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Meet the new BIID President

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Meet the new BIID President

Lester Bennett takes the baton from Harriet Forde to become the President of the BIID

The British Institute of Interior Design (BIID) has welcomed the new BIID President for the 2020-2021 term, Lester Bennett, who officially took on the role at the BIID Annual General Meeting (AGM) on July 2, which was held via online video conference.

Bennett has 40 years’ experience gained from running his own practice, being a design director for a plc residential developer, a founding partner of Folio Design LLP and now an independent consultant. Although his main sphere of expertise is residential interior architecture and design, Lester has experience in commercial and retail design, industrial, exhibition and product design.

Prior to setting up Folio Design LLP, Lester was Design Director at Westcity Wates/Westcity Developers, delivering prestigious and iconic London residential schemes such as West End Quay, The Phillimores (now Academy Gardens), Pavilion Apartments and Phillimore Square (now Thornwood Gardens). His concept work and his understanding of high end, and often cutting-edge, residential design earned these schemes national and international awards.

In addition to his work in the contemporary field, Lester has studied, and lectured on, the history of the English House and is well versed in period interiors, informing his work on many historic and listed buildings. Lester also has a thorough understanding of cabinet making and site construction techniques, materials and processes, and is a passionate advocate for the art of hand drawing.

“I feel very honoured to be the new president of the BIID,” commented Bennett. “There have been so many amazing people who have fulfilled this role in the past, not least Harriet from whom I am taking over, that I am only too aware that these are big boots to fill.

“This will certainly be a challenging year, but I am extremely lucky in that I have the support of a most excellent Council and admin staff who work tirelessly for the benefit of the Institute and its members.

“I look forward to continuing the work on the initiatives we already have in place, to help our members through this difficult time, and to help develop further ideas to benefit and expand our membership.”

Established in 1965, the BIID is the UK’s only professional institute for interior designers.  The Institute sets national professional standards, promotes learning and debate, and champions the value of interior design on the national and international stage.

Main image credit: BIID/KSR Architects

British Institute of Interior Design backs The Brit List 2019

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
British Institute of Interior Design backs The Brit List 2019

The British Institute of Interior Design (BIID) has been confirmed as the industry partner for The Brit List 2019, a leading award ceremony that recognises and celebrates the leading designers, hoteliers and architects operating in Britain… 

For the second year running, the British Institute of Interior Design (BIID) has been confirmed by Hotel Designs as the industry partner for The Brit List 2019, with its soon-to-be president Harriet Forde accepted and announced as a judge for the awards.

The news comes after Hotel Designs interviewed Forde ahead of the start of her presidency, and also after the BIID’s current president, Gilly Craft, sat on the judging panel during last year’s event. “The BIID are the UK’s leading professional body for interior designers and we are delighted to partner with the Brit List for 2019,” said Charlotte Davies, Marketing Manager at the BIID. “Our president Gilly Craft had only good things to say about the process of judging the event and we know our new president Harriet Ford is excited to participate this year.”

The Brit List 2019 will once again platform Britain’s leading interior designers, hoteliers and architects as well as launching the following awards:

  • Interior Designer of the Year
  • Architect of the Year
  • Hotelier of the Year
  • Best in Tech
  • The Eco Award 
  • Best in British Product Design – NEW CATEGORY FOR 2019
  • Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Industry

The winners of last year’s The Brit List, who were crowned at an exclusive drinks evening in London, included Martin Brudnizki from Martin Brudnizki Design Studio, Conor O’Leary from Gleneagles and Robin Sheppard from Bespoke hotels, among many others.

This year’s Award Ceremony for The Brit List 2019 will take place on November 21 at Patch East London.

The Brit List 2019, which is organised and hosted by Hotel Designs, is also an opportunity for leaders and visionaries in the industry to network. “Yet again, we are proud and incredibly privileged to announce our partnership with the BIID for The Brit List 2019, an association which wholeheartedly shares our vision to help promote talented creatives in Britain,” added editor of Hotel Designs Hamish Kilburn.

