BTS Dinner - 2011 surpasses all others
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SOCIETY PAGE BTS Dinner - 2011 surpasses all others May 2011
TunnelTalk reporting
Porter Tun hall packed to capacity

Porter Tun hall packed to capacity

It was a bumper turnout for the 23rd staging of the BTS Annual Dinner last Friday evening (6 May) With a total 660 guests it was the biggest event ever. So big in fact that there was no room for the after dinner dance floor, which was missed by many, or for the usual pay-for bar. Tables filled the entire Porter Tun hall of the Brewery in London, to the point of maximum capacity. The bar for the after dinner entertainment was set up in an adjoining room.
The grand turnout is indicative of the buzz that the start of Crossrail is having on the industry in the UK at the moment. Along with other tunnelling projects underway, including the Lee Tunnel as the start of the Thames Tideway CSO project for Thames Water, the cable tunnels in London and water tunnels in cities around the country, Crossrail is drawing engineers in from far and wide.
Ladies BTS night out

Ladies BTS night out

Some back home in the UK from projects overseas in the Far East and Australia, others recruited in from the USA and European countries, and others on business trips to the UK and coincidentally on the week of the BTS Dinner. There was a wonderful feeling of excitement and reunion about the event last Friday and so good to see friends and colleagues all gathered here in London from around the world.
Where this time last year it was touch and go for the Crossrail with guest speaker Rob Holden, now resigned CEO of the project unable to anticipate the project’s need to survive the punishing spending review of the new UK Government in Whitehall, the end of 2010 saw the first major tunnelling contracts awarded to a wide spread of UK and major international contractors.
Bekaert host, John Greenhalgh, and guests

Bekaert host, John Greenhalgh, and guests

Most, if not all, were represented at the Dinner last week with many a table sub-titled Crossrail.
To the contractors, and the many design engineering firms that have been working on the project now for the past two and more years, was added the material suppliers and subcontractors anticipating a share of the massive contributions that will realise the mega urban undertaking. TunnelTalk was hosted at the Dinner again this year by Bekaert, many thanks to John Greenhalgh, Bekaert Sales Manager the UK and Ireland.
TunnelTalk also once again sponsored a professional photographer for the event.
Corporate entertainment

Corporate entertainment

Photos taken during the evening are available for viewing at the on-line gallery and copies of your favourites can be ordered on line via the secure order form. A gallery of photos taken during the 2010 Dinner are also available for viewing.
After a fine champaign reception hosted by Halcrow, the guests in their black tie finery (except for some who preferred the casual day wear) made their way upstairs to the Tun dinning hall where the menu cards, sponsored by Hunter Personnel, highlighted an unusual pork and duck combination for the main course.
John Scoley, organiser of success

John Scoley, organiser of success

The after-dinner entertainment started off with Master of Ceremony, John Scoley, who again chaired the Dinner subcommittee and organised the highly successful event, called the room to order in his best town-crier voice and introduced BTS Chairman Bob Ibell who welcomed one and all and especially the all important wives and partners for whom the Dinner was originally organised 23 years ago to include in their partners' predominantly mans-world industry. Following the upbeat report on the activities of the Society, broadcaster and comedian Sandi Toksvig entertained the gathering with very funny observations about tunnels and the tunnelling industry from the point of view of the uninitiated. Hearty rounds of laughter greeted the way in which the tunnelling industry and those in it can be spoofed.
The party went on into the small hours of the night and the feedback was of a thoroughly enjoyable evening. There is no doubt about the positive effect a major project has on the local industry and its professional society members. Just as in the days of the Channel Tunnel and then Heathrow Express, JLE and CTRL, at a time when the BTS meetings on the third Thursday of each month in the Telford Theatre at the ICE had either standing room only or video link overflow into the room next door, the BTS is enjoying a rising star. There is much to accomplish in the year to come and ahead of next year's Dinner when again the maximum capacity of the Brewery is likely to be tested.
See you all again in May 2012!
  • Sandi Toksvig in full flow!

    Sandi Toksvig in full flow!

  • Business networking

    Business networking

  • Paul Hoyland

    Bob Ibell, Chair of a buoyant BTS

BTS Dinner 2010 - an affair of mixed sentiment - TunnelTalk, May 2010
Elections and mega projects - TunnelTalk, May 2010
Preparing the ground for Crossrail - TunnelTalk, August 2010
Crossrail awards tunnelling contracts - TunnelTalk, Dec 2010
Rob Holden to leave Crossrail - TunnelTalk, Jan 2011

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