Event Organisers Update October 2018 ISSUE 167 - 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.


Audio visual and event production company Big Purple Productions were defrauded out of more than £200,000 by their trusted office manager Amanda Toward, who has now been jailed for three years and four months after admitting the fraud.

Toward used her position in the company and her control of its finances to embezzle the money by making duplicate payments of actual payments made and paying the second payments into her bank account, the court heard. The use of the money included funding a reported six bottles of wine a day habit, expensive holidays in Mexico, a Range Rover and paying to be pictured with celebrities.

It was during a holiday in Mexico that Toward took last year that company director Eddie McKay noticed the duplicate payments on his firm's bank statements and discovered that the fraud had been going on for a number of years. Accordingly she was sacked when she returned and arrested, telling the police that she had got herself into financial difficulties and family stress, and that it became "something of an addiction".

Sentencing her the judge noted that Mr McKay had gone out of his way to help her with her family difficulties, with significant amounts of time off with pay, and that Toward had repaid his good-natured help by stealing from him and his company behind his back.


A wealthy aristocrat with links back to Sir Frances Drake faces a noise abatement order over the lucrative organised game bird and clay pigeon shoots he arranges on his 2,500-acre South Downs Hampshire estate.

At Portsmouth magistrates court the noise level created by the regular shoots of William Tyrwhitt-Drake was described by an acoustic expert, Peter Rogers, after 15 visits to the site while shoots were in progress as "substantial" and "intrusive" and at a level that would result in planning permission not being granted. The court case was brought by a millionaire neighbour, Dr Charles Gillies O'Bryan-Tear.


Those who like to walk in the footsteps of the famous and infamous have been given a list of hotels in history by the Mail on Sunday.

These include the Hotel National in Moscow, where Lenin stayed in room 107 for the first meeting of the Soviet government after the 1918 Russian Revolution; the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin where the 1922 signing of the Constitution of Ireland took place in room 112; The Plaza Hotel, New York, where The Beatles stayed in Presidential Suites 1209-1216 in 1964 for their appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show; The Watergate Hotel, Washington, where the theft of documents that brought down President Nixon was organised from room 214; Cliveden House in Buckinghamshire, now a hotel, where Secretary of State for War John Profumo met showgirl Christine Keeler, who was skinny-dipping in the pool in July 1961.

Meanwhile, in Birmingham, the West Midlands Police and ghost hunt event company Haunted House have been charged with being "distasteful and insensitive" after they promoted a charity Halloween ghost hunt event which included a chance for delegates to sleep in 12-foot square cells in the custody block where killer Fred West was once held. Since the outcry the reference to West has been removed from the event promotional material.


The British Museum has retained its position as the most visited free UK attraction for the 10th consecutive year with 5,906,716 visitors in 2017, from figures published by VisitBritain. The Tate Modern was second in the free sector (5,656,004 visitors) followed by the National Gallery (5,229,192 visitors).

In fourth place was Brighton Pier with an estimated 4,684,000 visitors, the only free attraction in the top ten not in London, followed by the National History Museum (4,434,520), the Victoria and Albert Museum (3,789,748), the Science Museum (3,251, 634), Somerset House (3,223,250), Tate Britain (1,777,877) and the National Portrait Gallery (1,703,411).

Of the most visited paid attractions the number one was the Tower of London (2,842,970), followed by Chester Zoo (1,856,628), Flamingo Land Theme Park and Zoo, near York (1,691,083), Windermere Lake Cruises (1,611,491), Stonehenge (1,582,532), St Paul's Cathedral (1,571,197), Westminster Abbey (1,547,001), Kew Gardens (1,485,337), the Roman Baths and Pump Room at Bath (1,318,976) and the RHS Gardens at Wisley, Woking (1,143,175).

The figures for the top ten attractions indicate a total of nearly 40 million visitors to the free attractions and nearly 16 million to the paid attractions.



o The owner of an historic wedding venue in Cheshire, Haslington Hall, near Crewe, has been jailed for 26 weeks for a £28,000 VAT fraud. An accomplice, Andrew Tomlinson received a community order of 100 hours of unpaid work.

Mohammed Isaq, who admitted trying to steal the VAT repayments is currently serving a 20-month prison sentence for flouting fire safety rules at the Grade 1 listed venue.


o Two new easyHotels have opened in Yorkshire offering budget accommodation in city centres, and brings the group's total to 32 in UK and overseas.

