (£2.20), some hot and crunchy vegetarian spring rolls (£4) the tasty and tender Cantonese style sliced roast duck on a bed of mixed vegetables (£9), the strips of fried chicken in sweet and tangy lemon sauce (£8), fluffy egg fried rice (£2) and a portion of Chow Mien soft noodles (£3.50). This added up, with the Tastecard discount, to a satisfying meal for two for well under £20 total, inclusive tip, and we'll be back, when next in Filey, to sample some of the other 180+ possibilities.

For events the Gold River has three separate dining areas totalling 70 covers, and a set nine-item banqueting menu for four persons or more at £19 a head, though like the above they can design a banquet to order.

Tel 01723 513679 Web: goldriverfiley.com


o Back in The Smoke we used our Tastecard again for a very good lunch in classy surroundings and with helpful and friendly service at the Brasserie at the Hilton Hotel, Paddington.

Here we decided to just try three of the starters, often the tastiest bits of any menu, tapas-style. First up from the choice of seven was one of our favourite seafood dishes, the Mussels mariniere, and these came perfectly just-cooked with chips and warm, crusty bread, and swimming in a fragrant and creamy white wine sauce that one just has to dip the bread and chips in and drink to the last happy slurp. (£8) In truth this was probably enough for a light lunch but we than enjoyed the crab and mash potato cake egg Benedict - topped with a large soft-poached egg and then coated with a creamy and tangy hollandaise sauce. (£7) Last was some tasty chicken livers sauteed in a sauce of sweet and sharp red wine and balsamic vinegar on a toasted brioche with sweet roasted cherry tomatoes.(£7).

All this good food came to £22, reduced to £11 with our 50% Tastecard discount, so we'll be going back to try some main courses, and possibly desserts, and let you know.

Tel 0207 850 0500 Web: hilton.com


The Society of Event Organisers (SEO) is staging a public presentation of its Certificate in Conference Organisation qualification in 2015. This is a four-day course for organisers, with an examination, covering all the most important aspects of running an event and will take place in central London from Monday August 24th - Thursday August 27th 2015.

Cost per delegate, to include all tuition, documentation, lunches, teas and coffees, is £1,000, or £800 for members of the SEO. There is no VAT as the Society has de-registered.

Free sign-up to the SEO, and full details of the Certificate programme are available at seoevent.co.uk . Please email a request to peter.cotterell@eou.org.uk, or call 01767 312986, for a booking form to be sent.


The SEO is carrying out an on-going survey to identify what criteria in venue selection are most important to event organisers from the corporate, association and charity sectors.

Results will be published in the Event Organisers Update, Charity Matters and Marketing Matters newsletters.

Click here to take our survey.


Some students deny having concerns about the ethics of companies they are thinking of joining. One comments : "I assume that the generous management salary I am being paid includes an amount for me keeping my mouth shut and not blowing any whistles".........The new rhino horn, tiger bone and elephant todger soup at £1000 a portion is a big hit as an aphrodisiac for elderly Asian millionaires in leading London Chinese restaurants, with ingredients illegally posted from Hong Kong..........management at the Grosvenor Victoria hotel had no idea of the Anti-Semitic content of the recent rally, according to their commercial manager Herr Hermann Himmlernickel..........The Law Society bestows upon billionaire twins Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay their coveted accolade of Outstanding Contribution to Needy Lawyers Profits, sponsored by the Daily Telegraph, at a lavish award ceremony held at the Ritz. A spokesperson says: "They really are in a class of their own, and several heads of our member firms have been able to retire in luxury before they were thirty on all the lucrative litigation".......... Owners of the Daily Telegraph, Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay explain why their editorial team think their readers value the lives of Britons far above those of other races..........and much, much, more..........


Text only ANNOUNCEMENTS can be run once for new products, new venues, venue refurbishments, new packages, organiser's trips, and industry showcases, receptions, seminars, conferences and exhibitions likely to be of high interest to event organisers.

Sizes, when printed out on an A4 page, and prices of ANNOUNCEMENT boxes available are:

One fifth page, 45mm x 170mm £200
One quarter page, 60mm x 170mm £250
One third page, 85mm x 170mm £325
One half page, 120mm x 170mm £400

To book email peter.cotterell@eou.org.uk




This is published in every issue of Event Organisers Update and the cost to suppliers, based on a headline, forty words of text and contact details, is £95 for one year (twelve issues) or £65 for 6 months (six issues) Costs are being kept low to encourage small suppliers to participate.

