A magical charity lunch
The PICT annual luncheon took place on Friday 4th March, 2016 at the Riverbank Park Plaza Hotel in London.
The highlight of the PICT calendar and its biggest fundraiser during the year, the lunch attracted over 260 members and, in my opinion, it seemed busier and buzzier than last year’s event.
Unfortunately, the hotel in its wisdom has decided to refurbish the delightful Thames Suite, which overlooks the River Thames, to become its main restaurant and no longer a function room, so we were in the Plaza Suite. However, this was perfectly adequate and I personally don’t believe it detracted from the proceedings or, in fact, the excellent food and service the hotel provides.
The lunch followed a busy AGM for some of us (minutes of this a little further on) and for others a couple of liveners in the hotel bar.
Proceedings kicked off with the industry’s very own Master of Ceremonies, Peter Bothwick, who welcomed everyone to the 7th Annual PICT lunch and explained what the guests could expect from the afternoon, namely a raffle, an auction of top items and a variant on the game of heads and tails, as well as an unusual entertainer. He then introduced PICT’s new President Nick Gee, quipping that it was “out with the old and in with the not so old”. Nick Gee stood up and proposed a toast to the Past President, Andy Thompson, the sporting sections and winners, and the new Vice President – Joe Piggott, who was then called upon to give grace in his usual witty manner.
Following a tasty Venison Terrine starter, the game of knife, fork and spoon took place – this is played along the same lines as heads and tails – but obviously as the name describes it’s played with cutlery not coins. Joe Claydon was the winner of this fun version.
After a tasty main course, Peter Bothwick and Andy Thompson (aka the Chuckle brothers – only kidding guys!) went onto announce some of the items up for auction – these included golf days, tours of the Sky Complex, boat trips and hotel breaks. After some hot bidding by the guests, and much monies raised, a yummy lemon tart desert was served. Then following the coffees and liqueurs, Peter Bothwick, in his own inimitable style, formally introduced PICT’s new president – Nick Gee. He stated that the new President had the most distinctive and infectious laugh in the industry, saying that he joined Denmaur in 1979 as he was cheaper than an ansaphone …… !
Taking the podium, Nick Gee began by thanking Peter for his kind introduction and that his speech would be short as would like to enjoy a drink.
He thanked everyone for their warm welcome, and in particular, the raucous applause from his colleagues at Denmaur Independent “who are clearly aware that pay review time is not far away”. He went onto welcome the official guests, namely: Mrs Helen Esmonde – Master of The Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers; Mr Peter Millington – President of the Lancashire Paper Trade 25 Club; and Mr Paul Tooby of The Birmingham Paper Trade Social Society. He also welcomed all the guests of PICT members.
He continued by saying that his career in the paper industry started as a summer job many years go, in fact he had wanted to become a dentist, “little did I know then how similar buying and selling paper would be to pulling teeth!”
He added: “Nobody is more surprised than me, to find me standing here as President of the Paper Industry’s Charitable Trust.
In my mind I am still that young man about town, listening to Bowie, cruising around in my black Capri. However, anyone following politics across the pond will know that any aging playboy has a chance of becoming President!”
He then went onto say that since the last annual lunch much had changed in the world of UK paper merchanting and manufacturing with long established British brands disappearing.
Adding “whilst paper consumption continues to decline in many sectors, we are all rising to the challenge by reshaping and resizing to meet the demands of today and the future. I have every belief that if we are open to change, and evolve accordingly, the sunset of this industry will be a very long way in the future.”
Thanking everyone for their continued support of PICT, he said that despite the gloomy outlook sometimes reported that the lunch had attracted the same numbers as last year, adding “but then the paper industry is famed for enjoying a good lunch!”
Talking about the charity itself, Nick said that it continues to support those who have spent their working life in the paper industry and are now experiencing difficult times. “We encourage you to bring to our attention anybody you feel is deserving of our support – to do this please contact me, Anne James our Secretary or any of the Trustees.”
Talking about the sporting sections he said that he realised how precious everyone’s personal time is, however, he asked the members to consider taking part in PICT activities. “We have lively sports sections that need your support – so whether your interest be cricket, angling, golf or tennis – please do take a look at our website for events and get involved.”