More information on how to apply, nominate and claim your tickets for The Brit List 2019 will be published on July 2.
Please note that there is NO FEE to nominate and/or apply for The Brit List 2019

Headline Partner: Crosswater

Event Partner: Hamilton Litestat:

Industry Partner: BIID:

In Conversation With: Harriet Forde, the up-coming President of the BIID

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
In Conversation With: Harriet Forde, the up-coming President of the BIID

Editor Hamish Kilburn heads backstage to join Harriet Forde, the interior designer waiting in the wings to become the President of the British Institute of Interior Design (BIID)…

As far as interviewing a leading designer goes, I have never, until now at least, agreed to meet in a converted traditional men’s public toilet in London. Surprisingly, though, The Attendant in Fitzrovia turns out to be the perfect quirky backdrop for such an occasion.

The underground coffee shop instantly tells me two things about the designer before I have even managed to ask my first question. The first being that the soon-to-be president of the British Institute of Interior Design (BIID), Harriet Forde, does things differently. The second is that she has a thing about meeting in outlandish – almost kooky – locations because, and I quote: “Meetings like these should be fun, completely memorable and a bit out there.”

Once I had got over the initial shock of us both sitting, propped up on statement green stools, in front of pristine-white restored urinals while listening to country-folk music, I was keen to understand how Forde plans to wear the shoes of her soon-to-be predecessor, The Brit List 2018 judge, Gilly Craft. “There’s only so much you can do and change in a year,” Forde says. “That’s why all three of us, the president elect (currently myself), the president (Gilly Craft) and past president (Charles Leon) all have an active role – and it really is a three-year commitment. Therefore Gilly, for example, will step down as president in a few months, but she will still be very much involved in decisions and responsibilities – which she never shies away from.”

“British designers especially are not afraid to be experimental and they are arguably more willing to embrace the oddities.” – Harriet Forde.

It has been said time and time again – and here it is once more for good measure – that Britain is an unparalleled design hub. Wearing her BIID hat, Forde is the first judge announced for The Brit List 2019, Hotel Designs’ nationwide search for the top interior designers, hoteliers and architects. Forde has her own opinions on why she believes the UK captures some of the world’s best design talent. “Although manufacturing is lacking in Britain, and it is very niche now, there is still a history of craft,” Forde explains. “Still to this day, while manufacturing abroad is cheaper, there are a handful of creative companies who are still making products from British factories, which is something we should encourage and celebrate more. British design has a cache, of sorts, which can be quirky. British designers especially are not afraid to be experimental and they are arguably more willing to embrace the oddities.”

As well as preparing for her Presidency to commence, Forde is also the founder of Harriet Forde Design, a leading design firm that provides comprehensive interior design services and solutions for bars, restaurants, hotels, commercial properties and residential projects. “I very much try to take it one day at a time, using my diary planner to the best of my ability,” says Forde. “It’s a constant re-evaluation to identify the priority and it’s far too easy to over commit.”


HK: What’s your favourite type of hotel?
HF: I love hotels that have a home-from-home feel, like Kit Kemp’s Firmdale Hotels.

HK: What’s your number-one travel item?
HF: A Cafetière and decaf grounded coffee, don’t ask.

HK: What is your biggest bugbear within the industry
HF: Lack of communication between consultants.

HK: Who was your inspiration:
HF: Olga Polizzi.

HK: What trend is really inspiring you this year?
HF: I am really into marble and to that end I am embarking on learning more about what creates different marble around the world. Italy is running dry with certain types of marble, so other stones are becoming more popular. That and thin porcelain tiles.

HK: What do you hope to bring to your presidency?
HF: What value a BIID membership can bring professionally, personally and creatively.

HK: Sketches or renders?
HF: A render with sketching, but that’s like choosing between humous and guacamole.

HK: What would you do?
HF: I would quite like to be a lighting designer.

It seems as if Forde and I are on the same page when it comes to the limitless possibilities of lighting. “When I started as an interior design, we did our own lighting design as well as specifying the fittings,” she says. “Now, though, with the explosion of LED, it’s such a big world out there full of technical know-how. Therefore, more and more, we are working with lighting designers, on projects because they know what is technically possible and equally impossible.”

Forde’s open approach to not just talking about but really discussing design is refreshing; she is a fountain of knowledge who will make for a strong yet personable president – just like her predecessor. As her choice in venue suggests, our next President of the BIID can spot a design gem from a mile away, which I am sure will stand her in good stead for the phase of her journey.

