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The UK events industry has lost one of its biggest personalities. Arthur Somerset (pictured here with his wife, Tanya) passed away suddenly on Wednesday 25 July, after taking ill at a venue near the Olympic Park. He was just 52.
Well known for his bright personality and even brighter suits, Arthur was widely regarded as one of the most creative event organisers in the country. As the founder of Mask Event Design & Production and former president of ISES UK (2002-2004), he was a leading figure in our industry for over 20 years.
Arthur will be remembered as a colourful and flamboyant character who was always quick to laugh and joke, but also for his hard work and commitment to making the UK events industry better. In 2003, he successfully campaigned for the government to increase the tax-free staff entertainment allowance from £75 to £150 per employee, which proved a big boost for event organisers and a suitable legacy for a man who made it his life’s work to entertain people through events. A real inspiration to his peers, Arthur is also credited with turning the UK chapter of the International Special Events Society into the major association it is today. He placed great emphasis on education, whether that meant helping young event professionals further their careers or convincing companies to invest in great events.
Having sold Mask to The Concerto Group back in 2008, Arthur has in recent years enjoyed spending more time with his young family, while also working as an event consultant under the banner Ask Arthur. As a key advocate of the London 2012 Olympics, he had been looking forward to welcoming guests to the hospitality facility at Formans Fish Island, where he was director of events. He sadly passed away just two days before the Opening Ceremony.
Arthur will be missed by all who had the pleasure of meeting and working with him.