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20 April 2014

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Tried & Tested: I Spy

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We jumped aboard Britain’s last surviving WWII cruiser for a night of code-cracking.

HMS Belfast. Stop. 16.09.13. Stop. 6pm. Stop. And that was all we were told. Need-to-know basis – very hush-hush. Spy Games had made the effort to come down from their stronghold in Milton Keynes, so it was the least we could do to wander (furtively) a couple of miles downriver from our Vauxhall HQ.

And, well, wire taps, phone bugs, invisible ink – journalists should be good at spy games.

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Turns out we could have left the kit at the office. After a welcome drink in the officers’ quarters, we were split into two teams of five. That’s the minimum, but the good ship can take many more. 

There were general knowledge, memory and face-recognition tests to be passed, and a bomb to be disposed of. Spy Games says everyone can participate in its activities, irrespective of gender, age, physical competency or managerial level. All true, until we got to the pistol-draw competition. Left-handers can go home at this point. Unless they’ve brought their own specially adapted holster, they’re shooting right-handed and going out in the first round. Their consolation prize: first shot at the post-match bowl food.

HMS Belfast, Morgan's Lane, Tooley Street, London SE1 2JH, tel: 020 3116 4457


This article was first published in Square Meal Venues & Events, autumn 2013.

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