The 2015 Annual London Lunch was held once again this year in the Carisbrooke Hall at the Victory Services Club. Chairman Peter Lewis-Jones welcomed Fellows and their guests, extending a special welcome to Simon Sproule, Director of Global Marketing & Communications at Aston Martin Lagonda Limited, who had kindly agreed to propose the toast to the Fellowship.
After an excellent lunch Peter Lewis-Jones explained that this year we would raise funds for the Fellowship’s Charity Account by tossing a coin and playing ‘Heads & Tails’. Having collected £10 from all those that wished to play everybody stood up putting both hands either on their head or bottom depending on whether they thought the coin would land heads or tails. The game continued until Fellow Robert Goldwater was the last man standing and won half the money that had been collected, with the other half going to the Fellowship’s charity account. Robert very kindly made a donation from his winnings, and a total of £510 was raised for the Fellowship’s charity account.
Paul Barrett, acting as Master of Ceremonies introduced Simon Sproule who opened by saying how impressed he was with the diversity of backgrounds within the FMI. He explained how he grew up in a family where his Grandfather was in the motor business working for Stewart & Arden and he was going to motor shows as soon as he could walk.
He recalled that his Grandfather would always turn up in a different British car and he shared some of his treasured possessions including, much to everyone’s delight, an Austin Maxi Brochure, and a copy of the 1982 Motor Show brochure.
During his career he worked for companies all over the globe from Ford in America, Nissan in Japan, Tesla in California and currently Aston Martin. He explained that over the years he had probably launched 150 new cars from the Transit Van to a Japanese Mini Car, although he maintained that when asked which was the most important car he had ever launched said that “it was always the next one” which in his case would be the new Aston Martin DB11 next year.
He recalled the 1995 Ford Scorpio, which was the first car that he ever launched whilst working in the press office which he described as “a car that only a mother could love”, not beautiful on the outside but a fine car on the inside.
He finished by speaking briefly about the VW emissions scandal. Whilst we may never know why, what is important is the damage that it has done to our industry and by their actions VW have placed a cloud over the trust that we place in our industry.
FMI President Tony Ham concluded the proceedings by thanking Simon Sproule for his excellent speech and then went on to present a cheque to Nigel Williams, Head of Business Innovation at BEN, for £7,500 from the Fellowship’s charity account.