#Moneypenny15: 15 of 15
February 25, 2015
At long last, event 15 of 15 came – the biggest one of all. Since August 2014, the countdown in the playroom had stirred excitement, ticking down to 7pm on 7th February 2015.
For so long, no one knew why – until a very special invitation landed on everyone’s doorsteps one Saturday morning. The cat was out of the bag and from that point on, the playroom and tea stations were filled with chatter about dresses, tans, hair and make-up (and that was just the men!).
There had never been so much excitement at Moneypenny before – the anticipation definitely topped any Christmas party or race day that had gone before. Twitter and Instagram were flooded with #Moneypenny15 updates of dress purchases and guesses of what was in store. One rumour that stood out was that of an ACDC tribute band!
When 7th February came, over 300 Moneypenny staff arrived at Chester’s Queen Hotel dressed beautifully in black tie. The instant they stepped off the coaches, they were greeted by the sounds of a twelve piece samba band (Karamba Samba), creating a buzzing atmosphere outside the hotel – which had our ‘Tully bird’ logo projected across the front of it! (Batman, eat your heart out).
Past the flambeaus, down the red carpet and through the two giant Tully birds, Moneypenny staff were welcomed with a champagne and canapé reception, while those who were enjoying the hotel’s Italian terrace garden enjoyed the beats of Karamba Samba a little longer!
Two fantastic magicians (paulrobertsmagic.com and marshallmagic.co.uk) mingled through the clusters of guests, performing card tricks before everyone was called to dinner in the Colonnades to the sound of Uptown Funk. Once 320 guests had found their seats, our MD Glenn took to the stage to welcome everyone – the night had officially begun!
It wasn’t long before another surprise and as the personalised Moneypenny desserts were served, an unexpected character grabbed the mic and everyone’s attention with it. A humble waiter, it seemed, was embarrassing himself on his last day by request of his colleagues, and began to (rather feebly) sing a song.
Whispers and gasps could be heard around the room as guests looked on, puzzled and amused by his bashful actions. To put him out of his misery, the “head chef” appeared and took the mic, apologising for the waiter’s behaviour. Before anyone could have guessed what was going on, out blasted the backing music to Bryan Adams’ Summer of ‘69 and the duo burst into their terrific tenor set, joined seamlessly by another “waiter” who had blended in all evening serving drinks. Everyone was on their feet (some dancing on chairs!) in awe of the incognito waiters. The atmosphere was electric!
From Cee Lo Green to Take That, the trio rocked the room. This surprise act made the perfect segway into the real highlight of the night – the Moneypenny awards. As the waiters left the stage, the giant LED wall came to life and a recognisable voice announced the start of the awards (Marc Silk, voice of Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway, no less). Directors Rachel, Ed, Glenn and Joanna were cheered on stage and the categories were announced: Going the Extra Mile for your Team, Going the Extra Mile for your Clients, Just Because, Unsung Hero, the Moneypenny Love and the Special One. Winners were a constant flow on and off stage, having their moments of fame and their photographs taken.
Just as everyone thought it was over, an additional award was announced: the Ultimate PA. Undoubtedly, the only certainty of ‘15 of 15’ was the element of surprise! Unlike the previous awards, which were nominated and voted for on our intranet Moogle, the Ultimate PA was to be a live phone vote. The nominees appeared on the huge LED screen with a phone number for each – the audience had just two minutes to choose, dial, and vote for the person they wanted to see win the ultimate award.
As the clock timed out a gold envelope was handed to the directors while hundreds of Moneypennies waited in suspense. Third and second positions were revealed, but when it came to announcing the winner, there was yet another twist! As Ed revealed the first position, 32 magnums of prosecco appeared as if by magic and were placed on each table, and Ed announced “you’re all winners!”
This set the scene for the rest of the night, as the DJ started his set and everyone made their way to the starlit dance floor. Selfies, shots and midnight snacks pursued until the coaches came to collect all of our Cinderellas and Prince Charmings from the ball.
Now, over two weeks on, it’s still the highlight and the talk of all 15 events:
“We’ll all be talking about it for years to come!”
“We felt like celebrities when we arrived.”
“It was amazing! I loved the waiters, they made the night!”
“Absolutely incredible… Thank you soooo much.”
“Loved every minute, it was just amazing.”