Monday, 2 March 2015
After the VisitBritain conference on Friday we were invited to a Gala dinner. This was at our grandest of grand stately homes in the county, Castle Howard. Only 10 miles from us. I have visited the house on many an occasion and really like going when it is dressed for Christmas. This time we were very honoured to go to this Gala Dinner. Simon Howard was always a generous host to the tourism sector over the years. There was a canape reception followed by walking tour through state rooms to reach the Long Hall. Jack was as much impressed by the chateaubriand as he was with the beautiful paintings and portraits that adorn the walls. You can imagine how thrilled the foreign buyers were seeing such a house in all its glory. I loved the flowers that had been arrange by Kim Queen and were very British as one would expect in red,white and blue. Rachael Underwood had been working until very late to create a super evening -see the red ,white and blue colours lit up the Castle. Along corridors in each window candles in hurriance glasses lit the way. Peter Dodd gave an opening speech. As each course of food ended we welcomed another set of buyers to the table.So throughout the evening dined with Polish,Chinese,French and Belguim. The evening was ended by a display by ribbon actresses. My evening was complete when I handed around my calendars as guests boarded buses for their departure. A Danish journalist said he was very touched that a small business like myself had thought to do this and thought it very enterprising of me. And that it was good to see both large and small businesses working side by side to create this Yorkshire brand. Gary Verity might have been missing on this occasion as he was busy lambing.I am sure he would have been pleased with how Yorkshire pulled out the stops to make this a truly memorable night for people from across the globe. Gary we presume was teaching Mrs Verity to pull out the lambs.
Sunday, 1 March 2015
On Friday I had an away day .First it was to the Visit Britain conference at Yorks racecourse where we heard the statistics from Visit Britain -trends and visitors. Here we were treated to a lovely lunch overlooking the York racecourse where I met up with Katrina Gray from the Wold Cottage and other representives from around Yorkshires businesses . The welcome was made by Sally Blacombe the CEO for Visit Britain. Following Sally's very interesting and up beat speech David Edwards the Head of Research and forecasting spoke of Globals trends,inbound UK trends along with a summary of markey conditions. I loved listening to Holger Lenz -hello Love- who is a very witty speaker who clearly love England .He is the manager for Central and Southern Europe for Visit Britain . I spoke to him after his presentation as he was then rushing back to Germany and when I handed him my card I was very touched that he had heard of me -little old me from Ampleforth.One of his collegues had stayed here last year and spoke highly of me . We then listened to Robin Johnson who for the last 3 years has been Director China for Visit Britain -he too was rushng off as he had to look after Prince William the following day in China. After this was a tea break -delicious cakes by the way -before listening to speakers Jimmy Greene,Nick Hall. Our own Welcome toYorkshire Marketing and Sales Director Peter Dodd. A discussion was then led by Michelle Brown of Visit York . Lastly it was lovely to meet Jo Leslie and see Helen Smith and Craig Nattress who do so much to bring tourists to the area locally . Lots of name dropping here but as you can read it was a very interesting day in the office.
Wednesday, 25 February 2015
Monday, 2 February 2015
Between the breakfasts and the dinner the Chelsea Pensioners visited St Benedicts school in Ampleforth. At school it was Williams 6th birthday and so he had his photograph taken with the Chelsea Pensioners and his granddad was in the Army so it was nice this happened. We also had a raffle and with all donations and the monies we would like to thank everyone who helped us raise £1000 that went back down to London. It is to be used in the Margaret Thatcher Infirmary which is for the frailer and ill inmates of the RH Chelsea. I handed over the cheque which they were going to drop off at the Hospital before they headed straight out again to watch Chelsea football team play against Liverpool. Just before they went there was one last presentation and that was to our lovely local lady Doctor Mechie who is retiring. My mum and dad donated one of the Ampleforth roses to her and here you see her with a smile who has made many an ill person feel a lot better.
As well as the breakfasts we hosted at Dinner at the White Swan in Ampleforth.Robert Thompson and his staff did a wonderful job feeding the 54 diners to a full roast beef dinner. George Pickles ,the Ripon Hornblower came along and talked of the history of the Ripon Hornblower spanning over 1100 years. Kevin Hollinrake who is standing for our local MP in the elections in May and his lovely wife Nikki attended. Kevin presented the Chelsea Pensioners with 2 of the Tommy's Roses which were grown by RV Rogers of Pickering and kindly given by Ian Rogers. The roses were grown on soil brought back from the Flanders Battlefields and will be planted in the Royal Hospital Chelsea Gardens along with 2 of the Ampleforth roses which are supporting Help the Heros. We gave the latter as a momento of the Chelsea Pensioners time with us. Young Tom Cranage who is whipper-in for the Sinnington Hunt and also the horn blower for the Ampleforth Beagles. Tom was the runnerup in the National Horn Blowing Competition in 2014. He didnt realise he could take a breathe,so we hope he wins this year. A good night was had by all, which ended in the early hours with the Chelsea Pensioners at the forefront of the celebrations