The event was to thank 140 of the longest serving member companies, including Luton-based Vauxhall Motors which has been a supporter of the Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce since at least 1938.
Vauxhall has also gifted the Chamber the use of a Vauxhall Astra Turbo for one year. All 140 members will receive a Certificate of Appreciation – some were presented on Thursday (May 25) to those who were able to attend the celebration at Whipsnade.
Congratulations came from Adam Marshall, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce. He stressed the importance of the Chamber’s role in giving a strong voice to the business community, in facilitating international trade and in bringing members together.
Bedfordshire Chamber chairman Jeremy Brockis, partner and head of corporate at Luton-based Taylor Walton Solicitors, told guests: “We need for businesses to be heard, especially at this time, with Brexit. We need your support and we need your engagement.”
ZSL Whipsnade Zoo has been a member of the Bedfordshire Chamber since 1990. Zoological director Professor David Field said Whipsnade was achieving great things for Bedfordshire and around the world. The zoo is a truly global organisation which is putting the county on the map, he added.
Businesspeople at the celebration spoke of the benefits of being Chamber members, principally the networking opportunities and referral business.
Keech Hospice Care chief executive Liz Searle said: “Membership of the Chamber enables us to see an economic picture of the county and how confidence is rising and falling. The business intelligence from this is as important to us.
“We are also fortunate to have the corporate support of many local businesses. We also benefit from their expertise and are keen to make connections.”
Mary McEvoy, partner at Neves Solicitors in Luton, said: “Neves is this year celebrating its 150th anniversary and we see membership of the Chamber as a way of supporting the local business community. It is an effective way of getting to know other businesses.”