Mansfield college defends spending £15,000 on lavish London reception

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West Notts College has defended spending £15,000 on a reception at a lavish London hotel, hours after its principal was awarded her damehood.

The Mansfield college, which is around 70 per cent publicly funded, denied the event was a party, but an opportunity to network with business big-hitters.

Dame Asha Khemka proudly shows off her insignia of Dame Commander of the British Empire after she received it from the Prince of Wales at an Investiture Ceremony at Buckingham Palace in central London.

Dame Asha Khemka proudly shows off her insignia of Dame Commander of the British Empire after she received it from the Prince of Wales at an Investiture Ceremony at Buckingham Palace in central London.

Principal Asha Khemka received her damehood on Friday, 14th March, and afterwards the drink and food reception was held in the conference suite at the plush St James’ Court Hotel- close to Buckingham Palace - with around 115 people in attendance.

But director of communication for West Notts, Louise Knott, said it was simply a stakeholder event - which were not unusual for the college - and which was already pencilled into the budget.

She added: “It was not a party, it was an opportunity to get people in a room that we’d struggle to get normally.

“There were senior politicians and business figures, and major people from the further education sector.

“It was about promoting the college, and help put the college on the map.

“It was well worth it. Asha is high-profile nationally, we capitalised on her investiture and it gave us the opportunity to gather people in that one room. It was a good hook to hang it on.

“We had amazing feedback from the event, made some good contacts and 
generated income off the back of it.”