Posted on Sunday, December 20th, 2009
On December 17th we held our annual Grand Auction at Kensington's splendid Royal Geographical Society (RGS). With a truly remarkable selection of lots on offer, we had our fingers crossed for a decent turn-out despite it quickly turning into a very cold night indeed.
However we needn't have been concerned: hosted by David Bond, Chairman of the Great Bustard Group's trustees, attended by a coterie of our finest (and finest-dressed!) supporters, and managed by GBG Director David Waters with two bus-loads of GBG staff and volunteers, the event was (to quote David Bond) "a resounding success".
How much of that was to do with the well-stocked and superbly-staffed bar (thanks Rebecca Waters, Hannah Rose and Mary Walden) we can only make an educated guess, but the evening did go extremely smoothly from start to finish. Short speeches by the two Davids (Messrs Bond and Waters) were well-received, membership forms were handed out and accepted from the get-go, and the reception room we used looked fantastic, thanks in part to new promotional displays created by our colleagues Suzy Elkins and Alex Stott of AA1 Media Ltd (who also proved to be very enthusiastic balloon-blowers, a skill not noted on their website despite the obvious financial opportunities as party organisers!).
Suzy Elkins finishes off the centre-piece of our display
A selection of 'Bustard with Mustard' Cheese handmade by GBG supporters
Gwyn and Ness Williams of Loosehanger Cheeses
GBG Director David Waters works the crowd!
As the first heavy snowfall of the winter fell outside turning London into an ice-rink (which was all very Christmassy even if it probably did stop a few supporters making it to the Auction), bidders inside the RGS snapped up remarkable bargains including a Mantis Collection Safari in South Africa, a stay at the fabulous Carlisle Bay Hotel in Antigua, a one night stay at any von Essen UK hotel, and fishing packages on some of the UK's most exclusive beats. One lucky father will even wake up on Christmas Day to learn that his son has paid for him to have a 'non-intrusive vasectomy' courtesy of Gordon Muir, a consultant urological surgeon working at King's College Hospital (a lot which went - BOOM BOOM - for a snip)!
Head of Trustees David Bond explains the GBG's mission...
...and GBG's Director David Waters adds some technical details
Like to guess who's father is getting an unusual Christmas present this year
(the clue is in the 'snip' hand signal...)?
After the auction and further visits to the bar (apparently some of the red wine drunk by attendees came direct from the Big Brother House!) the evening's festivities climaxed with the cutting of a superb and delicious Great Bustard Group cake designed by Ruth Manvell which your roving correspondent ate far too much of (tonight wasn't a night to be worried about calories though). By about 21:00 most of our guests had departed into a decidedly chilly night, and we were packed up and heading back to Wiltshire about an hour later.
We'll have details of how much was raised by the event in the near future and hopefully put some names to the guests we photographed (perhaps as photographer and blogger I should have concentrated less on cake and more on taking names but we'll try to track everyone down), but our most sincere thanks go to everyone who attended and who bid - your donations/contributions are extremely important to the GBG and will help us continue our operations into the future, assuring a future in the UK for Otis tarda, the magnificent Great Bustard.
The reason for the event and all the hard work!