Brian Childs, Chairman of The Fellowship, welcomed guests to the Victory Services Club for the Annual London Lunch, which was held this year in the splendid setting of the El Alamein Room.
He extended a warm welcome to Mike Hawes the Chief Executive of the SMMT who had found time in his extremely busy schedule to come along as our principal speaker.
Mike spoke about the changes in the industry since he joined the SMMT and the challenges he faced including VW emissions, Brexit and the Trump administration. He praised the talented and committed people that he inherited when he joined the SMMT in September 2013 from Bentley Motors.
He spoke about the future of retailing in the UK which despite new entrants to the market such as Google, Dyson and Amazon he felt was secure. He accepted however that there was currently confusion over the Government’s intended direction as far as the industry is concerned. Because of this confusion, he told Fellows that he expected that the level of co2 emissions would rise at the end of the year resulting from a shift from diesel to petrol engines.
Brexit was another challenge facing an industry that in his opinion would have been better off remaining rather than leaving. He had attended a round table meeting with the Prime Minister the previous day and the importance of safeguarding as many of current advantages as possible was made. The Prime Minister accepted that the automotive industry should be recognised as a priority sector.
Fellows enjoyed an excellent meal and thanks were expressed to the Victory Services Club for ensuring that the luncheon was such a success.
After lunch Past Chairman Peter Lewis-Jones introduced Fellows and their guests to a game of Heads & Tails which this year was won by Jeff Gibson who won half of the total money collected but very generously donated £200 of his winnings to the Fellowship’s charity account making a total raised of £465.
Following Heads & Tails Peter Lewis-Jones thanked Mike Hawes once again for finding time to come and speak to The Fellowship which was hugely appreciated. He added that it was comforting to hear that everything possible is being done to urge government to deliver on its commitments and safeguard the competitiveness of the industry in the months ahead.
Peter went on to remind Fellows that last year the Fellowship awarded a Bursary in conjunction with the Institute of Motor Industry’s (IMI) Outstanding Achievers Awards.
He went on to say that Andrew Gault, the recipient of the Bursary has just returned from The World Skills Olympics in Abu Dhabi where he represented Team UK. He was competing against 1,200 other young people from over 50 nations and won a Bronze Medal, one of only 10 medals won by Team UK.
The Bursary programme is a three-year programme in association with the IMI and the winner of the 2017 Bursary is Kimberley Locker who was recently presented with the IMI Outstanding Achievers Award, together with the Fellowship’s Bursary, by HRH Prince Michael of Kent.
Peter closed the luncheon in his own inimitable manner and invited Chairman Brian Childs & President Tony Ham to present a cheque to Robin Woolcock, the Chairman of BEN for £5,000 as a result of the Fellowship’s fundraising over the past twelve months.