The Village Drinks Year in Review

This has been the most exciting year ever for Village Drinks and our members (if you exclude 2009, which is gonna be even better!). So, we've done a little review of the year, including all of the bits you seemed to like first time round.

We hope you enjoy it. :-)

The Village Drinks Team
(Always a pleasure)


January - A Man Called 'Hugh'

This year kicked off with a new recruit, Hugh Stevenson, joining the team. Much of the stuff we've done this year has been greatly enhanced and helped along by Hugh; so we all owe him a big thank you. Hugh's staying around for 2009 too, so expect more of the usual delights and, of course, to meet him when you arrive at our events.

January also witnessed our annual, New Year's Welcome Back Gathering, which was well attended and is always fun. Hugh's already planned one for January 09, too - you can find details here.

 


February - A little Light Romance

To celebrate Valentine's Day we held a swish party at the Haymarket Hotel pool room, with very handsome swimmers to match.

We also set a record attendance level at our event in Brighton, where 100 people turned up! There'll be more happening in Brighton soon - stay tuned - and, for Valentine's 09 - we've planned a very special offering, details coming soon.



March - New faces, new places

Our March event @ The Langley was once again packed to the rafters, we also went out on a drive to recruit new members by contacting the HR teams of all the big corporates.

We got lots of new people uploading profiles to our website, too. You can meet some of these shiny, happy people, here.

 


April - We've many more theatre visits planned for 2009!

Rain and tax (both inevitable) made us all glum.

But we tried putting a positive spin on this unhappy scenario by taking close to 100 members off to the theatre to watch Michael Ball camp it up in Hairspray the musical.

We've many more theatre visits planned for 2009 incluing Priscilla on March 16!



May - Your Events

We like choices. More importantly, we like nice choices. Our guests do too. So, we created a new area on our website for members to upload their own events.

It's taken off as well as a transatlantic flight to America. Now you can browse what friends and colleagues are up to. Take a look, here.



June - Another New Venue

We took our monthly main event to Jewel Bar, Piccadilly and helped everyone meet each other through laying card networking.

Expect more of that in 2009.

This month also saw the launch of the great new book, Netherhall Gardens, written by one of our members, Carl Patrick. If you'd like to find out more you can take a look here. Well done Carl!



July - A Memorable Summer Party

We were pretty busy in July, laying on our annual Summer Party. We set a record, with 600 people passing through our doors! where lots of melted chocolate was consumed, a string quartet turned up; new members were met, and Barclays Bank paid for lots of drinks! A party to remember for sure. You can check out all the lovely pics, here.

In 2009, our Summer Party will be somewhere even more exciting… stay tuned. We're keeping the venue we've booked under our hats for now!



But it doesn't stop there... Because, then we had...

July - Village TV and a Former Dragon

This was also the month where we launched our You Tube Channel, with special guest, Rachael Elnaugh, who launched our Business Networking Club at the Arts Club, Dover Street.

Rachael was the first of many high-flying businessmen and women who turned up at our Speaker's Corner events this year. Catch up on what you missed and have a ganders at our Village TV.


August - UFOs, Speed Dating and Making the News

The silly season had arrived in force, so we invited Nick Pope from the MOD to tell us about his time there in charge of the British Government's UFO project.

This was followed swiftly with our first ever speed dating event (a big hit and now a regular, monthly event for us).

And after years of nagging, Greg and Neil finally made the news, here and here.



September - Supporting New Graduates

We teamed up with the good people at Diversity Milkround to invite all new gay and lesbian graduates embarking on their careers to join us at a main, monthly gathering. The event was a great success, with 300 new members signing up to receive these emails. Thank you to Diversity Milk round and the work they do.

Our next speaker event is in a few weeks time with David Aaronvitch from The Times. Click here to reserve your place.



September - Speaker Special

We wanted to kick-start the autumn by giving other gay professionals some standards to live up to.

So we landed two top speakers for your pleasure. Sir Michael Bishop dropped by to share his business wisdom (and speak on the importance of lubrication), whilst the BBC and international PR firm, Edelman joined us to launch a media-interest night with guest speaker, Guardian Columnist, Polly Toynbee!


October

We weren't sure if we would better our September efforts. But then... we did! In Bristol, new membership records were set at our monthly main event. In London, Andrew Pierce, Assistant Editor at the Telegraph and Guy Black, Former Head of the Press Complaints Commission, turned up at our Speakers' Corner for the liveliest presentation we'd seen all year! Many thanks to both Guy and Andrew.

Oh, and to top it off, our Halloween Party packed out the Langley in Covent Garden, with almost 500 guests. A night to remember!



November - Enter the Dragon

James Caan, (the multimillionaire judge from BBC's Dragon's Den - not the actor!), dropped in to meet our members at Speaker's Corner, and to help us mark Global Entrepreneurship Week. The event was kindly supported by our new, regular sponsor: Giambrone Law - Gay Lawyers, who are offering free consultations to all members who feel they might need their help.

And some of the team travelled to New York to lay the way for Village Drinks to hold a few events over there! Like truffle pigs, we hunted venues, lined up some corporate sponsors, and accidentally ended up kissing a pig! Stay tuned on the New York front, we'll need your help...



November - Village Helpers and a Touch of Elegance

In November we started a scheme called Village Helpers, to help us reach new heights in 2009. Expect hosts to help out and introduce new members to other Village Drinkers, and a great new career mentoring scheme.

We also started work on The Village Dining & Lifestyle Club, more details coming soon...


December

We held a spankingly good party at the Café de Paris - over 600 of you came!

And then, just to finish off, we hosted a special evening with Sir Ian Mckellen in aid of the Albert Kennedy Trust, and raised over £6,000 for this wonderful charity. You can read more about this event here. To see pics from this fantastic event, click here.

A huge thank you to everyone who helped us - we truly couldn't have done it without you.

Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas.

The Village Drinks Team