How amazing would that be? Attending the "Save Concorde" evening last week gave me a really strong sense of what a stunning British icon we have lost. I can recall what a thrill it was to look up and see it flying over and remember our excitement when I pointed Concorde out to my daughter through the air plane window as we taxied round Heathrow. Who can forget the amazing spectacle of the fly past at the Queen's jubilee with Concorde leading the Red Arrows? What a shame it couldn't be part of the Diamond jubilee or the Olympic ceremonies.
Last Thursday was the 10th anniversary of the last commercial flight by Concorde and I wonder now how many people, like me, regret never having flown on her? I was lucky enough to mark the occasion by having dinner with the incredible Mr Fred Finn (in the photograph) who appears in the Guinness Book of Records for having flown the most miles, 15 million in fact, and for having flown 718 times on Concorde.
Mr Finn still makes his living by travelling the world, not for his employer any more but to speak to people about his travels and most particularly his experiences on Concorde. Without this remarkable aircraft he would not have this career as it would not have been possible to travel so many miles.
The function I was attending was held by the Save Concorde group in commemoration (not celebration) of the last commercial flight. My colleague Martin and I were there to promote our fine art prints of Concorde with authenticated seat belts, which I have to say were received with huge enthusiasm, as well as to donate one of the prints for a silent auction.
In return we received endorsement from Fred for our website: www.britishairwaysconcorde.com. He told us that he didn't do this lightly but he was really impressed with the site and loved the prints. Thanks Fred and don't forget to ask Richard Branson to have a look at the site next time you see him! (Thanks also to Sara Hemp from Creative Remedy for all her hard work developing the site).
The dinner menu was carefully chosen from the most popular dishes served on Concorde:
Leek and Potato Soup or Prawn Cocktail
Poached Salmon or Roast Lamb (Not chicken or beef? I hear you ask)
New York Cheese Cake or Creme Brule
The meal was accompanied by videos of the last flight and landing along with the Sky News coverage and followed by a talk from Fred, a lovely gentleman with a naughty edge! Some of Fred's experiences include being hijacked and landing without the wheels in place! For a laugh take a look at the YouTube video of him performing his version of the safety spiel on Concorde - after a few cocktails!
According to Fred there is no such thing as "jet lag" (although perhaps he was never in one time zone long enough to find out!) Fred reckons it is all about dehydration. His advice is to set your watch to the destination time as soon as you get on board and start living, eating and sleeping in that time. Drink lots, moisturise your face frequently and close your eyes for a few minutes every hour to keep them moist.
Overall it was a most enjoyable and interesting evening. Save Concorde is a serious group of people here and in France who are determined to see Concorde fly again. Apparently it is a combination of politics and British Airways that are keeping it on the ground.
The group had 11,000 members on the morning of the 24th, but due to some blogging, facebook and twitter activity from a couple of individuals at the event, grew to 11,500 by the end of the day. A thought provoking lesson in the power and reach of social media.
Written by Jane Fransen-Hale: Director JEM Retail Consultants.