Event Organisers Update March 2019 ISSUE 172 - 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.


Three teenagers were crushed to death as they waited to get into a St. Patricks Day disco at the Grenvale Hotel in Cookstown, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland.

It is understood that around 400 young people were in the crowd waiting for the hotel's club entrance door to be opened at 9.30 pm when the lethal pushing and shoving started by people desperate to get to the front of the queue, resulting in the deaths of Lauren Bullock, 17, Morgan Barnard, 17, and Connor Currie, 16.

The owner of the hotel, Michael McElhatton, 53, and a 40 year old man were arrested two days later on suspicion of manslaughter. Mr McElhatton has since been released on police bail.

In a sad sign of our times sick internet trolls quickly set up fake profiles mocking those who died.

The three-star, 11 bedroom hotel on the outskirts of Cookstown is a popular venue for weddings, with a capacity of 250, and conferences for up to 200.


Like lots of others we rushed to renew our passport early because of the possibility of a no-deal Brexit, which had more than nine months left on it Like lots of others we were impressed that HM Passport Office were pledging to add up to nine months that passports had to run to the expiry date. Indeed the helpful HM Passport Office information leaflet we got a few weeks ago from the Post Office, who processed our application, stated: "You can renew your passport whenever you want. You do not have to wait for it to run out. We will add any period your passport has left to run (up to nine months) to your new passport".

Sadly this isn't the truth. Apparently last September HM Passport Office quietly "altered their policy" and no longer add back up to nine months of validity. This is now made clear on their web site as their information leaflets distributed by the Post Office tell a very different story.

The concept of reduction in trust comes to mind...


The Vice-Chancellor of De Montford University, Dominic Shellard, has resigned over business links he had with the chairman of the university's remuneration committee, Anthony Stockdale.

Shellard owned shares in the Metamorph Group, a holding company run by Stockdale, who approved a 22.4% salary increase for Shellard, the largest pay rise of any UK University Vice - Chancellor this year and one that bought Shellard's salary to £350,000. Following Shellard's resigning Stockdale has resigned his post on the university's governing board.

The Office for Students watchdog has now launched a probe into "regulatory matters" at De Montford


One concern many travelers have is being the victim of an infestation of bed bugs, something that unfortunately happened to the writer at the Moorfields Premier Inn, Liverpool last month.

So what's it like? Well it's horrible. The bites don't really come out till two days after, when they itch maddeningly, and scratching too hard breaks the skin on the bumps that form and risks infection. Creams can stop some of the itching but I needed a course of anti-biotics and anti-histamine to properly clear it all up.

Just in case any of our readers, or their delegates, are similarly unlucky we are publishing the emails between ourselves and Premier Inn, part of Whitbread and these follow here.

1. From Premier Inn to Peter Cotterell 08 March 2019

Your unique reference for this contact: WHB-238297-#### 

Hello Peter,

Thank you for contacting us to share the experience of your stay at our Liverpool City Centre hotel. It’s important to us that you enjoy your time with us and I'm really sorry that your experience did not meet your expectations.

It's disappointing to note that you think you might have had a reaction to bed bugs during your stay. We take this very seriously and so the team will be investigating this thoroughly.

We'll be in touch in due course once we have a resolution for you.

Do you know we have a social media team that reply quicker? Try us now:

Kind regards,

Guest Relations Advisor


2. From Peter Cotterell to Premier Inn 09 March 2019

Hello Liz and thank you for your response.

This is to give you some more information about my stay at Premier Inn Moorfields, Liverpool.

My stay, with my wife Pauline, was for the three nights of Saturday February 23 to Monday Feb 25, cost £145 Booking reference ADCR40####, in room 306.

I was the only person affected with bites. My wife who slept beside me suffered none . However she normally wears nightclothes in bed and I just wear underpants and a top, which leaves my arms, legs and lower back exposed.

I didn't notice any itching from after the first night but had a rash of around twelve maddeningly itchy bites on my lower back by the Monday morning after the second night. However I put these down to mosquito bites since we had been around Liverpool Dock area on the Saturday night and the weather had been unseasonably warm. It wasn't umtil the Tuesday morning after the third night that I awoke scratching at my arms and legs as well and counted more than 60 bites in all. When I pulled back the duvet there were streaks of blood and pieces of what I discovered afterwards were bed bug faeces.

Around 11.30 on the Tuesday morning, after a hot bath, I went to reception and waited until there was no-one else there before I approached the receptionist and explained the situation, asking her to arrange for the duty manager to meet me in the room, which she did straight away. She also gave me the Premier Inn website address "if you want to get your money back"

Up in room 306 a Duty manager attended with two other female members of staff. She looked ant the bed and asked me "Have you been bitten ?" and I told her I had, for which she apologised.