He continued by saying that if sport wasn’t your thing, the immediate past President Andy Thompson was hoping to organise a number of regional PICT quiz nights, and that details would be posted on the PICT website.
Nick then took the opportunity of presenting Andy with his past President’s badge and thanked him for his year in office. He also welcomed to the PICT Board the new Vice President, Joe Piggott.
Nick then joked that at the recent Oscar ceremony nominees were told to keep their speeches short and when their time was up a red light would show. He said “I know that by now my red light is flashing and that the guest artist is more appealing than me.
“However, just like the Oscars, before I finish there are some important thankyou’s I would like to make.” He went onto thank PICT’s Secretary Anne James “who once again is the driving force behind making this event come together and so much else behind the scenes throughout the year.” He thanked the Sporting Section Secretaries, promising that during his year as President, he would make every effort to attend at least one of each of their events. He also gave a special mention to the Board and Committee for the time they give the charity. Finally, on behalf of PICT, he thanked all those companies and individuals that had generously donated prizes and auction lots at the lunch.
His final task was to introduce the guest artiste, Mr Graham Jolley, and hoped that everyone would enjoy the rest of the afternoon.
Graham Jolley is described as a psychological entertainer, able to perform any number of astonishing feats, baffling and thrilling his audience. And this he certainly did in large amounts – from magic tricks to mind reading. By the end of his act – I don’t believe there were many left in the audience wondering how on earth he did some of the things he did. He involved many of the guests in his tricks, and even yours truly was beckoned on stage and I still to this day don’t know how he managed to know the phone number I had picked from a very large phone directory ….. he definitely left me baffled.
A hard act to follow, but after the magical entertainment Andy Thompson and Peter Bothwick rounded off the afternoon by auctioning the final items. Then, as quickly as it had started, the formal part of the Annual Lunch was over – although as ever the jollities and networking continued into the small hours in the bar.
Once again, a successful event for PICT raising some £ ?????? and, in turn, a brilliant fun filled afternoon.
Annual Charity Lunch - Friday 6th March 2015
Annual lunch increases charity’s profile
The highlight of the PICT calendar – the Annual Luncheon – was held on Friday 6th March in the stunning Thames Suite at London’s Park Plaza Hotel, which overlooks the River Thames and the Houses of Parliament.
This, the 6th Annual PICT Charity lunch, followed a well attended AGM (report further on), along with a couple of pre-luncheon drinks. Not only is this lunch the industry’s largest social networking gathering of the year, but it is also PICT’s largest fundraising event, with around 260 members and guests coming along to this formal yet fun filled afternoon.
Proceedings began with the paper industry’s own presenter and comedian, Peter Bothwick, welcoming everyone to the lunch saying: “There will be short speeches, high quality auction items, and a high quality guest speaker.” He went onto say there would also be the usual fun ‘Heads and Tails’ after the starter, and a Raffle draw with cash prizes [a comment which drew a big ooooh from the audience!]. Joe Piggott was then called upon to say grace in his own unique style.
After a fine starter of Venison Terrine, Heads and Tails took place – it got very tense – down to six .. and then two ... John Tootle and Peter Brown – Peter Brown won and very kindly donated his bottle of champagne to the raffle.
Following the main course, the new President, Andy Thompson, took wine with the Committee, sport section secretaries and winners, and the new Vice President, who he named as Nick Gee.
A scrumptious pudding of champagne and strawberry torte rounded off the lunch, then Andy Thompson announced the prize draw – however there appeared to be some discrepancy with a signature and it was a Mr O’Neill that was finally declared the winner.
As the coffees and liqueurs were being consumed, Peter Bothwick took to the podium again to formally introduce the new PICT President – although not much introduction was needed as Andy Thompson had already held the post in 2012. A fact, indeed, not missed by Peter who said it was the first time since 1949 that a person had been bought back to hold the post again.
