Ypres poppies
R&B Group

Member Article

The last post

Events come in all shapes and sizes. When I am talking to clients about what R&B Group do I often suggest that it is anything with an audience!

Over the years we have been fortunate to work with the City of Sunderland on their Remembrance Day activities. Always a humbling experience, the event takes a couple of days to set up in the Seaburn Centre and is always a complete sell-out.

When I was in Ypres, Belgium last weekend I was interested to visit the Menin Gate which is the war memorial to the tens of thousands of soldiers who died in World War I whose graves are unknown. The area saw some of the bloodiest fighting and heaviest loss of life during the 4 year war and the town remains committed to remembering this.

Since 1928 a simple but moving ceremony has been conducted every day at 8pm. Today it is performed by buglers from the local fire brigade who close the road and sound the last post. Bugles, bagpipes and a simple reading are conducted in front of several hundred tourists who stand in respectful silence, transfixed by the power and solemnity of the proceedings.

The ceremony is not intended as a tourist attraction – it is simply the townspeople giving their thanks to the sacrifice that was made almost 100 years ago. Yet it has become a must see moment when visiting the area.

As a spectator event there are things which could be improved. Visibility wasn’t great and although the bugles and pipes reverberate around the dome of the gate itself making the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, the spoken word was almost inaudible.

As an event professional things like this often frustrate me but not on this occasion. This was a lesson in humble simplicity and should not be complicated with technology. The corporate communications industry should take note and remember that we are in business to support the message, not become the message itself.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by R&B Group .

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