If, as an organiser you know of any good suppliers you feel other organisers should know about please forward this issue on to them, or refer them to the SEO website at seoevent.co.uk




Located in London and Birmingham, Computec AV cater for all your rental requirements. Equipment available includes LCD/Plasma screens, PA systems, Projection Equipment and Lighting. Also in-house we have our Set Creation company specialising in staging, bespoke set design and build. Tel 020 8807 2002, Fax 020 8807 3818, email: sales@computecgroup.com Web: www.computecgroup.com


Quality event catering services for private & corporate functions using the finest ingredients in delicious & creative menus that can be tailored for any occasion, taste & budget. We work with quality venues in & around Warwickshire, inc. Compton Verney. Telephone: 01926 409579 Enquire in-store at Aubrey Allen, 108 Warwick Street, Leamington Spa ,CV34 5DB Email: events@aubreyallen.co.uk Visit our website: www.aubreyallenevents.co.uk


The Society of Event Organisers, SEO, offers a four-day qualification course, the Certificate in Conference Organisation (CCO) running in Central London three times a year, and which can also be presented at your premesis - dates by arrangement. Contact Peter Cotterell Tel. 01767 312986, email peter.cotterell@eou.org.uk visit seoevent.co.uk


Specializing in cabaret shows and close up Magic for galas, charity events, weddings, & corporate events Le Magician Dean Metcalfe is a master manipulator perfector of his own spectacular close-up Magic, performances worldwide, see website for live showreels and more details visit www.lemagicianilluminaire.com


Newsletter, promotion, event invitation or just staying in touch? We can provide a low-cost, effective solution, tailored to your needs. Our bulk rates are 0.3p per email, or £3 per thousand. email: mark.ely@sg7.biz web: sg7.biz

Mocha offer a complete film and motion design service to corporate, association and charity event organisers, venues and others in the event sector. Mocha also offer a 10% discount to readers of this publication and visitors to seoevent.co.uk - just quote "SEO". Tel: 0151 706 0761 email: hq@mocha.tv Web: www.mocha.tv Vimeo:http://vimeo.com/user4995482/videos


Association News
For all those who associate. associationnews.org.uk

Charity Matters
For those working in charities. ezinematters.com

Marketing Matters
For those working in marketing. ezinematters.com


LCI offers conferencing with an ethical edge in Leeds City Centre. Five Rooms (Max 90 people) with Smartboards, loop systems, WIFI. Disabled access. LCI supports community/voluntary groups by offering significant discounts. Very close to railway & bus stations. Contact Moira or Wendy on 0113 245 4700 or email conferencing@leedschurchinstitute.org


Our pleasant boardroom is available for full or half day meetings. It seats 14 people, boardroom-style, or can be arranged to suit your needs. Catering and equipment is available on request. We are conveniently located just off City Road. Call Claire/Nora on 0207 324 0750; fax 0207 324 0760; email: enquiries@keyring.org; address: 27, Corsham Street, London, N1 6DR

The classical regency terrace at Park Crescent, near Regents Park includes number 16, which offers seven beautifully appointed meetings rooms, all with natural light and modern facilities, for up to 60 delegates, and a dedicated team to ensure event success. Tel. 020 7612 7070, Fax. 020 7612 7078, email. enquiries@16parkcrescent.co.uk visit www.16parkcrescent.co.uk .


The Society of Event Organisers, SEO, offers a four-day qualification course, the Certificate in Conference Venue Marketing (CCVM) running in Central London once a year, and which can also be presented at your premesis - dates by arrangement. Contact Peter Cotterell Tel. 01767 312986, email peter.cotterell@eou.org.uk visit seoevent.co.uk

Event Organisers Update (EOU) is an independent information source published by the Society of Event Organisers (SEO). EOU is FREE and circulated monthly to more than 30,000 selected organisers and others interested in keeping abreast of development in the event industry (includes conferences, incentive travel, training events, etc.)

If you have any views on how our newsletter could be more useful to you please e-mail us at info@eou.org.uk

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