One is on Lands Lane in Leeds, has 94 rooms and was originally the Scala Theatre. The other is on the High Street in Sheffield, has 131 rooms and was originally a Primark store.


o The Good Pub Guide has named the Old Joint Stock in Birmingham city centre its Town Pub of the Year for 2019.

The pub overlooks Birmingham Cathedral and offers, say the guide's publishers, "lively atmosphere, flamboyant interior, all-day popular food and even its own theatre".

(Note. All above from TheBusinessDesk.com)


It is hard not to admire director Oliver Stone's intense and thought-provoking Salvador (1986) - for many his best film - and the Oscar-nominated acting performance of James Woods playing real life photo-journalist Richard Boyle as a nervy, sleazy, cynic who goes back to Salvador to capture the pain and suffering of the civil war there, and make some money from the pictures, and comes out with his sweetheart, and his long-buried soul.

Salvador does not shrink from depicting the appalling way the ruling military there enjoyed oppressing and murdering the peasant community and anyone else who opposed them, including innocent children, and women they raped first. And all this with the knowledge and support of a mis-guided America. Woods character however, and Doc, his disc-jockey companion well-played by John Belushi, just manage to stay alive, mostly on the strength of Boyle's former contacts there, making for tense and thrilling entertainment despite the deeply depressing and harrowing subject matter. But don't look for a happy ending.

Salvador was released by Eureka Entertainment on September 17 in a special Dual Format (Blu-ray and DVD) edition as part of their Masters of Cinema Series. The pack includes audio commentaries and interviews with Oliver Stone, and a 62-minute documentary about the making of Salvador, Into The Valley of Death.


Less than edifying, it is, to read of the foul-mouthed rant launched on his audience by Mr Selfridge actor Jeremy Piven at a recent charity fundraiser in California.

Piven, 53, was apparently upset when his brief attempts at comedy at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, with references to sex acts, fell flat with the audience of victims of domestic violence and trafficking. He reportedly told them "This is a tough room.by the way. Tough room. Oh I knew it. I knew it. So I just decided I'm doing a two-hour set because you're not giving me love. So f*** you all" He said afterwards that it was "hard to know what material to do in there".

Piven may well have been unappreciated by his audience before he opened his mouth - early this year he was accused of historic sexual assault by several women, accusations he has denied.


Speaking personally Old Grit has never been a big fan of restaurant, hotel or pub fish and chips, preferring to enjoy this most British of dishes around once a month in a proper chippie with tables to sit at and chairs to sit on. Like his local in Biggleswade (Sheffs) where choosing a Thursday night brings a very large piece of freshly cooked cod, haddock or plaice, with a heap of piping hot chips, a side dish and a drink, all for £5, including tartare sauce and waitress service.

This does rather contrast with the reported offering at trendy new London restaurant, the Bar and Grill at the Corinthia Hotel, operated by Michelin-decorated TV chef Tom Kerridge and reviewed in the Daily Mail by Robert Hardman. Here a medium-sized piece of brill with seven and a half chips, spinach, mushy peas, tartare sauce and a curry-like sauce costs £32.50. Of course, as one might expect for this price the chips are triple-cooked, the fish batter is made with £4 a bottle mineral water and dusted with crushed parsley and the tartare sauce and the curry-like version is home-made.

However, for our money we'll stick to our local, avoid the rubbish train service into and out of London and enjoy our £5 Thursday nights, with apologies to nice Mr Kerridge and his lucrative new restaurant of course


One wheeze to squeeze more money from punters booking their short break hotel holidays by coach is sadly operated by tour operator Shearings Holidays. It's called "fluid pricing" and works on the principle that it's OK to rip customers off as long as you tell them you might be doing it.

We have happily enjoyed a dozen or so cheap breaks with Shearings in the past few years, and received an email on October 1 from their agent, Coach Holidays, offering a range of ten four night breaks in different UK locations in January 2019, urging us to "Call us now to get great offers before they sell out" and pointing out that the great Shearings offer, of £119 per person expired in five days, on October 5. However when we called on October 3, well within the expiry date we were told that, due to Shearing's "fluid pricing" policy the price was now £125, which we declined on principle.

We used to trust Shearings...


o A big town like Bournemouth should have more highly-regarded restaurants than it has but the trusted Hardens Best UK Restaurants Guide only lists two in its printed edition, and one of those is a chippie..