As you know bites from bed bugs are at their most itchy two days afterwards and I experienced two days of misery with them on the Wednesday and Thursday, though I was helped by some bite cream I bought from the chemist on the Wednesday which contained cortisone to relieve the itching.

By the Friday it was obvious that some of the worst bites, on the lower back and legs, had become infected through my scratching them and so I went to our doctor's surgery for advice. The nurse I saw looked at all the bites and commented "They really had a feast on you. You wont use that hotel again" She prescribed more cream to apply, a course of penicillin tablets and a course of anti-histamine tablets.

I don't want anyone else to suffer similarly, as I am sure you don't either since it damages the image of Premier Inn, of Liverpool hotels and hotels and Liverpool in general. You should know that I responded to your survey company with a balanced review of my stay and declined their invitation to send the review straight to Tripadvisor. I would therefore like to know what steps you have taken to avoid a repeat of my experience with other guests

I hope we can resolve this unfortunate case to both our satisfactions and look forward to hearing from you again soon

Peter Cotterell


3. From Premier Inn to Peter Cotterell 15 March 2019

Your unique reference for this contact: WHB-238297-#### 

Dear Peter,

Thank you for contacting us to share the experience of your stay at our Liverpool City Centre hotel. Thank you for your patience while we've investigated the matter.

Firstly, please accept my sincere apologies for the inconvenience and disappointment caused. At Premier Inn we always strive to provide our customers with a high standard of service and I am sorry that on this occasion we failed to achieve this. The Management team have taken your feedback on board and acted immediately to ensure the issue was resolved quickly.

I am sorry to read that you were bitten by bed bugs during her stay with us at our Liverpool City Centre Premier Inn. Following an investigation into your concerns I would firstly like to apologise for the disappointment this matter has caused. I can confirm that since your stay a third-party hygiene company has visited the hotel to investigate and fully treat the room and the surrounding rooms and they will also make a follow up visit should this be needed.

Because of the disappointment caused we will be processing a refund for the 3 nights of your stay. Unfortunately, we cannot refund this back to the card used to pay, but I can confirm that our Central Refunds team will arrange for the £145.00 to be refunded by cheque. This should arrive in 2-3 weeks.

As a gesture of good will after this incident, we are also arranging for £75.00 Leisure Vouchers to be sent to you. You can use these in any Premier Inn hotel or any Whitbread restaurant, and these will arrive in due course. Please be advised that these can take a while to be processed and will arrive after the cheque. I do hope this goes some way to restore your faith in Premier Inn and that we can look forward to welcoming you back in the near future.

Thank you once again for taking the time and trouble to contact us.

Do you know we have a social media team that reply quicker? Try us now:

Kind regards,

Guest Relations Advisor


A study by Greek cardiologists has found that an afternoon nap is as good for reducing blood pressure as taking pills or reducing salt in the diet.

It's also as effective as cutting down on drinking, so those who enjoy a snooze after a few lunchtime bevvys may well have it right.

Could bringing back lunchtime drinking and having healthy power naps spanning the after-lunch "graveyard session" ever catch on at conferences?


Shoah, for many was the ultimate Holocaust documentary, taking its French director Claude Lanzmann 11 years to shoot and spanning more than nine hours after the selections had been made from the 350 hours of footage shot. Shoah is Hebrew for "catastrophe", also "calamity" and "destruction".

The film, released in 1985 concentrated on four main areas - the Chelmo, Auschwitz-Birkenhau and Treblinka extermination camps in Poland and the Warsaw ghetto in Poland, and Lanzmann interviewed survivors from, witnesses to and perpetrators of what has been called the greatest evil of modern times. Excepting a poor reception in Poland, where the hatred of Polish peasantry for the Jews was exposed (without balancing this with the help given by many Poles to the Jews) Shoah was a triumph, winning universal acclaim, a 100% score on the Rotten Tomatoes website, based on 33 reviews giving an average rating of 9.2/10, and a BAFTA award for the best documentary.

Following Shoah Lanzmann made four more films from more of his raw footage, A Visitor From the Living. (1997) Sobibor, October 14, 1943, 4pm.(2001), The Karski Report (2001) and The Last of the Unjust (2013) Then last year he edited more footage into a four-part, four hour presentation called Shoah: The Four Sisters. This features four women who experienced the barbarism at first hand and who lived to tell their stories. All are poignant and affecting and include experiences of the Lodz ghetto, Sobibor and Auschwitz, this last where Ruth Elias watched helplessly as the "good-looking and well-mannered" psychopath Joseph Mengele prevented her from feeding her new-born baby and starving it to death because he wanted to "see how long it would survive without food" He was cheated of the result of his pitiless "research" when Elias, with the help of a compassionate nurse who gave her a hypodermic of morphine, was finally able to put her baby beyond its pain.