Main image credit: Harriet Forde Designs

The BIID celebrates successful annual conference

Hamish Kilburn

The British Institute of Interior Design (BIID), which is the proud industry sponsor of The Brit List 2018, held its eighth annual conference exploring many engaging hotel interior design design topics… 

Guests from across the design spectrum, last week attended the eighth British Institute of Interior Design (BIID) conference, Inside Knowledge 2018: The BIID Business Success Conference. Taking place at 30 Euston Square, London, delegates enjoyed a packed programme of diverse, inspirational talks led by industry experts.

This year, the conference featured five sessions on the theme of business success, providing interior designers with real, actionable advice that guests were able to take away from the event and apply straight into their own business.

Following a welcome and introduction from BIID President, Gilly Craft, the audience was captivated by the first thought-provoking session of the day, the Keynote Conversation with Olga Polizzi. Hosted by Studio magazine’s editor, Kate Burnett, this engaging conversation offered key insights into the acclaimed hotelier and interior designer’s career, her design philosophy, personal life, recent projects, career advice and what led her to become one of the country’s most successful designers.

The first business success case study of the day saw interior designer, John Evans, explain to the audience how dividing his company into two distinct brands, John Evans Interior Architecture and Design Ltd (residential) and JE+1 Interiors (retail), transformed his business. He explained how this separation benefitted him and allowed him to retain clients and target different audiences more successfully, with advice for interiors designers on how to balance this in the best possible way.

The lively panel discussion hosted by Daniel Hopwood, ‘Finding My Niche Market,’ provided attendees with valuable insights from BIID members including May Fawzy of boutique interior architecture practice MF Design, who specialises in commercial workplace interiors, April Russell of The Art of Interiors, who blends art with interior design, and Rhian Barker of high-end residential practice Accouter Design, who offers their clients a 15 working day turn around on FF&E Projects. The mix of specialisms allowed for a thought-provoking debate on how to grow professional expertise in a specific market, how it enables businesses to stand out, and the challenges this generates compared to a broader ‘generalist’ approach to interior design.

For the second business success case study of the day, the audience heard from Seana Clarke from leading residential practice Holland Green on how integrating interior design and architecture benefitted her design projects. She shared her experiences of working collaboratively with architectural teams to offer a holistic design service and explained how this can improve interior designers’ value and the relationship with their clients.

Interior Designers were taken on whistle-stop journey through the apps and technologies in use by design studio teams today, in the quick-fire panel discussion, ‘The App That Changed My Life.’ Hosted by Susie Rumbold, each of the seven speakers took it in turns to explain why their favourite app should be part of every interior designers working tool kit, including Kia Stanford on Basecamp, Simone Suss on Instagram, Peter Staunton on Sketchfab, Natalia Shchyra on Kubity, Sarah Ahluwalia on Estimac, Harriet Forde on Pinterest, and Gilly Craft on Xero.

Interior designer and sustainability and wellbeing expert, Elina Grigoriou, discussed how becoming a SKA rating assessor has added to her skills as an interior designer in her business success case study at the conference. She explained why the issue of sustainability is important for interior designers and how her training in this sector has allowed her business to grow.

“The aim of the event is to inspire and motivate interior designers and design professionals, and to provide advice and guidance to support their professional development,” said Gilly Craft, BIID President. “I’d like to thank all of our incredible speakers who gave up their time to share their knowledge, our fantastic supporters who made the event possible, and for all of the attendees who joined us on the day.”

BIID Past President, Charles Leon, closed the day with a panel discussion on ‘The professional design buyers view: a client perspective of working with interior designers.’ With experiences shared from Emma King, Head of Interior Design at InterContinental Hotels Group, Andy McLoughlin, Director Capital Projects, Hilton, and Lester Bennett, BIID Director and Design Consultant, the audience gained a wealth of insight and practical advice to take away for future projects.

Inside Knowledge 2018 was supported by Conference Partner, Tradelinens, and Official Supporters; Craig & Rose, eporta, Havwoods, James Latham, MAISON&OBJET.

Cowshed Spa Babington Hotel

Top 5 stories of the week: Big data, Britain’s best spas and it’s almost show time

800 533 Hamish Kilburn

Editor of Hotel Designs Hamish Kilburn breaks down the major happenings in this week’s headlines…

Lights, camera and action. That’s right, here at Hotel Designs we are counting down the days before the curtain rises on yet another full and fabulous London Design Week. As the drumroll roars ahead of designjunction, Decorex and 100% Design, here are the top five stories of the week.