The other, WestBeach is located right on the beach and very close to the pier. It gets a "good" for its food, service and ambience, which we would broadly agree with whilst possibly upping the food score to "very good" Our lunchtime seafood soup was thick, fragrant and satisfying for around £5 and the chilli and garlic prawn linguini (£12.50) was cooked firm, alright al dente if we must and the tiger prawns were tasty, springy and plentiful. The lunch menu comprised a choice of six dishes, including a fish finger sandwich with fries for £9.00, a fishcake served with salad, a poached egg and Hollandaise Sauce for £10.50, a fish pie with mixed vegetables for £12.50 and a vegetarian option of roasted, spiced sweet potato with halloumi and quinoa salad plus house dressing for £10.50.

But it is in the evening when WestBeach comes into its own as a premier seafood heaven of local catches. Then a choice of starters includes seared scallops, (£10.95) crab tian (£8.25) or mussels as classic Mariniere, with leek and stilton sauce or with red Thai curry sauce (£8.95) These can also be had as a main course for £17.95, and are joined by the likes of Turbot fillet (£19.75) Sea Bream fillet (£18.75) Whole lobster (£39.95), Dressed crab (£19.50) Tiger Prawns again with fries and salad (£16.50) and the star of the show, a seafood sharing platter comprising hot razor clams, mussels and cockles in a butter emulsion, Jumbo prawns with garlic and herbs, and cold dressed crab with oysters, all served with fries and salad for £55.25. Additionally a half lobster can be included for an extra £17.25 or a whole one for an extra £34.25


o Good to note that the Hilton restaurants are still accepting the Tastecard discount dining card and making eating well in London very affordable.

A recent lunch at the classy Tiger Green Cafe at the Hilton Green Park in Half Moon Street, Mayfair comprised a large portion of large deep fried whitebait with a salad and a very moreish tarragon mayonnaise to dip them in. (£4.00) This we followed with a large fillet of perfectly cooked skin-on salmon pan fried with crunchy Pak Choi, ginger, chilli and soft noodles with spinach. (£19) With the 50% discount our bill came to a very reasonable £9.50.

Also on the menu, and perhaps for next time was a sirloin steak sandwich for £18/£9, an 8oz Aberdeen Angus Beefburger for £17/£8.50 and a grilled chicken breast with bacon, carrots, seasonal vegetables and baby potatoes for £19/£9.50.


We are starting an ongoing survey of problems reported to us that organisers have with their use of speakers. Some common examples are listed on our website Please check the ones that you have experienced and add any others not on the list. No identities of anyone contributing to the survey will be revealed and speakers will not be named.

Click here to take our survey.


A court puts the rights of the public to enjoy the quiet peace and tranquillity of the South Downs National Park before the needs of a wealthy aristocrat to make more money from his land, and the needs of corporate groups to have lots of fun killing things, and slaps a noise abatement order on the wealthy aristocrat... Haunted House and the West Midland police apologise for their insensitivity to those who lost loved ones to murderer Fred West. Meanwhile a raffle for the rope that West used to hang himself raises £500 for charity... Actor Jeremy Piven from TV's Mr Selfridge reveals that he has a compassionate side that many women love... TV chef Tom Kerridge ups his fish and chips game at his lucrative new Bar and Grill and guarantees ten chips per diner. He tells the press "this represents a huge 30 % increase in our thrice-cooked chips and is my answer to all those who say that my £32.50 fish and chips is poor value"... Shearings Holidays drops its invidious "fluid pricing" scam and wins back some customer trust... 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: 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: 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 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. Tel: 01462 896679 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: mocha.tv Vimeo:http://vimeo.com/user4995482/videos


OUT OF HOURS SUPPORT GROUP provides MEDICAL COVER and SECURITY SERVICES for the full range of events.
Based in Hampshire, but covers events across the country. Experienced staff include doctors, Emergency Nurse Practitioners & Paramedics working with vehicles equipped to NHS specification, including an ambulance, 4x4s and all-terrain quad bike. Mobile medical centre available. Reliable and versatile staff are fully screened in line with enhanced DBS requirements with separate Disclosure and Barred list check.

Out of Hours Security teams work separately or alongside the medical teams. Security staff are registered and licensed by the SIA. All staff wear visible ID at all times. Contact Leo Burdock at leo@outofhoursmedics.co.uk or visit outofhoursmedics.co.uk Tel: 07904033828


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 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 17,000 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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