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Inspiring students for 30 years

Our alumni volunteers range from those who are able to give a very valuable few hours to those who have been connected with us for much longer, such as Paul Milsom, President of the Food and Wine Society, who has been volunteering for 30 years!

In 1985, Surrey alumnus Kit Chapman wrote in the Career and Hotelkeeper magazine that it was a missed opportunity for Surrey not to have a Food and Wine Society for its students.

Ready for the challenge was Paul Milsom, an undergraduate studying Hotel and Catering Management, who said he would set up the society with Kit’s support - this year it marked its 30th anniversary in style at the Langham Hotel in London.

The society is open exclusively to students from the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management and aims to provide those with a specific interest in food and wine a chance to learn more about the practical skills in demand within the industry.

Paul, Managing Director of Milsom Hotels and Restaurants, said: “I am very proud to have been associated with the society for 30 years; it is so gratifying to see that the society I helped set up has continued so successfully.

“The real driver behind my involvement, in 1985 and today, is to inspire students to have a career in the industry and to try new and different things. Most importantly, the society trains them in the art of hospitality and gastronomy. Through our connections with the owners and managers of prestigious hotels and restaurant, we can give them an understanding of what being good looks like, what’s amazing about these places.”

Since taking on the role, Paul has added a number of his own industry contacts to the ever-growing Board of Friends, and has taken a very active role in the operation of the society. In addition, for a number of years he has generously hosted society committee members for an overnight stay at one of his hotels.

He continued: “I still enjoy meeting the students and value my connection with Surrey, which has been very supportive of the society.  It is so important, today more than ever, that students can leave University with experience to help them gain that first step on the ladder.”