A night to celebrate, Exeter's Chamber of Commerce's 14th Annual Dinner took place on Friday 2nd November, and we here at Kirk Hills were lucky enough to be this year's headline sponsor for the evening. Taking place at Sandy Park Conference Centre, 320 attendees came to enjoy the evening of enriching stories and valuable networking.
The main event, however, came in the form of this years charity prize draw. Where it was Dartmoor Zoological Society that received over £5000, from the Exeter Chamber. Benjamin Mee, who discovered Dartmoor Wildlife Park in 2006; whilst it was in a stage of financial hardship. Spoke about the year of hard work he and his family put in for a year, in order to get the park ready to open in 2007. Which they did and re-branded as Dartmoor Zoological Park. This story may be familiar to you already, as Benjamin went on to discuss how in 2008 he published his memoir 'We Bought A Zoo', which took readers on the emotional ride that Benjamin and his family endured. This memoir went on to be released as a Hollywood film in 2011, by 20th Century Fox.
Since the hard work and perseverance by Benjamin and family, the Society has continued to see success and awards have come their way over the past 11 years. Including being accepted into BIAZA (British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquaria) achieving this for any collection is a sign of aspirations for excellence. Furthermore to this, the zoo also launched The Dartmoor Institute of Animal Science on site in 2016 together with the University of Plymouth; they aim to be a leading animal cognition center.
After this insightful journey through what it has taken the prize recipients to reach their current position, Derek Phillips, Vice President of the Chamber went on to explain how “Exeter has had much to be proud of this year” and how the prize-winning for Dartmoor Zoological Society is helping to support further conservation work and education for future Devon graduates.
Overall the evening provided many opportunities for businesses to listen and learn from one another. Kirk Hills were happy to be part of providing an evening that proved to be such a success for Exeter and businesses alike.