UNISON, the public services trade union has been a client for quite a few years. We work on their two largest events, their Annual Health Conference and their Annual National Delegate Conference.

The UNISON Annual Health Conference is a big event, 1200 delegates and 50 exhibitors for three days. It moves around the country using a different location every year. Newcastle, Liverpool, Manchester, Harrogate, Glasgow – name a big city and its likely we’ve worked there. In 2014 the conference was held on our doorstep here in Brighton at the Brighton Centre.


I’m not going to talk about the political aspect of the Conference, if you are interested there is lots of information available on line and in the press. Suffice to say, these delegates do difficult jobs in difficult conditions and I admire their dedication and resilience to their jobs. It can’t be easy working on the front line like these guys do under the conditions imposed on them. Hats off to you all.

We like working at the Brighton Centre, not because we’re based here (but that helps), not because we’re preferred suppliers to the Brighton Centre (but that also helps) but because the staff are all so great. Our event manager Michael is a great guy, very easy going and helpful. Always looking for solutions rather than putting obstacles in your way.


Today (Wednesday 16th April 2014) is the third and final day of Conference, its mid afternoon and conference is slowly winding down. The delegates are still in session but behind the scenes it’s a hive of activity as the various different contractors start to prepare for the de-rig. Was it only five days ago that everything arrived on the back of lorries and was unloaded? All that planning and preparation, all the lifting and carrying, the checking and box ticking that took two days to build a Conference for 1200 – that was only five days ago?


It seems to me that when you are working on an event time sort of stands still, you enter a nether world, a world removed from everyday life. You eat, drink and sleep the event, it becomes all encompassing and then just as quickly as it started it’s over and you’re spat out the other side somewhat dazed and confused and possibly a little bruised. Life revolves around the event, every conversation is about the event, news from the outside world filters in but is never really digested. Family, friends, hobbies and even your favourite TV show all take a back seat for the duration of the event. A little family of contractors comes together for a few long days and then the bubble bursts and normal life resumes.

That’s how it feels now, right at this moment. We can see the finish line but there’s no point rushing towards it, rather let it come to you in its own good time. The friendships and alliances that were made will go into hibernation until the next show. Soon we will emerge back into the world, blinking at the sun (if we finish early enough) to enjoy a couple of beers, to catch up on the news and in my case to mow the lawn and fix a dripping tap.


1200 delegates – they have travelled from across the UK to be here in Brighton. 1200 delegates who have absolutely no clue about the effort that went in to making their event a success. 1200 delegates who danced and partied the night away while I shivered on the door checking tickets. 1200 delegates who, if introduced to the men and women in black polo shirts scurrying around behind the scenes would probably stop, shake our hands and thank us for all of our hard work and commitment to the job.

So, thank you UNISON for the continued work, its always fun, its always a bit of a challenge and its always rewarding. And thank you to my fellow contractors, the invisible few, who behind the scenes, scurry and toil to make this event such a great event.

Its been a privilege working with you again.

Cheers guys!