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Eastern Seasons, a week of cultural, sports and business events that aims to bolster relations between Eastern and Western Europe, took London by storm last week.
A range of cultural events – from photography exhibits to charity auctions and tennis tournaments – were held from November 25-30.
While events ranged from literature to investor meetings, one common theme throughout the celebrations was strengthening cultural ties between European countries.
This year’s ambassador to the cultural week was Mark Foster, an accomplished swimmer who represented Britain in five Olympic Games and over the course of his career, broke eight world records and won six world titles.
His role in this year’s Eastern Seasons celebration was to promote fitness and to encourage young athletes with their goals.
One of the main events was the men’s Goodwill Tennis Tournament, which was held at the Queen’s Club. A total of 22 businessmen and cultural figures took part in the tournament. This year the event was invitation-only, but next year organizers hope the event will be on a larger scale and more accessible to the public.
After the tennis matches played out, Eastern Seasons guests attended a private dinner gala at Madam Tussauds. The guest list was studded with celebrities such as sportsman Mark Foster, model, actress and television presenter Kelly Brook, TV presenter Hofit Golan, soprano singer Camilla Kerslake, actress Emma Miller, Made in Chelsea star Mark Francis Vandelli, cast member of Ladies of London Caroline Stanbury, producer Mikhail Fridman, Russian singer Ilya Lagutenko, Scottish pop singer A-L-X, as well as event partners and directors and CEOs of such international companies as Cartier, Aeroflot, Dorchester Collection, Audley Travel, Damiani, Penfolds Wines and more.
After the reception, a silent auction was held in support of model and philanthropist Natalia Vodianova’s Naked Heart Foundation, a charity that provides services for unprivileged and disabled children in Russia. The auction was held with the support of Sotheby’s and renowned auctioneer Julian Gascoigne and all proceeds were donated to the foundation.
Guests were also entertained by Russian rock band Mumiy Troll and British soprano Camilla Kerslake.
The Eastern Seasons event is organized by the BSI Global Group of companies, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.
Photos: Jeff Spicer and Kirstin Sinclair from Getty Images, and Mila Nesterova