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Contender's History in 10 years of glorious, (or just plain gory), Christmas parties

Thursday 21st Dec 1995
The MD celebrates in style with a mince pie at morning coffee time.

Tuesday 17th Dec 1996
 Wow. MD and trusty assistant, Leslie, enjoy a pint at the Bell Inn, Benington, Herts. Good chips.

Friday 12th Dec 1997
Back at the Bell, Leslie and RB are joined by farmer Dave and his assistant, Nicky, with whom they share the farm office. At least four jokes are told.

Thursday 17th Dec 1998
Things have moved on. Jon, Karen, Richard and Andy get out some margaritas and alcohol-free pina coladas at lunchtime at the Tex Mex restaurant in Leicester Square. Despite a brave attempt, no-one gets drunk.

Monday 20th Dec 1999
A big Abba night with Paul, Karen, Jon, Andy, Richard, and one or two friends and suppliers to make up the numbers, at the Connaught Rooms in WC2. The food is a bit naff as is the tribute band, but we almost have a good time. No-one gets drunk, again.

Friday 8th Dec Sunday 10th Dec 2000
The infamous Amsterdam weekend. Richard and Charles cop out early but Jon, Karen, Andy, Clare, Poonam, Paul and Vicky last out the weekend. A great time is had by all and some drunkenness is experienced.

Friday 7th Dec Sunday 9th Dec 2001
Barcelona. A weekend to remember with not a dud moment, a great time being had by all Richard, Jon, Charles, Paul, Karen, Jo, Poonam, Michele, Joan, Rebecca, Alison, Lee, Mike, Neil and Lorraine all surviving to tell tall tales back in the office...

December 2002
And off to Rome we went, where the complete 12 days of Christmas (and probably a few more) were crammed into just 48 hours of eating, drinking, fun and some sightseeing. And so, to summarise in no particular order...

23 people
1 lost passport
several police stations
some really rubbish photos
2 hunky Gladiators
lots and lots of pizzas
3 Hollywood actors (and Mike Leigh)
2 (confessing) vomiters
And a broken toilet seat. Don't ask...

Friday 5th Dec 2003
This time, the lager-swilling contingents of Contender, (that's everyone), were introduced to a spot of festive "kultcha" with a trip to London's Vinniopolios and a brief course in wine-tasting. The Vinniopolis was closed down shortly after owing to 'unforeseen stock shortages'. Then it was onto a 'RESTAURANT' for eating, more drinking, dancing and Tractor Tom-Foolery in Contender's own inimitable style. A wonderful time was had by all, though the Chef was a bit miffed at expressed requests for HP Sauce.

Friday 3rd Dec Saturday 4th Dec 2004
Taking the lesson in kultcha to a whole new level, Gaye Paris was the romantic destination for the 2004 Contender outing.  Organised by Fran with almost-military precision, activities included a treasure hunt around the city and taking over a restaurant for beaucoup du vin and, oddly, lots of spoons.  In the evening, the hardcore took to the Latin Quarter with hardly any gossip to report, apart from dubious activities involving lemsip and a live performance of Allans European tour (he's the the next big thing, you know) Vive Contendre!

Tuesday 28th June 2005
Contender celebrated in style on 28th June at the Kensington Roof Gardens. With attendance in excess of 400 people everything was in place for a truly fabulous evening. Aside from the torrential rain fun was had by all in the themed gardens - Peppa's Pen, Sunset Asia and Springhill Farm - and on the dancefloor!