Industry sets fundraising record at merchants’ best-ever Conference
The BMF has confirmed that a record sum of £71,531 was raised for charity during the Gala Dinner that concluded its All Industry Conference in Budapest last weekend. The total was even higher than the estimate given on the night. The money will be divided equally between Variety, the Children’s Charity, the charity of the Crystal Clear Group, and the Teenage Cancer Trust, the BMF’s charity of the year.
Conference delegates showed their generosity in many different ways throughout the evening. The highlight was a special auction where the star lot, a Fiat Abarth 595 Tourismo donated by the Crystal Clear Group, sold for £19,000.
Comedian and impressionist Jon Culshaw, who has strong links with Variety, joined Conference host, Gethin Jones on stage to encourage every member of the audience to get involved. A silent auction of lots ranging from holidays to sporting memorabilia raised well over £30,000 and, after Paddy Ashdown’s excellent speech earlier in the day, there was no surprise when someone bid £3,000 to lunch with him.
John Newcomb BF MD said: “We hoped to raise an exceptional sum for two very deserving charities and I am unbelievably proud of the industry for achieving even more than we ever imagined. I’m told that this is the highest sum our industry has raised for charity in a single night and I would like to thank everyone who contributed. I must also thank Martin Randall and the Crystal Clear Group whose donation of a limited edition car caught everyone’s imagination and made such a significant contribution to the evening’s overall fundraising.”
Martin Randall. Crystal Clear Group Chairman and Variety patron said: “I can only echo John’s appreciation of our colleagues in the industry. Their amazing generosity has raised a huge amount of money and these valuable funds will help both charities continue to make a difference to the lives of the people they support.”
Expressing his appreciation, Keith Yonish, Marketing & Commercial Director at Variety, the Children’s Charity, said: “We cannot thank enough the BMF, its members and Martin Randall of Crystal Direct for their support and generosity. We are overwhelmed by the amount raised for Variety, in just one evening. This much needed donation for the charity will certainly go towards helping make a real positive difference to disabled and disadvantaged children and young people across the UK.”
The Gala Dinner was the climax of what many delegates have described as the best BMF All Industry Conference yet, where they were inspired, educated, entertained and had plenty of opportunities to network.
Reflecting on the event, Paul Turner, Strategy Director Wolseley UK said: “The BMF conference this year provided insight from within the industry and from some excellent specialist presenters. The whole conference hung together really coherently around Change, Challenge and Opportunity and provided some great networking and food for thought. One of the best conferences I have been to.”
Malcolm Gough, Group Sales and Marketing Director, Natural Paving Company added his congratulations to the BMF team who organised the event. “BIG congratulations on pulling off one of the most thought provoking, entertaining and enlightening conferences yet. The speakers were all excellent. My note pad is full of scribbles and ideas that I am definitely taking back to our business.”
The sell-out BMF All Industry Conference was attended by 430 people.