How Who London’s 2020 Has Been So Far

We’re half way through 2020 already and so we thought of a pick-me-up recall on our super first half of the year. We had a lot of brilliant social events and we share below about them whilst we look forward to more like these in the future.

So we started off January with our the best yet January Introductions event hosted by Alex and Carole, where everyone who answered our post-event survey chose “Yes” for “Are you pleased you came to this Who London event?” We had this fully-booked event in a spectacular location: 450 year-old Somerset House. Somerset House in the Strand is steeped in history and built around a courtyard with beautiful terraces. We had a private section of Pennethorne’s bar and the atmosphere was vibrant. Pennethorne’s bar is in the New Wing of Somerset House, has high ceilings and a stylish décor, and just outside was the 20 year old Ice Rink with its 40ft Christmas tree. We enjoyed a selection of bar snacks – crisps, bread, nuts and olives and socialised for hours over drinks. The event was planned for 2.5hrs but ran much longer as everyone was having a great evening so Pennethorne’s gave us more time to enjoy our event.

“Good, buzzy atmosphere; no-one left out.” “Excellent venue good turnout of members. Very sociable event.” “The excellent hosts who made sure everyone was included, and the people who came along and imparted fun and interesting conversation. The food on offer was also generous and good. Thanks for a lovely evening.” “Felt at ease instantly with the people that I met, the conversation was varied and interesting. Very nice location which I think will be great to visit again in the Summer.” “Friendliness and inclusive venue, Presence of some existing members. Well organised. Very professional hosting.” “Liked seeing so many interesting looking people of both sexes from around London.” “Lovely to meet such interesting and friendly people – I was nervous but it was such a lovely reassuring event.”

We then ended January with Chinese New Year Celebrations, hosted by Terry and we had a full house. We chose a restaurant in Holborn, Joy’s Chinese Restaurant, where it was not too far from the station and we could reserve an area just for Who Londoners. The walk from the restaurant to the buzzing Chinatown celebrations was not too far either. Another popular event, Chinese New Year Celebrations led to Who Londoners making new friends over delicious food.

“We had a great time today, I recognised a few people from Somerset House, so it was like meeting old friends. Really good atmosphere. Honestly Alex it was a really good function today. Food was amazing too.” “Good idea – people I met were nice, look forward to next one/s.” “Nice and intimate place. Wonderful people. I made new friends.” “Everything was perfect.” “Once again, thanks to Alex for thinking outside the box for our events.” “I look forward to other events. Thanks to the organisers.”

To start February we organised a get-together to go to BAFTA: Behind The Scenes in Piccadilly, hosted by Maureen. Who Londoners met for coffee in Mayfair and walked a few minutes to the exhibition to uncover the creativity and talent of BAFTA winners and nominees, discovering the inspiring stories from the award-winning people who write, make, shoot and shape what we the viewers see on screen. Who Londoners saw annotated scripts, handcrafted models, audio-visual displays and costumes.

“The cafe we went to was atmospheric, nice people and interesting little exhibition in a place I hadn’t known existed.” “I met a number of new and interesting people.” “It was my first WHO event and I shall certainly be going to more.”

The next event planned was our National Pizza Day & South Bank event at Crust Bros, which was to be hosted by Terry but Storm Ciara decided to get in the way this time.

However, in the second half of February Alex and Carole hosted our Saturday Speed-Friending, the only London speed-friending event for anyone 50+. Tickets sold out and we held the event in Radicals & Victuallers in fashionable Islington. This is one of our favourite events as everyone moves round regularly to meet new people throughout the afternoon. Drinks were flowing, as was conversation, and we were definitely the most energetic group in the pub!

“Excellent organisation ensured everyone was welcomed and knew what to do, where to sit etc… this encouraged people to be at ease, enjoy their free drink and start chatting… Friendly atmosphere wonderful people. Thank you for organising such an AMAZING platform.” “The speed-friending was organised perfectly!!!” “We were able to talk face to face with each member of the group. The conversations were informative, interesting and very helpful to me. I felt really happy and would continue to attend the next events. Congratulations for the organisers!!!!!” “Speed-friending is a brilliant way to meet new people, and some do become friends.” “People are friendly with warm personality.” “Meeting new people from a variety of walks of life. Different conversations with friendly people, about various subjects. It was nice that a choice of drink was included.” “Such a lovely bunch of people!”

Our last event in February was Pancakes & Kensington Palace Gardens, hosted by Maureen. Pancake Day had been earlier in the week so we reserved the whole downstairs of My Old Dutch, which was founded in 1958, just for Who Londoners. After the lunch treat some Who Londoners walked off their lunch around nearby Kensington Palace Gardens.

“It was a new experience for me, location that I had not been to for years. People I had not met before, good crowd, and our host Maureen, I discovered had a lot in common with my childhood memories, small world. She was excellent, interacting with all.”

We then arranged a British Pie Week Lunch in Covent Garden in March with host Carole, tickets to the Spring 70s & 80s Disco Night with host Terry, and a visit to see Message In A Bottle at the Peacock Theatre with host Sandra. Sadly, then Coronavirus (COVID-19) broke out. The disco in early March, though, was as always a big hit – a time to let your hair down and dance to classic tunes with other disco-goers. The Spring Disco was held in the ballroom of the Trafalgar Tavern with elegant chandeliers, rich wooden floors, floor to ceiling windows and views of the Thames. Everyone who answered our survey said they were pleased they came to this event and would recommend this event to others.

“Great music, everyone is up dancing. Friendly people and lovely venue. ” “Terry was a great host, he welcomed everyone, showed them our table and made sure they had company if they came alone.” “Friendly host, I need to try other events.” “I had an awesome time!”

Of course April’s Good Friday Get-Together, due to be at Bill’s Restaurant & Bar in Marylebone, and Upstairs @ Ronnie Scott’s jazz club were cancelled/postponed as venues shut because of the pandemic. We did, however, organise virtual online events as below. Please share with us which virtual events you’d like to see next.
Who London’s Virtual Pub, 4th April
Virtual Introductions to Upcoming Events, 3rd May
Who London’s Virtual Team Quiz Night, 17th May
Who London’s Virtual Pub, 23rd May
Who London’s Virtual Pub Rooms, 30th May
Who London’s Virtual Pub Rooms, 6th June

“It was nice to ‘meet’ other people and have a friendly chat about future possible events.”
“Got a happy moment to see everyone, listening to them, learning some experience of others, sharing your own to them, quite excited.”
“I liked the friendly and positive atmosphere generated by the host and participants.”
“I look forward to another one and after lockdown actually go to one.”
“It was a well-structured and hosted event. The breakout rooms enabled participants to interact more and get to know each other. The atmosphere was lively and friendly.”
“I was initially nervous about doing this but I liked that everyone was really easy to chat with.”
“Fun to meet new people.”

As you can see we have had an array of social events in 2020 until the lockdown in March started. We shortly afterwards hosted virtual social events which were also successful. We are planning more fun events for you to get to know new Who Londoners, with in-person ones for when it is safe to do so and we have been given the go-ahead from the Government. The future will look bright again and we will share our event announcements with you when the time comes – keep up to date with us by scrolling down on this page to join our newsletter if you haven’t yet done so. If you would like to send a Gift Card to someone to cheer them up during lockdown please get in touch.

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