EVORians to the Lakes
It all began on 8th March 2022, when Hannah and I went to the PA show at ExCel London. This was a great opportunity to meet new vendors and other PAs and Office Managers. It was there we met the Oliver Myles team. From the get-go they were professional and welcoming, with a keen understanding of our needs.
Fast forward to August, and planning is in full swing – this included getting responses from all EVORians about all aspects of the trip, to booking travel for those coming into the UK, and liaising with Mel from Oliver Myles regularly.
Two months went by in a blur, and suddenly we are all travelling up to the Lake District. In the end, we had 160 people from the UK, the USA, Romania, Germany, Italy, India, and France come over for the trip. We booked out the whole of the Macdonald Old England Hotel & Spa in Bowness-on-Windermere for the three days, so even if you had never met some of your colleagues you knew that if they were in the hotel they must be with EVORA. This really helped staff to start conversations with their colleagues
As soon as we got off the coach and received our room keys, the Afternoon Tea was served. This was a great ‘welcome’ for everyone, especially for our colleagues who were visiting the UK for the first time.
Once done, everyone had free time to explore the area or the spa – people chose whether to go for a walk, a run, a swim in the lake, or take a more relaxing approach of heading down to the spa facilities. The steam room was fabulous, the perfect way to unwind after a long coach trip.
In no time at all, we were gathering for dinner. We had a surprise for everyone during the pre-dinner drinks in the lounge – a live saxophone player! He was brilliant and set the tone for the evening. After a filling dinner, we drew the raffle. We’ve been fundraising for the Fellrunner Village Bus for the previous eight weeks and are thrilled to say that we smashed our targets and raised over £3,100 for them, which the EVORA Board has matched.
The Fellrunner Village Bus is run by volunteers who tackle isolation in the elderly head-on – they’ve set up busses, driven by the volunteers, to reach the elderly in remote locations. This has evolved into a community who look out for one another and will go the extra mile to make sure they are okay. Check out the video from our friends at the Fellrunner.
Our brilliant Marketing team also premiered our brand new company video. This was met with cheers for each person that came on camera. It was a surprise to everyone when they also showcased the blooper real, which had everyone in stitches – you can tell none of us are actors but that we did enjoy filming!
After dinner, the saxophone player teamed up with the DJ to get everyone on the dance floor. Nothing breaks the ice quite like the directors in the middle of a dance circle, busting a move. The DJ played well into the night, so at breakfast the next morning there were some sore heads.
The full English breakfast sorted everyone out though, setting us up for a full day of activities ahead. After a much shorter coach ride this time, we were at the Lakeside Hotel & Spa. By some miracle, the sun was shining, which really added to the magical feeling of the day, as everyone knows there are only about four sunny days in the Lakes each year.
We had eight teams of 20 people rotating on a range of activities, including axe throwing, archery, birds of prey, canoeing, bush craft, and the favorite, duck herding. For many, it was a day of firsts, as well as a brilliant way of meeting other EVORIans and bonding over the hilarity which is duck herding.
Canoeing was also a firm favorite – on the calm waters of Windermere, with the mountains behind and the sun shining, nothing felt further from the hustle and bustle of London.
The bush craft was an interesting mix. The teams were split, with one half creating a fire and the other making scones, cream, butter, and jam, coming together in the end to cook the jam and scones. I’ve been told that the final scones were actually very delicious, even though they looked unusual!
This hotel also served an amazing buffet lunch – the food was incredible and there was a whole station for vegetarians and vegans. The staff at the hotel were shocked at how many of our staff are vegan and at the large queue that formed at that table. In the afternoon, the hotel provided us with an afternoon treat of scrumptious cakes. The cream cake looked amazing and the vegan coffee cake was brilliant.
Full of cake and tired from a busy day, we took the ferry back to the hotel. Gliding through Lake Windermere, with the dramatic landscape surrounding us, on such a perfect day, really took your breath away.
Back at our hotel, it was time to get ready for the formal dinner. Everyone dressed to the nines, with one person asking if we can make every Monday at work formal dress! Everyone met for a pre-dinner drink and then we went down to dinner.
After a delicious 3 course menu, we had the EVORA Excellence Awards. Our own Dale hosted it, and though it was his first time public speaking he did amazing – we can’t wait to see him on the mic next time. Seeing all the various reasons why the six finalists won their awards was wonderful – excellence at EVORA can be measured in a multitude of ways, and with 73 nominations put forward, it’s humbling to see how excellent as a company we are.
Huge thank you to Emma, Tom, and Samantha for coming along and joining us on Tuesday. As representatives of the investors, it was great hearing you talk of the opportunities and positive changes on the horizon.
In a blink of an eye, we were getting on the coaches on Wednesday to head back. I was grateful to be on the later coach, so I had time to get some souvenirs and fudge before heading back. The Lakes are an incredible destination and it was amazing to be able to meet in person so many EVORIans. It’s rare to have a company caring so much for its people and to see the importance in us getting together and bonding. The stories coming out of the trip now will be told for years to come, with friendships created and bonds strengthened.
Thank you so much Chris and the board for allowing us the amazing opportunity to come together like this. As a hybrid company, we forget just how many we are. Yet seeing us all in one room left many of us awestruck. EVORA has come a long way from the days of Chris, Ed and Paul working in their kitchen, and we cannot wait to see what happens next for all of us.