Christmas Reception 2010

First things first – if you couldn’t make it last night you will not have received a FREE PRIZE DRAW CARD! This will not be a large draw so it’s worth a go and there are two prizes: 2 nights B&B at Mandarin Oriental, Geneva and 2 nights B&B at the Villa Magna, Madrid. The prizes have been put up by Nigel Bolding, MD of The World’s Best Hotels. Nigel was one of the cyclists to rode across France for ColaLife in September and is ColaLife’s biggest fundraiser. To enter the draw email with ‘ColaLife Giveaway’ as the subject.

Last night’s (1/12/10) event was fab except for the bit where I completely lost my place in my speaking notes! Thanks to everyone who came. @DanceDrDance (aka Dr Peter Lovatt) was the highlight for most people as he led us all in the creation of a dance for ColaLife. More on this below.

First, I have an obligation to those who couldn’t be there last night to convey the atmosphere. The best way I’ve come up with to do this, is with these mini video clips. To watch them, click one play button at a time. To create the buzz of last night, click on several at the same time! The question asked of all these lovely people was (usually): Who are you, what do you do and why are you here? Thanks to Luke who was on the Flip video and everyone else for entering into the spirit . . .

Mark Ellis, Jude Habib & Eric Whelan of sounddelivery Karl Wilding Amanda Jones Victoria Newell
. . .
Conor Ritchie Catherine Best Rebecca Green Peter Lovatt
. . .
Dennis Tretter Mike Dent Philipp Engel David Wilcox
. . .
Joana Ferreira Faizah Faheem Joanna Knowles .
. . .

David Wilcox, the cognoscenti’s social reporter of choice and long term ColaLife supporter, did his usual magic with his iPhone and captured ‘The Dance’. The first video below captures the assembled throng under the direction of Dr Peter Lovatt as he takes us through the routine. Peter is a dancer turned psychologist, who now heads the Dance Psychology Lab at the University of Hertfordshire. Peter has appeared on Strictly Come Dancing a couple of times talking about the psychology of dance.

At this point, thinking ahead, David realised that there is no way people were going to work out the dance from that video, so we asked Peter to run through the dance again in a not so quiet corner with a bunch of randomly chosen volunteers. This is how it goes:

An interesting feature of the event was that, typically, no one knew more than three or four other people. The ColaLife network is a virtual network which doesn’t get to come together face to face very often. I am sure some interesting links were made that will lead to other things.

Just to complete the picture for those who weren’t there. The evening was introduced by Simon Robertshaw of Sand Box who had kindly lent us their space at the BFI for the event. The Sand Box space includes a huge expanse of wall which is covered contiguously by three HD Projectors. Sand Box use this huge display area with their RED application which is one resource they employ to support their clients in innovative and collaborative ways of working. Through the evening this wall displayed ColaLife animations, in two windows, and pictures taken over the last two years, in a third window, which created a great effect.

Jane and I took a few minutes to talk about our recent Zambia Trip which was funded by the cycle ride across France in September. We described the foundation for the pilot plan that we are now developing with the appropriate stakeholders in Zambia.

The background music was provided by a playlist which shuffled through tracks by The Mulemena Boys (Zambia); Amadou & Mariam (Mali) and Tinariwen (Mali).

We are grateful to Coca-Cola and SABMiller who provided soft drinks and beer for the event.

Although we did not design the event as a fund raiser we do expect to make a surplus of a little over £500 on the event. Thanks to all of those who donated when buying tickets and on the night.

I’d like to thank all those who worked to make this reception possible. In particular Tom Lee who has been working flat out and on a voluntary basis over the last two months to organise the event. To Ellie Stoneley who helped to market the event and who, like Tom, was a brilliant relationship maker on the night. I’d also like to thank Bridget Moyen who organised the volunteers who helped on the night and the volunteers themselves: Christopher Villa, Emma Berry, Faizah Faheem, Jay Shukla, Luke Berry, Martin Karran, Matt Furniss, Philipp Engel, Sam Berry and Sara O’Keeffe. And Dennis, our summer intern, who braved the snow to come back all the way from Germany (but to Jane’s chagrin didn’t get time during the festivities to get the book-keeping back up to date!) Thank you all very much. Good gig!

I now need to pick up on the suggestion that we arrange a summer fund raiser. Now who was it who offered to help with that?

The ColaLife Dance


  1. Christmas Reception 2010: Last night’s (1/12/10) event was fab except for the bit where I completely lo… #charity

  2. So proud to have been a part of a wonderful evening #ColaLife #dance & event reviewed by @51m0n – go on do the dance!

  3. Simon's blog on @colalife event – must watch fab shapes on the dancefloor courtesy of @DanceDrDance (spot @steve4good)

  4. Fabulous summary of a truly remarkable night … not the usual ‘networking’ event that many of us stumble along to this time of year but an inspiring, enlightening, humbling night and hugely enjoyable in no small part thanks to Peter Lovatt and the ColaLife dance (which I’ve been practising all day).

    Standing at the back of the room and seeing so many people rapt with fascination listening to the ColaLife story and the beginnings of the Zambia pilot it really was incredible to think back to a day in May over 2 years ago when you called and said, “I’ve put this idea up on Facebook” … hurrah for you Simon and for Jane and all you’ve achieved and hurrah for Tom Lee and all his amazing hard work making last night take shape – and a group of volunteers who had never met each other before but ended up great friends at the end of the night.

    Looking forward to the Summer Do … and to AidPods finding their way out across the world delivering hope to people who so need it.

  5. RT @Claire0h: Simon's blog on @colalife event – must watch fab shapes on the dancefloor courtesy of @DanceDrDance

  6. Great event – fabulous dancing – inspirational talks….

    Summer fundraiser – that was me!

    Simon lets talk – and anyone else who is interested in getting involved can direct message me @lucyinnovation

  7. @traceytodhunter Did you make to the ColaLife Reception on Weds? If you did, sorry we didn't get time for a chat . . .

  8. Congratulations to everyone on an amazing night, so sad I couldn’t be there, but Simon’s post has captured in beautifully, and special mention for Ellie Stonely who continues to inspire me with her energy and enthusiasm for the things she believes in.
    Many hugs to you all.


  1. […] Lovatt. We are grateful to Sand Box who allowed to use their space in the British Film Institute. >> Full report on the Christmas 2010 Reception >> Christmas Reception | Gandalf & the Hobbit discuss […]