Firm behind Light Up Lancaster marks 20 years in business

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The firm behind Lancaster's annual fireworks extravaganza is celebrating 20 years of leadership.

Events company Pennine Events Ltd has worked on some of the biggest global events including the Tour de France (twice!) - as well as major light festivals and fireworks shows such as Light Up Lancaster.

They have also worked with military ships, awards shows and conferences, music festivals, football parades and adrenaline inducing ‘ironman type’ bespoke challenges, creating, guiding and delivering once-in-a-lifetime experiences on behalf of major national and international clients.

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The firm has been operating for 20 years and brings more than 100 years of combined experience in live events.

Light Up Lancaster 2017.Light Up Lancaster 2017.
Light Up Lancaster 2017.

Over the years the team have received multiple accolades such as an 'outstanding' commendation from Metropolitan Police, Best UK Sports Event, receiving Gold for Event Excellence, and more.

The firm is a true example of entrepreneurship and creative business management, started from humble beginnings by owner and director Mark Sandamas in 2002.

The small Preston-based business made it through the Covid pandemic when events were on hold for over a year and decimated the industry.

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The company restructured and with grit and dedication were able to come back with a bang in 2021, to the extent that the team haven’t stopped since.

Mark said: “I still have vivid memories of the first steps back in December 2002 forming the company, a bit like igniting the touchpaper on a firework, but with less idea of what would happen.

"Maybe ironic for a professional in event planning, but there really wasn’t much plan then other than being very committed to doing the best I could, seeking out and taking any opportunity and determined to enjoy the ride.

"I really cannot believe that was twenty years ago – given how quickly it has flown. Though when the team list the incredible rollcall of events we have delivered, then I’m less surprised but no less enthusiastic and exhilarated.

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"I have been so fortunate to have made wonderful friendships, met really interesting people, but in particular to have an amazing team at Pennine.

"Without them, the journey would never have got so far, nor been anyway near as fulfilling. To also attain our two biggest contracts in our 20th anniversary year is a wonderful way to celebrate... and to look forward to the next 20.”

With more than 25 years’ experience, Mark champions the industry as a whole, through his seat as council member on the National Outdoor Events Association, founder and managing director of UK Bike Tours, and owner of Coast to Coast Packhorse, the leading operator of holidays and tours on the world-famous Wainwright’s Coast to Coast trail.

Alissa Koopal, CEO of Pennine Events, said: “As the team celebrate the 20th anniversary of Pennine Events, we look back on such an incredible two decades of some of the most iconic events that we have been so fortunate to support, plan and deliver such as the Tour de France.

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"Most excitingly of course, we are looking forward to a year like no other, through the sheer dedication and commitment of the team to keep our beloved company surviving through some of the most devasting and challenging past couple years where Covid completely decimated our industry that so many people rely on.”