A lot of care and attention is given to this annual event. Many months were spent pondering on various different formats. One area that was very straight forward was choosing the venue, Highclere Castle. The Castle was booked back in February and was hired for the day and evening. This year the location was not kept a secret from the delegates but was launched to coincide with the series of Downton Abbey starting on TV.
The format of the day was not significantly different from the year before, but the activities were different. A photographer was booked for the whole day and evening and captured all the different parts of the day notably the activities and so internal shots of the Castle.
It was important to have a couple of activities during the day that allowed the delegates to work both as a team and in smaller groups. The group activity reflected the time of the year – Hand Bell Ringing. The husband and wife act that featured on Britain’s Got Talent run a workshop which involved a demo and then some ‘teaching’, and let’s just say it’s not a very easy activity to teach – but it was festive and there was even a sing-along too!
Next on the menu was Truffle Making. Father Christmas greeted the guests and took them off into the depths of the Castle for a sweet smelling activity. The delegates worked in pairs and were able to take some truffles back to their families.
This year guests were accommodated overnight at Donnington Valley and after a quick change there, the delegates returned to the Castle, for the Evening Dinner and Awards Ceremony.