Lanzmann died last year aged 92, very shortly after he'd finished Shoah: The Four Sisters, which can rightly be considered a satellite and companion piece to Shoah, was released last month by Eureka Entertainment as part of its Masters of Cinema series, both in DVD and Blu-Ray formats


An intelligent spoof that sent up the snowflakes who pretend to care passionately about social issues, such as racism, to the exclusion of common sense was always going to be much needed and a monstrous creation called Titania Gethsemane McGrath has been unleashed, on Twitter.

Titania is the seminal snowflake and has come out with such gems as "White people: stop trying to help destitute Africans. I'm sure they'd rather starve than perpetuate negative racial stereotypes" and "I have always stood up for minorities. As such it is essential that we respect the wishes of the minority of UK voters and overturn Brexit" this last scarily prescient now.

Sadly for those 200,000 who follow Titania, to agree or oppose, she isn't real, but a very funny parody dreamed up by a 40 year old academic Andrew Boyle.

For those who love such parody there is Steve Coogan, whose monstrously naff Alan Partridge just goes from strength to strength. And going back a bit on our TV's there was Warren Mitchell's racist and bigoted Alf Garnett. Prior to that, first on radio then on TV was Tony Hancock's brilliant parody of the common man. There was also, in the 1980's, Henry Root, wet fish merchant and the creation of satirist, writer and playboy William Donaldson (1935 - 2005). who wrote funny and often outrageous letters to politicians, publishers, chief constables and sports celebrities, sometimes getting serious replies from those taken in. Many were published in two books, The Henry Root Letters and The Further Letters of Henry Root.

Meanwhile it is understood that Titania has just published her first book…


It was good to hear that the tightening up of the law has resulted in a sharp drop in bogus claims for holiday "illness" Affected are the law firms, as yet unnamed, who are now restrained by a cap on what they can charge in legal fees.

Meanwhile the courts continue to punish those who are persuaded to defraud, but not the claims companies or lawyers who help them for a share of the spoils.


Those who like a nice drop of port might be interested to know that a tawny called Six Barrels was recently voted top out of 29 fortified wines at a blind tasting we organised locally with 16 tasters.

The producers, Portal, select the best six barrels from dozens once a year and then blend them together, hence its name. There are 300 bottles in a barrel so the total on the market is 1,800 bottles. It sells for £18.99 a bottle and we got ours from a firm called Hennings in Pulborough, West Sussex.(£100 worth shipped free)

Only a few points behind was another from Hennings, a Krohn Porto Senador Tawny at £12.75 a bottle, which tied for second place with an own brand Ruby port from supermarket Morrissons at £7.25


o One Liverpool restaurant getting some good reviews is Wreckfish at 60, Seel Street, which achieves a score of 4 - denoting "very good"- for its food, service and ambience in the trusted and independent Harden's Best UK Restaurants 2019 guide, where it notes it "serves quality produce in a fresh and interesting way and delivers great value".

We had a sample meal there recently and chose the lunch menu with two courses for £19 and had a starter choice of five, comprising cauliflower risotto, butternut squash soup, charred mackerel, beetroot three ways, and chicken liver pate. My partner had the very tasty soup, which contained smoked walnut oil, pumpkin seeds and crispy sage and was accompanied by toasted olive focaccia bread, as was our choice of the smooth and delicious chicken liver pate, complemented with an unusual sweet fig and rhubarb chutney.

Five mains comprised pan-fried chicken breast, Jerusalem artichoke risotto, Rolled and stuffed pork belly, Pan-fried sea bass and Fresh soft herb linguini My partner chose the sea bass and requested it without the puy lentils, and was disappointed at the small size of the fish fillet, and the fact that the carrots had been pureed (why?) My own choice of rolled and stuffed pork belly was a substantial portion of very porky and fatty meat served with kale and pureed (again) cauliflower, which did as much for the cauliflower as it did for the carrots. However a side dish of braised red cabbage was a nice tart choice at £3.50, picked from a list of four with the three others being Parmesan and truffle chips (£4), Honey roasted carrots (£3, and hopefully not liquidised) and Pink fir potatoes, confit garlic (£4)

We didn't have a dessert for an extra three pounds on the bill but could have had Tonka bean creme brulee, Honeycomb semi -freddo, Vanilla rice pudding, Warm ginger parkin or Kit Calvert Wenslydale cheese. This last is made from pasteurised cow's milk to flavour strength 3 and is a matured and creamier version of the tangier younger Wenslydales, named after the man instrumental in saving the Wenslydale Creamery when it faced closure in 1935. Kit Calvert costs £19.99 a kilo in Waitrose.