1) Hotel Designs announces the judges of this year’s Brit List 

It’s a busy time in the Hotel Designs HQ – when is it not? With less than a month for designers, architects, hoteliers and suppliers to get their free entries in, we have announced this year’s esteemed judging panel.

2) Top design hotel spa concepts in Britain

Following on with this month’s ‘Spotlight On’ theme focusing on Hotel Concepts – and with this year’s Brit List fast approaching – Hotel Designs investigates Britain’s best spa concepts…

3) Designing Instagrammable: Big data = big opportunities for hospitality design

Animation of woman looking out a skyline

In part four of Designing Instagrammable, Scott Valentine, the Managing Director of Valé Architects, explains the benefits and potential of analysing big data…

4) Spotlight On: The hotel lobby and furniture

Hotel lobby

Throughout September, Hotel Designs will be shining the spotlight on two areas that together help the other evolve. Namely: the hotel lobby and furniture…

5) It’s showtime, almost! 

Decorex International 2018_Blue Trend Colours_Federico bed from Gillmore Space

Blue is in this season, according the Decorex. In addition to the bold statement that blue will be bold during this year’s London Design Festival, the BIID has also announced its plans around all three of the major shows, of which Hotel Designs is a media partner for all….

BIID announces plans for London Design Festival 2018

550 542 Hamish Kilburn

The British Institute of Interior Design (BIID), which has been named the industry partner of this year’s Hotel Designs’ Brit List, has announced its plans for the three major events during the anticipated London Design Festival…

The British Institute of Interior Design (BIID) will be celebrating London Design Festival 2018 with a number of talks and events across the city. Taking place between 16-23 September, the 16th edition of the festival will feature a programme of world-class design exhibitions with an exciting mix of designers, products, talks, installations and innovations, positioning London as the design capital of the world.

“On behalf of the BIID, we’re delighted to be involved in London Design Festival this year and supporting the creative community in the capital,” BIID President Gilly Craft. “I’m looking forward to what is set to be a fantastic celebration of the quality and diversity of design and hosting some lively, informative discussions alongside our members this September.”

Decorex International 2018 at Syon Park

16-19 September 2018

Decorex has established itself as Europe’s leading interior design event, providing an unparalleled opportunity for interior design professionals to discover the finest in furniture, lighting, textiles, craft and accessories, with over 400 international exhibitors.

On Tuesday 18th September at 11am, BIID President Gilly Craft will be chairing a BIID panel discussion as part of the expert talks programme at Decorex this year. Entitled ‘Deconstructing the brief: the importance of form, function and understanding your client’s vision,’ Gilly will be joined by BIID registered interior designers Henry Prideaux and Beata Heuman, and bespoke furniture maker Neil Stevenson.

Together, the panellists will discuss the essential job of establishing and truly understanding a client brief, exploring the importance of finding out exactly what the client requires at the earliest stage in the design process, and interrogating the brief so that expectations match the results of the finished project.

BIID member Sue Timney will also be taking part in a panel discussion at 11am on Sunday 16th September. Sue will be joining John Allsopp, Reda Amalou and Rodrigo Moreno Masey for a talk on ‘The relationship between the architect and designer,’ exploring how designers and architects can successfully work together. The panellists will be discussing the challenges they have faced and will share invaluable tips and advice to ensure the best working relationships.

Focus/18 at Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour

16-21 September

Bringing together the worlds of interior design, architecture and style, Focus/18 will take place at Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour this year with more than 100 experiential sessions on offer.

On Monday 17th September at 5pm, BIID members Audrey Carden and Eleanora Cunietti of Carden Cunietti will be taking part in a panel discussion with Philip Bershad, president of Phillip Jeffries and The World of Interiors’ social media & network editor, Sophia Salaman. They will be speaking on the importance of creating a design identify while being able to adapt to today’s changing trends.

darc room, Shoreditch, London

19-20 September 2018

Returning for its second year in a new venue, darc room is a curated, creative lighting exhibition for specifiers and designers taking place at the Nicholls & Clarke Building on Shoreditch High Street.

