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West London echoed to the sound of smashed clays as Square Meal treated the big guns of the event industry to a shooting party
The weather report for our big shooting day was, quite frankly, horrendous. The Met Office and BBC rarely agree but, on this one, they were unanimous: heavy rain. Great. As we set off for the West London Shooting School (tel: 020 8845 1377) on the wettest Friday in September, we felt sure some big guns would be called away on ‘urgent’ (ie. indoor) business – but our industry’s finest didn’t disappoint. Lured as much by the promise of a great day’s shooting and slap-up lunch as by the opportunity to network with each other, they not only turned out in force but brought their best moods along too.
Some travelled from as far away as Devon and Worcestershire to join us but, for most, it had been a very easy journey. The venue is located just 12 miles from central London, off the M40 by the Polish War Memorial, and can even be reached by tube (to South Ruislip station, a short cab ride away).
Unlike golf, which requires a degree of competence, shooting is accessible to all. A few of our big guns, including Concerto Group’s vice-chairman Guy Rodger, who went on to win the day’s top prize, were regular shooters, but others had never even held a shotgun before. Picking up the gong for best novice was Denis McCourt, MD of Awesome Events, who is now well and truly hooked on shooting. ‘I don’t usually do jollies but this was a great event with a fantastic guest list,’ he said. ‘I’m really glad I came.’
Shooting in three teams of five, each assigned to one of the school’s top instructors, we spent the first part of the morning going for individual scores before finishing with a ‘team flush’.
It was a merry gang that finally headed back to the clubhouse for Champagne, prize-giving ceremony and a fabulous lunch, prepared by new in-house catering partner Young & Wild (tel: 020 7099 7632), an Ealing-based company that impressed us all with its restaurant-quality cooking.
Sam Gill, MD of The Ultimate Experience, summed up the mood: ‘It was very good to catch up with industry colleagues on such a relaxing day. I thought the catering was outstanding, the wines superb and the shooting very well run. I am seriously considering staging a client day at West London on the back of this event.'
This article first appeared in Square Meal Venues & Events magazine, Autumn 2008.