Oxford University Swimming Club has just returned from a fantastic training camp in Lignano, which we hope will be a precursor to victory in the Hilary varsity competition. In 2008 we have relocated our training camp to a purpose-built training village in Italy, which incorporated an Olympic sized swimming pool for intensive long course training, a 25 metre pool for short course sprint work, and a state of the art multi-gym and sports hall complex. Swimmers took part in four hours of intensive coached pool training each day, combined with plyometrics, flexibility, and team building exercises, in preparation for what promises to be the most closely fought Varsity Match of the last decade. Many returning swimmers commented on the excellent facilities, which are unrivalled anywhere in England. The pool, which was ten lanes wide, fifty metres long, and built for the 2006 European Youth Championships, was outstanding. We were delighted to have all ten lanes to ourselves on a number of occasions, and when we shared the pool it was with the likes of the Ukrainian national swimming team, the Spanish water polo team, and the Italian synchronised swimming team. Being surrounded by international sportsmen and women certainly spurred the squad on, especially through those gruelling midweek sets when exhaustion had already set in, but the end of the camp was not yet in sight. An afternoon spent in Venice at the halfway point provided a welcome few hours of recovery and, having visited St. Mark’s Square, the Bridge of Sighs, and the Doge’s Palace, we returned to the pool refreshed and ready for more hard training. As usual, training camp was a great success, even more so this year for its superb new location. The squad has returned feeling leaner, meaner, and faster, and ready to take on the Tabs in the forthcoming Varsity Match.by Lorna Wellings
The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited (HSH) proudly celebrated its 150th anniversary last month with a series of spectacular events and initiatives to say thank you to Hong Kong and the company’s partners, guests and friends from around the world.Originally incorporated on 2 March 1866 as The Hongkong Hotel Company, Limited, the company merged with the Shanghai Hotel Company in 1923 to create The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited, which today is the world’s oldest small hotel group in continuous operation. HSH was one of the first companies to be listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and is currently the oldest registered company on the Hong Kong Companies Registry. For a century and a half, the compelling story of HSH has been closely tied to its city of origin, Hong Kong, and its heritage also reflects the story of the stunning developments in global travel and adventure.The 150th anniversary events and initiatives include:1. The world’s first and largest-scale display of helium balloons to be tethered on the façade of a Grade I listed buildingAs one of the highlights of the HSH 150th anniversary celebration, the company unveiled a series of custom-made giant balloons designed and hand-made by artist Ken Moody of Big Ideas Parade Giants Studio in Arizona, USA.Seven of the eight giant helium balloons have been anchored onto the hotel’s legendary façade for a period of three days from 25 to 27 November 2016, marking the first time in the world such a large-scale display has been tethered to a Grade I-listed heritage landmark.Each balloon was designed, sewn, assembled, and hand-finished, before being shipped to Hong Kong by logistics sponsors GS4 International. This is the first time that seven of HSH’s curated collection of giant helium balloons – including inflated renditions of The Peak Tram; The Peak Tower; The Repulse Bay Complex; The Peninsula’s 1934 Phantom II vintage Rolls-Royce; The Peninsula’s MD902 Helicopter; the HSH-themed Montgolfière-style balloon (named after the inventors of the world’s first passenger-carrying hot air balloon, Joseph-Michel Montgolfier and Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier); and even a giant Peninsula Pageboy named “Michael” after Sir Michael Kadoorie – has been showcased together, in what will become a travelling exhibition to HSH properties around the world in 2017. Only The Peninsula Hong Kong-shaped balloon was not displayed so as not to duplicate The Peninsula’s already iconic façade!The stunning spectacle has been achieved after months of planning in a highly complex feat of engineering and logistics, orchestrated by Hong Kong-based Ironmonger Events and The Peninsula Hong Kong’s engineering team, with policy support from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government.2. 150 Peninsula PagesOn the morning of 25 November 2016, 150 youth volunteers from exemplary Hong Kong educational institutions including the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU); Vocational Training Council (VTC); Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education (IVE), and the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), dressed in the crisp white uniforms of The Peninsula’s Pageboys and Pagegirls, congregated on the hotel’s Helipad for a dramatic commemorative aerial photo opportunity spelling the words ‘HSH 150’ in human formation.3. A dazzling 150th anniversary gala From the earliest days of The Hong Kong Hotel’s opening in 1868, to the grand gala openings of The Repulse Bay Hotel in 1920 and The Peninsula Hong Kong in 1928, and many spectacular occasions ever since, HSH parties have welcomed Hong Kong’s high society to a dazzling evening of dancing, flowing champagne and exquisite delicacies. On Friday 25 November 2016, the brand celebrated 150 years of the company with a gala befitting such a momentous occasion, welcoming 2000 guests from Hong Kong and around the world.A sumptuous variety of handmade canapés and deluxe food items were served to highlight the cuisine of all seven of The Peninsula’s award-winning restaurants, including The Lobby, Gaddi’s, Spring Moon, The Verandah, Imasa and Felix; with a curated list of fine wines, Champagnes and spirits carefully selected to pair perfectly with dishes and keep guests’ glasses overflowing until the early hours of Saturday morning. 4. Giving back to Hong KongHSH has always been a responsible corporate citizen, with a particular focus on charity and community service as a strategic pillar in its Vision 2020 for Sustainable Luxury. Led by the Kadoorie family, an ethos of philanthropy has been at the heart of the group’s culture since the 1880s. HSH plays its role in honouring and protecting the heritage of Hong Kong’s past and the Kadoorie family archives by providing support to The Hong Kong Heritage Project, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2017.