A week ago, we held a reception for Clients in the office. This was the one that was postponed in December due to a freaky rainstorm which fell on the exact same day and that day alone that we were holding the original reception. Because of the holidays, travels and catering issues, we only managed to re-schedule it now. It was perfect too since the company celebrated its 11th birthday in April.

The invitation went out to clients a good 3 weeks prior to the event, but due to a glitch in the email system a lot of them did not receive the email. So I re-sent it 10 days before the event, at which time a lot of Clients were already travelling and most of them would get stranded in Europe due to that pesky volcano in Iceland!

The great news is that a good number of Clients still turned up and we had great support for a charity raffle draw we held. We had Clients pledge raffle prizes even though they could not make it to the event. We had friends of the company who donated LCD TV sets, dinner vouchers, hotel stays, artwork, jewellery, etc – it was amazing!

This time we are supporting Gulf for Good, a local organization who helps children all over the world. One of our staff members in Abu Dhabi brought this group to us since she has signed up to climb Mt Kilimanjaro in July!

Caroline will be waving a company banner at the peak of Kili sometime in July and we are all-out supporting her in this. If you would like to read about Caroline’s prep for the big climb, and to find out more about what Gulf for Good does to help out, check out this site.

Now on to the photos of the reception! These gentlemen here were the ones who blew me away by dropping off a 32″ Samsung LCD TV hours before the event. They even threw in the free rice cooker that came with the TV! Geoff Tait on the left and Stuart Teasdale in the right are with Emirates NBD Asset Management. The lovely lady in the middle is Veronica O’Brien from Standard Bank, and a long time friend of the company.

Yes, I was hired as the photographer for the evening since Hello! magazine was busy with other events in town and could not send a photographer to our event. I hope I did a good enough job that they would actually publish some of these photos in the next issue. Lynne in the middle is one of our own with her clients whose names I failed to get.

The Client Relationship Team helped with the registration desk along with my daughter Viel who has been helping out in the office and Myra (in red) who is another friend of the company.

You have no idea how difficult it was to get this photo just right. It was dark and my contact lenses were starting to irritate my eyes and the damned auto focus won’t work on the Nifty Fifty at such low lights! I did not use my Speedlite in any of the photos here but just the little puffer diffuser which I thought worked out alright.

More friends and staff! Left to right: Justin Wright who used to work for us but has now moved on, Katy Glover is our PR Officer, Christophe Allafranco is her beau and a Wealth Manager and James Reynolds is a Client and a friend.

And Ron again. Told you she is a friend. Plus Brian Muir who is my boss’s brother-in-law. No they are not a couple.

The lady with dark hair is Lucy Alderson, wife of Ben who is one of our Assistant Vice Presidents. The other lady is a friend of hers who aske dme if I would take a photo of her and Lucy. Who was I to say no?

Farhan and Asha cozying up, after a few drinks I bet. I’m being nice to Asha since her husband (who is not Farhan) works at Canon and get me substantial discounts on my next camera purchase!

And then the raffle draw went on. We had 4 bottles of champagne to give away, two of which were special SAS champagnes which apparently is very exclusive and only given to SAS officers. Tim is seen here auctioning off the two Rod Stewart/Spandau Ballet concert tickets so kindly donated by a company friend. Those two tickets went for a staggering AED4,400 or US$1195! All towards Gulf for Good!

All in all we raised a total of AED13,850 (which is US$3765 in real money) that evening. Not bad for one night’s work. Well there was a few weeks of preparation involved too which earned me and Katy a bottle each of bubbly from the boss. Not bad huh?