My Event World - Simon Swift

Simon Swift, assistant secretary and head of catering at Marylebone Cricket Club, on training for triathlons and swapping places with our very own Jeremy King.

My Event World - Simon Swift
My Event World - Simon Swift

I got into the event industry because being passionate about food, wine and service means I couldn't imagine a better industry to be involved, especially with the challenges that live events present. I love the fact that even the most meticulous of planning can be thrown into disarray in seconds. It's always a case of keeping a cool demeanour while you put contingency planning into overdrive. I also enjoy the immense camaraderie that we have in this sector.   

I have worked here since 2002 and have been involved in the event industry since 1989. 

I was attracted to this particular role because Lord's is recognised across the globe as the home of cricket, and Marylebone Cricket Club, the owner of Lord's, is guardian of the laws and spirit of cricket. It is a privilege to be part of such heritage and helping to develop the ground.

Not many people know that I am actively training for four triathlons in 2010. I got the bug a couple of years ago and I'm trying to better my time with each event. As they say, ‘every second counts'. 

My worst experience at an event was many years ago, and it has stuck with me as much as I'm sure it has stuck with the ‘happy couple'. In my eagerness to get a wedding party seated, I mistakenly introduced the couple as Simon and Simon rather than Simon and his pretty wife Simone. The room roared and I can't help thinking that they really will never forget that special day.

If there's one thing I have learned it's plan for every eventuality. 

The best event I've been involved in is without doubt The Ashes victory last year. The energy throughout the ground was mesmerising, from the atmosphere in corporate hospitality and the private boxes to the anticipation in the Pavilion. It was a very exciting event and has stood us in good stead with clients wanting to host their corporate and private events with us. 

If I could do it all over again I would have loved to have been involved in the 2003 Rugby World Cup in Sydney.

The one thing I can't stand is mediocrity. If you are going to do anything, put your heart and soul into it.

Outside of work I spend my time road running, open-water swimming or cycling. If I'm not doing a triathlon I love eating out and making the most of what London has to offer. Our restaurant scene is so buoyant and vibrant, it's like a playground for a self-confessed foodie like me.   

The one event I will never miss is the RBS Six Nations, England v Wales or Scotland.     

The next 12 months will be very exciting at Lord's. For only the second time in the 195-year history of the home of cricket, we will be hosting three Test matches this season. 

If I could switch places with anyone else in the industry it would be Jeremy King or David Quainton, but for one day only though. I'd love to see the initiatives and forthcoming trends and perhaps get a VIP invite or two.     

If I ruled the event industry I would create one formalised body that recognises training and skills development. It's about time that the event industry held the same kind of presence as the leisure tourism sector.

 


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