Conference schedule chaos after fire at Wokefield Park

Dealers from a major automotive brand had a lucky escape when fire ripped through a conference venue.

Firefighters from 12 crews across Berkshire and Hampshire attended the blaze at the Wokefield Park Hotel at round 5.30pm on November 11.

The De Vere Venues property had been booked by BMW UK for a training event involving dealers with the ability to book courses.

No one was injured in the fire which is believed to have started in the laundry area in the conference building and spread through the hotel accommodation into the roof. The hotel was evacuated, with around 200 guests taken to nearby hotels.

BMW staff took to social media to express their shock.

David Calderbank from a BMW dealership in Manchester posted: “Have arrived at Wokefield Park only to find it burning to the ground. I suspect that the training scheduled for tomorrow may be off.”

Motivational speaker Kate Trafford asked if the venue was due to be used for a Professional Speakers Association event.

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A spokeswoman for the Professional Speakers Association (PSA) said the organisation held an event at the venue in October but another venue would be used next year.

A spokeswoman for Anesco Energy Services in Reading said the company still hoped to hold its Christmas party at the venue.

A De Vere Venues statement said: “We can confirm that a successful evacuation took place last night following a fire within a section of Wokefield Park. Our priority, always, is the safety of our guests and staff and can confirm there were no injuries. We are working very closely with the Fire Brigade who remain onsite and will provide further information as it becomes available.”

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Conference News resides at the heart of the conference industry examining the issues affecting organisers, venues, destinations and suppliers. Published monthly, Conference News features the latest news, interviews and industry analysis from market influencers.

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