Meeting HRH the Duke of Edinburgh

Earlier on in our history we were called in to meet with a group of Military Men that wanted to organise a conference for approx 160 ex Military service men representing all the colonies of the British Commonwealth.

HRH The Duke of Edinburgh was the secretary of the association and was one of the people we had to meet with to discuss all the events. The evening functions were held at the Whale Well in the SA Museum… another function was held out in Franschhoek and the train derailed due to road improvements…. Fortunately our coaches were on standby and the group were not delayed in getting to their delicious 3 course luncheon. The delegates were all thrilled they had an adventure to talk about. HRH The Duke of Edinburgh was not at this function. Another function they had was held at the City Hall and I was in a tearing hurry and kept on trying to get past a very tall man on the pavement in front of me, only when I had overtaken him did I see it was Nelson Mandela being escorted to the event.

Dinner at Glamis Castle Near St Andrews, Scotland & Meeting a Baron

I had the good fortune of so impressing one of my clients with an event I managed in South Africa for them that they ended up flying me to Scotland to organise their event the following year. I visited 15 castles, the lovely old Edinburgh Zoo, the Royal yacht and had tea with a Baron while organising the spouse programme.

The conference was held in St Andrews for approx. 200 people and the highlight dinner was held at Glamis Castle (home of the then Queen Mother). We arranged a wonderful tour of the castle with champagne and canapés followed by a medieval dinner. Once the group were replete they were summonsed outside to board coaches, while they were waiting in the moonlight – pipers appeared from the forests in the dusk – playing Amazing Grace… what a show – it was hard to find a dry eye in the group

Dinner for 750 people from Queen Mary 3rd

This dinner was awesome – no expense spared by the cruise liner that hosted the dinner for international guests – PIE handled all arrangements including a huge variety of VIP port-a-loos for 750 people. The function was held in a marquee with the most splendid décor. We had the 11 African tribes of SA represented by “Statue people” in large frames. On arrival – the group walked through the stately home of Vergelegen through to the huge Camphor trees. They followed the red carpet to sparkling wine – the statues and were surprised by Zulu impies rushing at them in a mock attack .When this happened a well known Bishop of the day nearly jumped out of his cassock.. a bit of a giggle. There was a 70 piece band playing and the group enjoyed a truly elegant meal (prepared in a tent nearby)… 3 hours later it was all over – a week later it was on Top Billing and we were already on to our next event…

The Funniest Event I have ever done…

A client wanted to show his service team what it felt like to be an irritated client… so the organising team came up with the following…

The group were booked into a 5 star property with 3 star Kraals on site for “tourists” – the group assumed they were staying in the 5 star hotel section… when they arrived they were turned away and sent to the Kraals. They were not happy. Breakfast was served in the 5 star section to make up for the accommodation. The hotel staff had been briefed and delivered cold toast, boiled eggs instead of fried, tea instead of coffee etc etc.. Delegates were even more disgruntled. It all got sorted and they were fed.

They then walked into the function room and there were not enough chairs and tables were cramped. More extreme unhappiness. Suddenly the tune of “Its got to be perfect” started playing – we opened the larger conference doors and ushered the group in – here was a 6 star breakfast – champagne – freshly brewed coffee and enough space for everybody – however the scene had been set – the service managers now understood how their clients felt when their expectation was not met.