Tributes are pouring in from the exhibition industry for one of its own, Arthur Somerset, who passed away on 25 July.
The director of events at Forman’s Fish Island, the closest venue to the London 2012 Olympic Stadium, had more than 20 years of experience in the events industry. He was a passionate influencer of the wave of exhibitions servicing the live events industry, kicking off with his support for Single Market Event’s (SME) launch of RSVP in 2001.
Somerset was also the president of The International Special Events Society between 2002 and 2004, won numerous awards for his work, and spoke at events all over the world.
QD Events MD Fran McIntyre, who worked on RSVP and remained friends with Somerset after moving to Scotland, said he had a unique vision.
“He put aside all the health, safety and historic hang-ups of exhibition organisers and convinced us that flying inflatable turtles from the rafters and having aerial acrobats wearing next to nothing around them would be cool,” she recalled. “He was, predictably, right.”
Tim Etchells, the MD of SME remembers him as being a man who wanted RSVP to work and maximised energy and ideas to help make it happen. He said it was obvious Somerset saw events and exhibitions as part of the same exciting face-to-face media.
When their paths crossed during the launch of London Venues Expo, Exposure Communications MD Simon Burton described Somerset as sharing his knowledge and experience “generously and with wit”.
Similar affectionate accolades have been pouring in over the past fortnight for a man who will be sadly missed not only by his wife and young children, but also by everyone in the industry who was privileged enough to have known him, McIntyre said.
His funeral was held on 10 August and a memorial service is planned later this year to celebrate his life “in style”, she added. A Facebook page has also been dedicated to Somerset’s memory by the Friends of Arthur Somerset.
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