WASH your whites and let out your waistbands; Wimbledon 2015 is just over three weeks away. Fans are gearing up for the party of the year and to cheer dour Brit Andy Murray to victory.
Wimbledon is the largest annual sporting catering operation in Europe. Whether you’re just coming for the finals or staying for the fortnight, tournament organisers have everything you need.
Around 1,800 catering staff in 16 restaurants, cafes and bars are expected to serve up 230,000 glasses of Pimm’s, 28,000 bottles of champagne, 28,000 kilos of strawberries with over 7,000 litres of fresh cream, and 12,000 kilos of salmon to the 491,000 tennis fans who get into Wimbledon’s courts.
Organisers are proud to note that, despite a recession and inflated food costs over the last decade, the price of a traditional bowl of strawberries and cream (no fewer than 10 berries per bowl) has stayed at £2.50 for six years.
Around 250 ball boys and girls are being sourced from 32 London schools, including Wimbledon High School and others in Sutton, Wandsworth, Kingston and Richmond. Some 700 applicants will go through rigorous tests and training before 250 are selected.
It isn’t just the people at Wimbledon who are getting stuck in this summer. On Friday, shop assistants at Ralph Lauren’s Bond Street store donned blue blazers and chinos, and sat on stools outside the store to welcome shoppers.
Meanwhile over in Marylebone, top-end estate agent Savills is throwing a Wimbledon-themed lawn party of its own. London’s property heavyweights are expected to attend Savills’ Annual Summer Party this Friday. The private get-together has all the champagne and strawberries of the tournament, with an added raffle where the first prize is two tickets to the ladies’ quarter finals, worth up to £1,195. Good luck everyone for 29 June.
▀ Cocktails and customers were left shaken and stirred on top of the 40-floor Heron Tower at 1am on Sunday, after a fire scare sparked the evacuation of hundreds of revellers. The alarm was triggered at the trendy Sushisamba restaurant. This proved to be false but not before the weekend crowd, many of them in heels, were marched down dozens of flights of stairs. Olivia Kuntz, who was celebrating a friend’s 30th Birthday, said she and her friends had to take the stairs after emergency measures put the lifts out of action. Kuntz said: “It was a bit unfortunate really because the best bit about the building is the lifts.”
▀ Six-foot-four rugby mid-field legend Will Greenwood this week threw his 15 stone seven-ounce toned bulk behind the campaign to raise £10m for a new surgical unit at the Great Ormond Street Hospital – expected to be opened by 2017. He stopped off at the Sky Garden restaurant at the top of the Walkie Talkie building in London’s Fenchurch Street to persuade, charm and strong-arm potential donors to each contribute £25,000-a-year for three years.
Masterminding the fundraising is Grahame Chilton, chief executive of international insurance broker Arthur J Gallagher International, who chairs the Tick Tock Club - a network of individuals, trusts, businesses and foundations dedicated to supporting the hospital and its projects.