Peter Bothwick, himself a president in 2009, introduced Andy as the paper merchant’s paper merchant and was pleased that Andy had asked him to sing his praises again. He went onto update Andy’s CV stating that since his last term as president his CV had extended by three pages and he had worked for two more companies, adding that he had now turned his career path towards printers. Summing up, Peter said: “His energy and enthusiasm is second to none. Andy is a real asset to the paper and print industry, and above all he has a terrific sense of humour.” Everyone raised their glasses and drank to the President
Thanking Peter for his ‘kind’ introduction Andy Thompson came back to the podium where he welcomed everyone to the lunch and said that in his speech he would give an update on the Trust’s position and aims, stating: “I will keep the formal parts of the luncheon brief and to the point, whilst ensuring that everyone is made aware of the Charity’s purpose, challenges and intentions for the future.” But first came the thank you’s – he welcomed the top table guests and, in particular, thanked Anne James for all her hard work. He thanked Denmaur for its Gold and GF Smith for its Silver sponsorship of the luncheon. He also thanked PaperlinX for its monthly donations. He went on to thank the sports secretaries, and also thank Bev Steele for all his hard work as Editor of the PICT Newsletter and his hilarious stories. He then went onto thank the hotel and staff and everyone that works backstage.
He continued by announcing that Patrick Shorten had stood down last year and Barry Fowler this year as Trustee, and went on to award Barry Fowler life membership. He then awarded Alan Babcock with his past President’s badge.
Coming onto the main part of his speech he reiterated PICT’s mission - to help those who had fallen on hard times in the paper industry with either regular or one-off payments, as well as educational initiatives and donations to the Stationers’ Foundation. He explained: “We want to raise the profile of the charity work – so we are looking at social media platforms and would like help from the industry – Do staff want to join PICT and be involved? Do they know anyone who needs support?”
In conclusion, he summed up by sayingthat company operations were changing and that it was now a more challenging industry. Adding: “PICT is there to help those that need help and are in need.” At the end of his speech, Andy went onto introduce the guest speaker Peter Brackley, who hails from the world of sport broadcasting.
Addressing the audience, Peter jokingly commentated that he probably wasn’t top choice for presenter; and went on to say that he had brought along an item for the auction – whereby he held up a tiny Chelsea jumper – saying it had been used by Dennis Wise .... which gained a titter from those in the audience of a certain age that would remember this diminutive footballer, especially for his time with Chelsea in 1990-2001, where he also became Captain.
Peter continued by saying that everyone makes mistakes – and went on to cite some examples of the various reporting faux pas over the years. His impressions of the various commentators were excellent – mimicking such well known names as Ritchie Benno (cricket), Peter O’Sullivan (racing) and Geoff Boycott (cricket), After an interesting discourse interjected with amusing and sometimes very funny anecdotes, Peter summed up by saying: “If you enjoyed me I’m Peter Brackley, if not I’m Adrian Chiles!!”
The afternoon continued with the auction – which offered a selection of top items including boat trips on the Solent, golf days, vouchers for London theatre tickets and tours of the BBC – and raised good monies to the PICT funds. In fact, in total, the lunch raised £11,800.
Andy Thompson rounded off the official part of the afternoon, by once again thanking all the sponsors, and hoped that all the members and guests would continue to enjoy the rest of the day.
As ever the PICT luncheon was an enjoyable event, with a good time had by all..... and continued well into the evening, in that time honoured tradition of the industry, in the bar!! Roll on next year...
Report by Margaret Curle
Annual Charity Lunch - Friday 7th March 2014
The PICT Lunch is always special. It is that occasion when once a year Trade people meet for lunch to talk and enjoy and to be entertained. Friday 7th March was certainly one of those. It began in Suite 6 at the Park Plaza Hotel on the Albert Embankment with the AGM the Minutes of which shall be shown elsewhere in this Newsletter but I can tell that is was well attended and lasted for 30 minutes. During this time the out-going President Jeremy Martin briefly summed up his year in office, all the ups and downs of his time and passed the President’s Badge to Alan Badcock. With the new President firmly ensconced, Andy Thompson was elected to become the Vice-President despite having been President in 2012 and was given his badge of office. John Garlick delivered the Treasurer’s Report in his own measured and concise manner followed by Patrick Shorten with that of the Trustees. Regarding Patrick it was an especially poignant occasion in that he announced his retirement from that post which he has held for 7 years. He was applauded to the echo for his sterling work and his counsel will surely be missed. Peter Bothwick was elected to become a Trustee so he with Barry Fowler and Andy Thompson make up our complement of three. The 200 Club draw was called and the meeting was concluded. We then left to join the other Members and their guests who for the record numbered 234 in all, in the Thames Suite, a lovely room offering an inspiring prospect of the Thames with the Houses of Parliament just across the water. This really was impressive and made a splendid backdrop to our proceedings. Peter Bothwick was our Master of Ceremonies for this occasion, a role he played magnificently and much aided by a very good sound system. He began the proceedings telling us all of what was to come and for us to elect Table Captains to oversee the various charity happenings round the tables. The Heads and Tails game proved as popular as ever and Chris Godfrey was the winner and received a £100 wine voucher. Not bad for standing up and sitting down a few times!