BIID member Cinzia Moretti of Moretti Interior Design Ltd will be speaking as part of the darc room: live programme on Thursday 20th September, which features over 38 speakers talking on a range of lighting related topics. In her 15-minute talk at 1:20pm, Cinzia will be discussing how to improve the perceived value of the interior with good lighting and how this can affect human psychology.

100% Design at Olympia London

19-22 September 2018

This year, 100% Design returns to Olympia with a renewed vision to highlight its position as the unmissable show for design, innovation and emerging talent in London. With a number of new projects and collaborations, the event will also feature at the newly launched West Kensington Design District, attracting architects, specifiers and designers from across the globe.

As part of 100% Design’s highly coveted seminar programme, Talks with 100% Design, BIID President Elect Harriet Forde will be chairing a panel discussion on ‘Starting Your Own Design Business.’ Taking place on Saturday 22nd September from 3.30pm to 4.15pm on the main stage, Harriet will be joined by BIID registered interior designers Emma Hooton and Daniel Hopwood.

The discussion will see panellists explore the necessary steps to building your own design business, using their own personal experience. They will discuss the essential skills and support needed to manage your business as a professional interior designer, how to market yourself in the industry, and the challenges and rewards of starting a business.

designjunction at London’s South Bank

20-23 September 2018

Designjunction returns to London Design Festival this year, moving to the cultural hub of London’s South Bank. The event will take place across three different venues, covering 200 international brands and boutique shops, product launches, outdoor installations, and interactive talks.

On Friday 21st September, BIID President Gilly Craft will be hosting a BIID members’ breakfast and venue tour at designjunction from 8:30 – 10:30am. Providing members with an informal tour and preview of the venue, exhibitors will also be on-hand to discuss their furniture, lighting and retail designs with BIID members in more detail.

BIID member and founder of Zulufish Interiors, Caroline Milns will be taking part in a panel discussion as part of the designjunction seminar programme. Taking place on Friday 21st of September at 1pm, the panel will be chaired by Ben Spriggs, editor of Elle Decoration magazine, with designers Sebastian Cox, Ini Archibong and Magnus Wastberg of Skandium joining the speaker panel. The talk is entitled ‘Craft 2.0 – Fighting For Material Authenticity’, and will see panellists discuss how craftsmanship remains at the core of creativity, whether that’s championing local design or working internationally across cultures to celebrate age-old arts and crafts.


Hotel Designs Brit List announces judging panel

1024 566 Katy Phillips

The Brit List, which celebrates Britain’s top 25 influential interior designers, hoteliers and architects, has announced the judging panel for this year’s awards taking place on November 22 at BEAT London…

Ahead of this year’s anticipated Brit List, which launched last year with the aim to raise the profile of British creatives in the industry, Hotel Designs has confirmed the five judges who together will agree on which designers, hoteliers and architects deserve to be recognised in the 2018 Brit List.

In addition to The Brit List, Hotel Designs has also launched six new awards that will also be presented to the winners on the night The Brit List 2018 is unveiled. These awards are:

  • Inspiration in Design – Innovative use of technology
  • Inspiration in Design – Boutique Hotelier
  • Inspiration in Design – Interior Designer of the Year
  • Inspiration in Design – Architect of the Year
  • The Eco Award
  • Outstanding Contribution to the Hotel Industry

To apply for free to this year’s Brit List, please click here and click the ‘nominations’ tab to apply.
Nominations close on September 16

The Brit List 2018 judges are:

Gilly Craft, President of the British Institute of Interior Design 

As well as the BIID becoming the event’s industry partner, Gilly Craft brings with her a wealth of interior design experience as well as a deep understanding for trends and recognising potential in creatives. “I am very excited to be one of the judges for the Brit List this year,” said Craft on accepting the role as a judge. “It is important that designers have the opportunity to be recognised by their peers in this way.”

Charles Leon, founder of Leon Black Architectural

In 1994, Charles Leon established his own design practice, CLA which specialised in hospitality and residential design. In2010 he was joined by Nicholas Black and in 2014 they formed the partnership Leon Black.

Leon Black specialises in Residential and Hospitality Design and Interior Architecture. Charles, the former president of the BIID, also lectures on design theory, innovation, emotion and the workings of the designer’s mind. He is a guest lecturer at Middlesex University and The Interior Design School.

