Panoramic of the NMBS Dinner Dance.

NMBS Dinner Dance raises £20K for charity

Published:  27 October, 2011

LONDON: Over 850 people flocked to the Great Room of the Grosvenor House Hotel on Saturday for the NMBS' 39th Annual Dinner Dance and raised £20 000 for charity. 

The gala black tie evening hosted a who's who of the merchant industry. The evening commenced with NMBS' new non-executive chairman, Tim Allen, giving his maiden speech. "NMBS is showing positive growth of approximately 10% and is on target to exceed £500m in turnover in what is still a fairly flat market," he reported.

Mr Allen went on to explain that NMBS' turnover has been boosted by record numbers of new members and the addition "of a few strategic supplier agreements".

Other key points covered were the Society's move in November to new purpose-built offices that will provide better access and parking.

Mr Allen also told guests that the 2012 Conference in Marbella, Spain on 21-24 June, looked set to be a major event in the calendar year and that it would have a powerful business programme.

The NMBS, said Mr Allen, was also working to provide a low cost and fully comprehensive response to the Green Deal and the opportunities it presented for independent merchants.

He explained how NMBS had managed to keep its operating costs at an all-time low. To assist with this endeavour, the Society had set up its own captive credit insurance to enable members to maintain credit limits and supply "no matter what happens over the next few months".

Mr Allen concluded his presentation by thanking all of NMBS' sponsoring suppliers. "Without their generous support this event would not have been possible," he said.

"Thanks must also go to the NMBS management board and commodity committees who help us to build on our strength of electronic trading, low overhead costs and extra rebates and discounts for all members." He also thanked the members. Without them, he said, NMBS "would not be around".

NMBS managing director Chris Hayward, presented the first 'I Love Independents' Awards ceremony.

This campaign, launched on 14 February 2011, highlights the benefits that independent builders, hardware, timber, plumbing and heating merchants offer to the professional tradesmen and end-users.

"The winning supplier supporter of the year," Mr Hayward said, "showed their commitment by sponsoring merchandise such as pens, posters and golf balls, along with producing brochures aimed at the professional tradesman emblazoned with the logo, which helped to raise the profile of the campaign". The award went to Makita and was accepted by the company's national sales manager, Ian Knowles. 

H&B buying group member Beatsons Building Supplies took the award for the 'I Love Independents' Day Challenge Winner and also for Independent of the Year, due to its "extremely high level of contributions to the campaign".

Mark Northway, the merchant's director, accepted the award for "the great open days that Beatsons ran on the 4th July 2011 at all four of its branches, including product demonstrations, barbeques, one day-only offers and family activities".

Said Mr Hayward: "Beatsons also received fantastic nominations from its customers. They praised the merchant's ' excellent prices', 'amazing customer service' and its 'friendly approach to all customers'."

The award for the 'I Love Independents' Merchant Supporter of the Year went to Martin & Partners. "This member has been proactively highlighting the campaign – from links on its emails and website, to holding charity car washes while wearing 'I Love Independents' T-shirts and holding a family fun day. The campaign was highlighted through coverage in the local press," said Mr Hayward. The award was accepted by David Dickens.

Many prizes were also won at the event. Ray Dix from Calder received an Apple bundle, including an iPad 2 from the main draw, sponsored by Makita.

The generosity of members helped to raise £20 000 for the NMBS' chosen industry charities – The Rainy Day Trust and CRASH.

Guests also took part in a silent auction, with all proceeds going to the Rainy Day Trust. A table auction of autographed Beverley Knight CDs helped to raise a further £3000 for Breast Cancer Care.

Musical group Beyond the Barricade performed a selection of famous numbers from Les Miserables. Guests were then treated to a star performance from Beverley Knight. She performed songs from her latest album, along with dance classics, to ensure the entire Great Room was on its feet, dancing until the early hours of Sunday morning.

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