Peter started the auctions early, a very good move as this from past experience it can be a drag on proceedings but it all went very well and at a good clip and good money was made for the Charity. The Raffle was another success, the lucky winners being:-
1st Simon Pilkington.............Wine vouchers
2nd Colin Fulford..................Hotel voucher
3rd Peter Bothwick................A Damon Hill print
4th Peter Walsh.....................Camera
Then the speeches. Mike Gee spoke of the commitment of the donors to PICT and then proceeded to give an extensive account of the life and times of our new President Alan Badcock, As I have made a profile of Alan’s life further along in this newsletter I will not enlarge further here on what Mike had to say but rest assured it was all very amusing and positive. Then came the President’s turn and he told us of his aims and vision for the Charity in a speech that was quietly impassioned if that is not too much of a paradox which were to encourage progress and make a drive to increase membership. Also to find more of those in need. He thanked Patrick Shorten for his many years of dedication.
Then we were to be entertained by our guest speaker Gary Richardson Sports journalist and Commentator sans pareil. A very, very funny man indeed. His “day job” is with the BBC heard on Radio 4’s flagship Today programme that goes out weekday mornings. Those that know the programme will have heard Gary managing to shoehorn within his reporting duties amusing stories and asides . His act is largely about these in a more developed form and of his mistakes both on and off air. Hilarious stuff. For my money he could have stayed with the microphone for the rest of the afternoon. A very well chosen performer. In addition he kindly offered as a auction prizes two 2 hour visits, accompanied by himself, to Broadcasting House to watch a sports programme being broadcast.
What with Mr Richardson and our very own Peter Bothwick, no mean performer himself we were very well entertained . With the guest speaker’s conclusion the afternoon came to its formal end and the members and guests gently eased away many to the hotel bars or other more local watering holes . In retrospect a very good day indeed and another very successful Lunch.
Annual Charity Lunch - Friday 15th March 2013
Bobby George the pro dart player was our MC for the proceedings. On the tables were forms for the “silent” and general auction plus 200 Club joining forms. The first thing you do, and it has become a regular item now, is to play the Heads and Tails game. My table was pretty well wiped out to a man on the first call but on the premise that it is better to be lucky than beautiful Ron Ingafield won. The President’s speech was made with his usual eloquence pressing us to support the Charity. He thanked all the donors including those generous folk that donated the auction prizes. He insisted that Patrick Shorten stood to take a tumultuous round of applause from us all for his good work and it was then he passed the Past President’s Badge to Andy Thompson. Nick Gee looking tanned and fit just back from ski-ing somewhere high and cold, responded for the Guests with a very witty well chosen form of words touching on the many facets of our new President both amusing and serious. He was followed by Ben Collins aka THE STIG who gave us a noisy and fascinating romp through motor sport with descriptions of his many achievements on the track and his time with Clarkson and crew on Top Gear. For us petrol heads Ben’s performance at the Lunch was simply the business.
The auctions and the darts game were called by Bobby George and it is about this part of the afternoon that comment must be made.
It is something of a first for this editor to tell of negative feed back, but much of this was received. Mr George scarcely managed to keep us all together, and his language was not appropriate to this event. That we are aware we did not get it right this time is an understatement despite achieving a good result for the charity but this will not be allowed to happen again. To remedy this the committee has put together a special working party to make improvements for the future. With this in view we ask those that were offended by this part of the afternoon to give us another chance to get it right next year. It would be a shame verging on tragedy if it were allowed to interfere with the important work this charity does for those in need.