“I am very honoured to take part as a judge for the Hotel Designs Brit List this year and to have the opportunity to celebrate the breadth and depth of UK designers and hoteliers,” said Leon.

Gerri Gallagher, former associate editor, Tatler

Drawing on 25 years of editorial experience at Tatler with specific emphasis on luxury travel, an extensive global knowledge of five-star hotels and spas and a unique US/UK perspective, Gerri Gallagher is a highly-respected professional who combines a strong creative vision with an astute understanding of what discerning international clients expect.

“I was honoured to be asked to participate in the Hotel Designs Brit List 2018. In my professional capacity as a hotel/spa consultant I work with some of the finest hoteliers and designers in the world,” said Gallagher. “To sit on the panel of judges for this prestigious event is an exciting opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of the industry’s British superstars.”

Lysbeth Fox, founder and director of Fox PR

Lysbeth Fox is the Managing Director of luxury travel, wellness and gourmet agency Fox PR, whose portfolio of clients includes some of the most prestigious in the world. Lysbeth is currently in India building a school with her daughter so was unable to supply a quote for this announcement. I am honoured to be amongst such a prestigious panel of judges –  and for such an important award,” said Fox. “As a longtime advisor and strategist for luxury hotels – it has been my privilege to work with some of the most innovative and stylish destinations in the world.  I am looking forward to reviewing this year’s best of British nominees.”

Hamish Kilburn, editor, Hotel Designs

Overseeing the panel is Hamish Kilburn, the editor of Hotel Designs. Kilburn has reviewed some of the most spectacular hotels around the world and has his finger on the pulse when it comes to the latest happenings in the world of international hotel design.

Together with the strong team behind the brand, he is helping to strengthen Hotel Designs’ events offering including The Brit List, Hotel Summit, Meet Up and the launch of a new event for interior designers and architects that will launch in 2019.

If you, or an individual you know of, deserves to be recognised in this year’s Brit List, please click here and click the ‘nominations’ tab to apply for free.

Once all nominations have been received by the closing date of September 16, the judging panel will select the final 75 most inspirational and influential people in British design, hotels and architecture.

On November 22, designers, hoteliers, architects and key suppliers to the industry will gather at BEAT London where The Brit List 2018 will be unveiled.

Industry suppliers and delegates will be able purchase tickets to attend the awards ceremony, and there are a limited number of sponsorship opportunities available for this prestigious and influential event. For more details contact Phoebe Kasapi by emailing p.kasapi@forumevents.co.uk, or calling 01992 374059.

Hospitality industry comes together at the Hotel Designs Meet Up

1024 683 Katy Phillips

Sold out networking event sees hoteliers, designers and suppliers converge on The London Edition in Fitzrovia

More than 200 hospitality professionals packed into The London Edition last night for the Hotel Designs Meet Up networking event.

Attendees for the evening, sponsored by Scanomat and the Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists, gathered to hear the thoughts of guest speaker Gilly Craft, owner of award winning multi-disciplinary Interior Design and Interior Architecture company Koubou Interiors and President Elect of the BIID (British Institute of Interior Design).

Craft offered insight in to what to look for in an interior design practice when considering them for a project and highlighted what a hotel owner needs to deliberate when putting their trust in to an interior design partner.

The Hotel Designs Meet Up took place at celebrity hotelier Ian Schrager’s The London Edition, Fitzrovia, London and provided guests with the opportunity to network with the biggest names in hospitality, interior design and architecture over drinks and canapés.

Simon Bracken, Co-Founder & Managing Director at Scanomat, said: “We were delighted to be able to sponsor the Hotel Designs Meet Up. What particularly appealed to us was the innovative theme. We have been ‘Raising the Bar’ in terms of consumer beverage experience for quite some time with TopBrewer and it was very encouraging to see and hear the forward thinking members of the hotel community, architects and designers very much looking to the future of experience in this sector.”

Check out our Gallery here:


The next HD Meet Up takes place on July 18th 2018 at the King Street Townhouse in Manchester – click here to register today!

For more information about becoming a Hotel Designs Meet Up sponsor, contact Jennie Lane on 01992 374098 or email j.lane@forumevents.co.uk.