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Students organise and run successful charity dinner

Event Management, Hospitality and Catering skills were recently put to the test, when students of Eastleigh College hosted and prepared a gourmet three course dinner at a charity event held at the award-winning Botley Park Hotel.

The successful evening was planned, organised and marketed by second year Event Management students, while first and second year Catering students had the responsibility of creating the dishes for the evening menu, including a cured mackerel starter, a supreme of chicken main and a chocolate, pistachio and raspberry desert. The exquisite meal was followed by a fundraising raffle and silent auction, with a weekend loan of a Ford Mustang up for grabs, in order to raise money for the Wessex Cancer Trust. The successful evening came to a close with guests enjoying music from local 60’s and 70’s band, ‘The Sultan Sheiks’.

The charity dinner, of over 160 guests, was the first event organised and ran by students of this scale to take place in a location outside of the Eastleigh College facilities. Afterwards, Hospitality and Catering Tutors, Greg Cheeseman and Sue Lyons, explained, “The event was the largest to date for Eastleigh College students. It was an opportunity for the students to make their course relevant and to experience what a related field in the industry is really like, as well as building their confidence. Students were able to see what they can achieve with hard work and focus.”

Despite the scale of the challenge, students successfully maximized the opportunity to showcase their talents and professionalism. Following the event, guest Michael Wright, Chairman of the Hampshire Fare commented, “The students did a great job and the event ran like clockwork. All the theory in the world is no substitute for practical experience, and what a wonderful opportunity this was to give the students a taste of the real thing.”

The charity event not only helped students from both departments to fulfil their current course, but also provided them with the opportunity to gain the experience, skills and confidence in the relevant industry they hope to enter.

Level 3, Event Management student William was one of the event’s project managers involved in the thorough planning prior to the event. Following the evening, William, who hopes to begin a career in events, said “The event taught me to solve problems on a large scale. Overall, we have put so much time and effort into this event, it was great to see it all come together so successfully.” 

Second year Hospitality and Catering student Rebecca commented, “It was so satisfying to see the finished product after all our hard work; to see our team serving the food to the large amount of attendees, was really impressive. For me, this event has really built my confidence and experience, something that I certainly think will help me to enter this industry.”

Other attendees at the event included local businesses such as Great British Biscotti, Elegant Wines, Harvest Fine Foods, Owton’s Butchers as well as representatives of the Wessex Cancer Trust, parents of the College students and regular East Avenue restaurant customers. The evening successfully managed to raise an incredible total of £2,295.90 for the Wessex Cancer Trust, money that will be invested into research, equipment, nurses and supporting cancer patients and their families and friends.

 To find out more about Event Management, Hospitality and Catering courses at Eastleigh College please click here.