Featuring stunning live performances from Aleisha Dixon and Simply Red and celebrity guests including Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood; Kate Silverton and Nick Knowles gazed down memory lane of 2008, before welcoming 2009 in with style on board HMS Belfast.
This celebrity filled programme ran from 22.50 through to 00.20 on New Year's Eve broadcast live on BBC1. For New Year's Eve Kate Silverton pulled out all the stops on the glamour front, wearing a long dusky pink satin gown, with a plunging neckline coupled with a luxurious, warm coat.
To ensure the whole evening ran smoothly, 10 Sodexo staff pounded the decks from 11 am until 3 am serving 300 people (including VIPs, presenters, public and crew) tea, coffee, mulled wine and a wide selection of traditional hearty winter dishes. Throughout the event there was always some delicious beverage or tasty treat on offer, from Mulled Wine and mince pies to Mushroom Stroganoff and then canapés. Also, in order to help the poor cold crew keep those Arctic temperatures at bay, there was some hearty vegetable soup with chunky bread as the evening ended.
The Wardroom Ante Room was set up as a temporary green room and chock full of celebrities, artists and their guests. Served mulled wine, mince pies, red and white wine, soft drinks and canapés throughout the evening, a spectacular sight which kept even most seasoned operational Sodexo staff on their toes constantly!
Helen Robson, Production Manager, BBC Entertainment Projects said, 'We used Sodexo to cater for the BBC's live New Year Eve broadcast from the deck of HMS Belfast, this in itself wasn't the easiest thing as it involved providing catering for 80 crew members throughout the day on all sittings. Even though the weather was freezing I didn't hear of one complaint from anyone about the standard of food, everyone was extremely grateful and the menu suggestions that were put forward worked a treat. During the evening's event we ran two bars at different areas on the boat, both ran incredibly smoothly and even though we had a lot of last minute changes to how we wished things to run from a TV point of view, the team managed to cope with everything and everyone was very happy to be celebrating the New Year on board. Our presenter Kate Silverton was also very keen to get ship special recipe for her home made mulled wine!"
Some occasions demand special treatment, the choice of venue is crucial and seldom will you find one as unique as HMS Belfast. She was launched in March 1938 and served throughout the Second World War, playing a leading role in the Battle of North Cape and in the Normandy Landings. She later supported UN forces in Korea and remained in service until 1965. In 1971 she was saved for the nation as a unique reminder of Britain's Naval Heritage and is the only surviving example of the great fleets of big gun armoured warships built for the Royal Navy in the first half of the twentieth century.
HMS Belfast is now owned and managed by the Imperial War Museum and is a popular tourist attraction permanently moored between London Bridge and Tower Bridge.
HMS Belfast is a quirky and busy but affordable event venue suitable for a range of events from conferences and seminars in the winter to taking the whole ship for summer parties, product launches, barbeques and weddings. Any conference or meeting between held before March 31st will be automatically upgraded from Officer's Package to the Captains, or the Captains Package to the Admiral's!