Paragon 'An Evening with the Stars' for BBC Children In Need Gala Dinner
15 July 2015

A day in the life of a Paragon intern…

An Evening with the Stars in aid of BBC Children in Need is one of our many events throughout the year that I was lucky enough to be part of during my internship year at Paragon. The event is a year long planning process that culminates in one night of qlitz, glamour, fine food and entertainment in a spectacular setting. There are 1,000 lucky guests and the invite is every bit VIP with red carpet, black tie, champagne on arrival and unique performances. Here is my experience of the event, hour by hour at An Evening with the Stars 2014. Enjoy…

9am – I arrived at the office in Richmond for a quick energy boosting breakfast of porridge and green tea and to check emails for any last minute changes to the guest list

9:30am – I made sure the courier had arrived at the venue with all of the things needed for the evening’s event including signage, spare tickets, iPads and stationary that I had prepared and collated the weeks before

10:00am – I set off with the obligatory Paragon LBD (little black dress) and headed to the train station

11:15am – I arrived at the stunning Grosvenor House Hotel and took part in an event team briefing running through the plan for the day leading up to the evening event

11:30pm – We walked around the venue and talked through the set up for the evening – an eye for detail is important to spot if anything is missing and with all the events personnel briefed we can all help

12:30pm – We grabbed a quick lunch break of wraps and salads courtesy of The Grosvenor House Hotel to keep us fuelled. Thank you!

12:45pm – I connected all Paragon iPads to the Wifi and ensured that all guest lists, table plans and event details were uploaded for the hostesses so they are ready to check guests in

1:30pm – We walked around the tables and made sure that all place settings were set up correctly, all brochures were out, pens were on tables and all silent auction slips were on seats

2:30pm – We ensured all Paragon and other sponsor’s branding was set up correctly and in the right place

3:15pm – This was the exciting bit – I had to greet celebrity performers, which last year included Jack Pack, Jon Culshaw, Tony Hadley and stars from Strictly Come Dancing and lead them to their dressing rooms. How glamorous!

3:30pm – The sound checks and rehearsals took place, it was all starting to come together!

5:30pm – Time to go and get changed and glammed up ahead of the evening’s festivities, LBD at the ready

5:45pm – I handed out iPads to the hostesses and ran through their brief to ensure they all knew what they were doing – lots of responsibility for such a big event

6:00pm – Pudsey and Blush arrived and were shown to their positons to greet and entertain guests as well as take as many selfies as possible. The guests loved them

6:15pm – Now the fun began, I was at the VIP drinks reception entrance to greet guests, help them with their table numbers and show them through to their reception and ensure they have a glass of sparkling in hand on arrival

6:30pm – Guests began to arrive and we were ready and raring to go

7:15pm – We were on hand to help answer any questions about timings for the evening and 15 minutes later the guests were seated for dinner

7:30pm – I took my position within the ballroom to oversee the service and help any guests that may need it. By this point everyone was having a wonderful time and some of the ball gowns were stunning – it was also great to spot celebrities mingling about!

7:40pm – Entertainment from Jon Culshaw started on stage and a short video was shown to remind us all of what the evening was all about and what a great cause Children in Need is – so impressive!

7:50pm – After a short explanation the reverse auction began with the last ones standing donating spectacular amounts of money to have their photo taken with some of the evenings biggest stars

8:00pm – Starters of Scottish salmon “Mi-Cuit”, charred Clarence Court quail egg, pickled cucumber, herb mayonnaise, pea shoots or a Salad of goat’s cheese, red and golden beetroot, herb oil, crostini were served. It looked incredible.

8:05pm – I started to circulate and collect any raffle tickets. The guests all enjoyed their starters

8:15pm – Jack Pack performed on stage and really got the evening started with a great act that gets everyone singing along

8:30pm – Mains of a fillet of Aberdeen Angus beef, grain mustard sauce, potato and jerusalem artichoke gratin, roast seasonal vegetables, stem broccoli or roast sweet potato, red onion and taleggio tart, smoked garlic and chive butter sauce, broccoli and glazed carrots were served. Wow fillet of beed for over a thousand people, that was impressive and the response was amazing

9:00pm – Strictly dancers and their partners wowed the audience with three stunning performances of the Waltz, The Salsa and the Pasa Doble. It was great to see Strictly close up after watching it for years on TV

9:30pm – I had a quick walk around the ballroom to collect all reverse auction winners so that they could have their photos taken up in the Rink Bar

9:35pm – Dessert of black forest gâteau, kirsch cherries, almond croquant ice cream or fresh fruit salad or cheese and biscuits was served as the final spectacular course

10:05pm – Martin Bayfield was called to the stage to begin the Grand Auction. Time to get ready and be on the lookout for the winning bidders to ensure all of their details were collected

10:55pm – I was on the stage as help to hand out the winning raffle prizes

11:00pm – The raffle draw took place. So many fabulous prizes!

11:05pm – Jon Culshaw headed to the stage to end the event, thank everyone for their generosity and introduce the final act of the evening… Tony Hadley

11:10pm – Tony Hadley performed and got everyone on their feet with Spandau Ballet classics like ‘Gold’. The dance floor had an amazing atmosphere, what a night

11:40pm – Tony Hadley ended his performance and the DJ took over

12:00am – We went to the celebrities dressing rooms and walked them out to their taxi’s, ensured the drivers were there and ready to go

1:00am – The bar and disco finished to much of the guests disappointment

1:30am – We ushered guests towards the exit and helped organise any taxis that were needed

2:00am – I met the rest of the Paragon team for a well-deserved glass of sparkling and to put our feet up. Well done team. It was a fantastic evening and the Paragon events team ran the event seamlessly. I was so impressed and so were our guests! Loved every minute.

 Take a look at BBC Children in Need ‘An Evening with the Stars’ event which has just gone on sale for 2015!

Written By Tom