Rugby Hospitality with Rugby Legends

Rugby Hospitality with Rugby Legends

Sunday February 08, 2015

Hospitality Photography prior to the Wales vs England International

It was a cold but sunny day on Friday 6th February 2015 and the Six Nations Championship was about to open with Wales facing the old enemy England at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, UK.  I was working with Paul Fielding of Legends Hospitality at his pre-match event in the Parc Thistle Hotel, just off Queen Street in the centre of the city.

With news of tailbacks and delays on the M4 as traffic poured into Wales, I left my home, drove into Cardiff and, quite surprisingly, was parked within 30 minutes.  It was only 1:30pm and the game didn't kick off until 8pm, but I always like to be in the city early.  Before an international, I enjoy walking the streets and photographing the building atmosphere.  The bright red Welsh shirts and scarfs were in stark contrast to the white shirts adorned with the red rose of England.  Cardiff is rather unique in sporting terms as the main stadium is in the centre of the city.  This helps create a far more intense and exciting atmosphere and it is wonderful to see thousands of supporters of both teams, side by side packed into pubs, coffee shops and McDonalds.

The Legends Hospitality event started at around 4pm in the wonderfully pictureque Parc Thistle Hotel.  The hotel has an amazing history, not only becuase if was where my mother and father had their wedding recption, but also because they have kept the essence of the Victorian, French-inspried architecture and tastefully added in modern convienience.  Some of my close rugby loving friends from the Baque region of Spain had stayed there on many occasions and I have fond memories of nights in the bar celebrating another Welsh victory and three Grand Slams.  The two rooms in which the event was being held were fabulous, with a large circular, coloured glass window in the ceiling of the bar area.

The Legends Hospitality event was for around 90 people with guest appearance from one of the best full backs ever to play the game, JPR Williams, and one of the twinkletoed backs from the magical 1970s Welsh team, Steve Fenwick.  Steve attended my old school, St Martins in Caerphilly, and during his talk even mentioned my local club Llantwit Fardre.  I also got to meet Clive Griffiths who won his only Welsh cap 36 years ago as a rare replacement for JPR.  As the beer flowed and the food was served. I took some photos of the rugby legends with the guests and we were then treated to some recollections from Steve and a Q&A with JPR.

Paul Fielding then held a raffle to raise money for two local charities.  The £680 raised was split between Touch Trust and Kyle's Goal.  Thank you to everyone who contributed and the raffle winners walked away with signed rugtby shirts, books and DVDs.

To finish off, we were treated to beautiful singing from the Treorchy Male Voice Choir.  There were rousing, spine-tingling Welsh hymns followed by everyone in the room joining in to sing the Tom Jones classic Delilah.  The well-watered, well-fed and well-entertained guests then filtered away to the stadium and the furnace-hot cauldron of a Wales vs England game.  A large group of us stayed in the Parc Thistle and watched the game on a big screen.  The result was neither as expected nor what we wanted as England outplayed Wales to secure a deserved victory.

Hospitality events like this are special and with the bars and restaurants of Cardiff full to overflowing, this private function in the Parc Thistle was a haven.  I'm now looking forward to the Ireland game on 14th March.

All the photographs from Friday's event can be seen on my website.

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