23 August 2014

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Venue Vendor - Paul Gray


The head of venue hire and corporate events at Kew Gardens tells us more about his space

  • Paul_Gray_pic.jpg My name is Paul Gray.
  • I am head of venue hire and commercial events at Kew Gardens.
  • I have worked here for almost four years.
  • They call me Paulo Grigio or PG.
  • I’ve been in the events industry for about eight years now.
  • My first event was the launch of the England football kit at Stamford Bridge with the likes of David Beckham and Michael Owen.
  • I’ll always remember the amazing firework display for HM the Queen’s 80th Birthday celebrations at Kew Palace.
  • The most valuable lesson I’ve learnt so far is always document conversations that could potentially save you from future confrontations.
  • My venue works because the stunning spaces are backed up by a great team of dedicated professionals.
  • I particularly like The Orangery as it offers both private and corporate clients a large, flexible space with an outdoor terrace for alfresco entertaining.
  • I’d use it for a party or launch event.
  • If I could change anything here, I’d relocate the Heathrow flight-path so that our guests could enjoy the tranquility the gardens have to offer.
  • People always comment on the attention to detail employed by our events team.
  • You may be surprised to hear that Kew will be 250 years old in 2009, and there will be a number of celebratory events to commemorate the occasion throughout the year.
  • Recently, we have been examining the possibility of attaining the BS 8901 standard in Sustainable Event Management. Kew Gardens already has ISO 14001 accreditation.
  • My favourite lunch spot around here is Antony Worrall Thompson’s Kew Grill.
  • The best pub nearby is The Botanist on Kew Green.
  • After an event, you’ll find me rushing home to spend precious time with my wife and newborn baby
  • When I need inspiration, I look at other organisations that are not necessarily related to events and examine whether there are ways that we can improve our own business.
  • Later this year I’m looking forward to developing our Christmas offering
  • In 10 years time I would still like to be involved with the creative and charitable industries at a senior level. It’s a great feeling to get up in the morning and go to work knowing that you’re making a real difference to the world.
  • I still want to improve our venue portfolio by providing a new space dedicated to events.
  • My famous last words will be ‘it’s easier to seek forgiveness than ask permission!’

Kew Gardens Richmond, Surrey, TW9 3AB, tel: 0870 780 8927, squaremeal.co.uk/kew
Function Rooms: 6
Meeting Capacity: 800
Dinner Capacity: 650
Reception Capacity: 850

This article first appeared in Square Meal Venues & Events magazine, Spring 2008.

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