An Evening with Helen Sharman

19 Nov 2019 marked my last big event of the decade, and it did not disappoint. 600 guests poured into the National Maritime Museum for a special astro evening with Dr Helen Sharman, Britain first astronaut. This Saga event couldn’t come at a better time with two space themed exhibitions open at the NMM for the first time – Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2019 and The Moon, an exhibition celebrating our relationship with our nearest celestial neighbour on the 50th anniversary of the Apollo Moon landings.

300 winning Saga Possibilities members arrived at 6.30 with their guests, many of them young children and teenagers to wander around the galleries, setting the stage for the grand finale awaiting them on the Great Map. Meanwhile we scrambled upstairs clipping together 600 conference chairs on the Upper Deck – the largest theatre arrangement ever in the space at the NMM. After their tasters of space exploration the audience ascended to the newly formed auditorium and were inspired by the story of Dr Helen Sharman, first Brit in space who grabbed her place in history after hearing an ad on the radio for hopeful astronauts.

At 9, as most people filed out into Greenwich, 40 lucky guests lingered behind – specially selected in a draw to meet the woman herself. A once in a lifetime opportunity.

Big thank you to Lauren Poacher at Saga for masterminding such a fascinating and uplifting event, it was a pleasure to work on. Also to old friends Palette for serving drinks and sourcing (and placing) 600 chairs for the evening and to SLX who provided impeccable production throughout. Special thanks to my colleague Anna Bunn, who supervised load in the NMM until midnight the night before the show since I was hiding out managing another event!

 

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