Independent builders merchant buying society NMBS held its biggest and most successful Gala Dinner in 2013, its 50th trading anniversary.
At the event, which brought together record numbers of merchants and suppliers at The Telford International Centre all looking to network, socialise and do deals, guests were treated to an informative insight into NMBS’ history, its current successes and its future plans. They also enjoyed an entertaining, enlightening and, at times, inspirational speech from one of the world’s most famous football referees, Howard Webb.
Chris Hayward, NMBS’ managing director, thanked members and suppliers alike for their contribution to NMBS’ growth and evolution over the last half century – a period in which the merchant sector has seen both highs and lows.
He also drew the winner of the Makita-sponsored prize draw – Mark Ogle from Harrogate builder’s merchant G H Brooks & Co Ltd who won an Apple bundle including an iPAD, iPOD and Apple TV, before going on to announce the total of the evening’s charity collection.
A total of £5296.80 was collected for charity for the home improvement and enhancement industry – The Rainy Day Trust. This included a £1000 donation by manufacturer of mineral wool insulation, Superglass.
Hayward also presented an award to financial director of Beatsons Building Supplies, Mark Northway for the company’s support of the NMBS I Love Independents campaign. On July the 4th 2012, the builder’s merchant sent out a mailer as part of NMBS’ ‘I Love Independents’ Challenge to over 800 recipients, celebrating ‘Independents’ Day’ and highlighting the benefits of trading with independent merchants.
Hayward was followed by NMBS Non-Executive Chairman, Tim Allen who outlined how the buying society has continued to enjoy positive growth even in difficult financial times with turnover up 8% to £545 million and running costs down to 0.19% of turnover.
Allen also explained more about NMBS’ AYE 50 campaign which is seeing the buying society provide 50 new apprentices to the Builders Merchants Federation’s apprenticeship scheme. NMBS hopes its efforts will help contribute to the employment possibilities of young people in today’s tough economic climate as well as play a part in driving the future success of the merchant sector.
As no birthday is complete without a cake, Hayward, Allen and the NMBS team were also presented with a spectacular birthday cake by Eamon Allen – a director at Pavestone. The cake, which took the form of NMBS’ Leicester HQ, took 50 hours, 240 eggs and 20lbs of flour to produce. Perhaps even more impressively, it survived a two hour car journey from Derby completely unscathed.
Guest speaker Howard Webb then regaled guests with tales of refereeing premiership games and his perceived support of Manchester United. He also recounted his experiences at Buckingham Palace whilst receiving his MBE and talked about his time refereeing during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Of two million referees across the globe, Webb is one of only 16 to have officiated a World Cup final and is the first Englishman to have done so in 36 years.
Hayward said: “The NMBS Gala dinner, which takes place every year on the evening before our annual show in Telford, has become a must attend event in the diaries of many independent merchants and suppliers alike.
“Given that 2013 represents a major milestone for NMBS, we are particularly pleased that this year’s dinner was an outright success and our biggest and best ever. I would like to thank everyone who attended and also our events team for all their efforts.”