For those looking to enjoy private dining at Wreckfish the upstairs holds 22, plus 10 in the bar and the downstairs room holds 40 in the main section, 12 in a backroom and 5 in an alcove.

Tel 01244 400400 Web: wreckfish.co


o Rather less of a bargain, but scoring Harden's highest accolade of 5 ("outstanding") for its food is the year-old Sushi Atelier at 114 Great Portland Street, London, W1W 6PH.

Here you can sit at the counter and watch your outstanding Japanese mouthfuls lovingly prepared, as we did while we enjoyed a little fishy pre-starter (free) hot steamed chicken and veg Gyoza dumplings with a dipping sauce (£5.80), an 8-piece California Maki roll of snow-crab and avocado with Japanese mayo and flying fish roe (£8.90 and definitely outstanding) and a mixed sushi set of an 8-piece California roll, 2 salmon sushi and two tuna sushi (£18.30)

With the 12.5% service charge our bill came to £37.13, which is about double what we pay at our favourite conveyor belt London sushi place, Kulu Kulu in Brewer Street, where Harden's inspectors award the "good-value Japanese food" a 3 ("Good") for its food but less for the service (you help yourself) and the ambience. Here, however we can eat our fill of zero-cholesterol sushi in 45 minutes and come out with a bill for £20, so bugger the ambience.

Back to Sushi Atelier and its prices, it is true that you can pay a lot more in Central London for Japanese food rated as outstanding., and places include Jugemu and Sushi Bar Atiri Ya at £40+, Dinings at £60+, Zuma at £80+ and on up to Iraki at an eye-watering £380+, or as one diner commented "around £40 a mouthful" so perhaps Sushi Atelier is priced about right for the quality. Move away from basic sushi sets to sushi a la carte however and you'll pay £2.60 for one piece of salmon, squid or mackerel sushi , £2.80 for octopus, horse mackerel or sweet prawn, £3/£3.10 for yellowtail, seabass, butterfish, prawn, scallop and razor clam, £3.30 for eel, £3.60 for tuna, £3.90 for snow crab and medium fatty tuna, £4 for turbot and £4.60 for fatty tuna, so if it takes a modest 15 pieces to fill you up you could easily hit £40 without trying. And sashimi fish fillets will empty the wallet even quicker, with £7 - £10 for 3 pieces not unusual.

Good for an occasional special then. Tel 020 7636 4455 Web: sushiatelier.com


o Back to bargains we enjoyed our substantial Pan-Asian scoff at the Cosmo Oriental Buffet in Eastbourne, one of 19 around the UK and Southern Ireland.

Our weekday all-you-can-eat 50-item lunch was an impressive £7.99 - lunch and dinner on Sundays is £12.99, as is dinner Monday to Thursday, with Friday and Saturday dinners at £13.99. There are a lot more dishes for Sundays and dinners - up to 150 in some outlets - but our lunch spread was fine as we enjoyed some basic sushi, vegetable foo yung, soups, spicy fried chicken wings and some thick and succulent prawn toasts, before moving on to some excellent special fried rice, Singapore noodles, some piping-hot and finger-scalding tiger prawns to peel carefully, more chicken with a range of sauces and respectable chips, followed by marshmallows dipped in the chocolate fountain, tinned fruits, chocolate brownies, chocolate eclairs and trifles, all rounded off with a range of cancel - the - diet confectionery, such as fruit jellies, wine gums, rainbow chocolate buttons, chocolate mini eggs, and more.

Cosmo have their buffet restaurants in Aberdeen, Belfast, Bristol, Derby, Doncaster, Dublin, Eastbourne, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Manchester, Norwich, Nottingham, Oxford, Reading, Romford, Sheffield, Southampton and Wolverhampton.

Web: cosmo-restaurants.co.uk


HM Passport Office are "surprised and hurt" that people don't trust them anymore… De Montford University explain how their overpaid officers being in each other's pockets sets an inspiring example to their cash-strapped students… Healthy conferences offering delegates a glass of prosecco and half a bottle of wine at lunchtime, and a one-hour power nap to follow are a sell-out… Titania McGrath receives proposals of marriage, and some other arrangements, from her followers… 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 [email protected]




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: [email protected] Web: computecgroup.com


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 [email protected] 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. email: [email protected] 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: [email protected] 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 [email protected] 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 [email protected]


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: [email protected]; 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. [email protected] 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 [email protected] 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 [email protected]

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