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Early starts, risk assessments, setting-up rooms, laying tables, menu tastings, hiring staff, arranging uniforms and looking after up to 6,000 guests are just a few of the things Tracey Hirst does on a daily basis. This might send some people running for the hills (I for one), but not Hirst. Sheloves her job.
‘You can’t do this job and not like it,’ she tells me. ‘For 15 days in a row I will start work at 7am and finish it at 10pm. And, it’s back to back work throughout the summer. You can’t be your best if you don’t love what you do.’
As the on-day event hospitality manager for Keith Prowse, Hirst has a demanding role, bringing the front and back of house together to ensure both run in unison to create a spectacular show on the day.
More than that, Hirst is trouble-shooter extraordinaire. She tells us: ‘As I run both sides of the event, I know about everything and anything going on, so if something does go wrong, I am your girl.’ We’re not just talking about new batteries for the walkie-talkies or locating an AWOL supplier. Armed with a tool belt of essentials, it is super-Tracey to the rescue, gluing broken heels, sewing-up ripped skirts, safety-pinning burst buttons and slapping on sun cream. If the guests need something, you can be sure Hirst will have it. ‘I don’t find any request unusual anymore, I’ve been asked for everything,’ she says. So what’s worse than these fashion faux pas? ‘The worst thing that can go wrong is the weather,’ says Hirst. ‘If it rains at events, say the cricket for example, everyone stays inside the hospitality tent. Our packages are all-inclusive, and that means a free bar.’ Dangerous. V&E Keith Prowse Hospitality, tel: 0845 415 0628
This article was originally published in Square Meal Venues & Events, summer 2012