Master Merchants 2012: Steve Mckie, John Williams, Rob Lowson and Phil Birchall.

Simpson & Allinson crowned BMF Master Merchants 2012

Published:  30 July, 2012

CUMBRIA: A team from Simpson & Allinson was crowned BMF Master Merchant 2012 champions following a closely contested weekend in the rugged countryside surrounding Lake Windemere.

Twelve teams took part in this year’s challenge, throwing caution to the wind in a series of trials designed to test their physical and mental agility as well as their capacity for teamwork. After a closely fought contest, the Merchanteers, one of two teams entered by Simpson & Allinson of Barnard Castle in County Durham emerged as the triumphant winners.

The winning team, Steve Mckie, John Williams, Rob Lowson and Phil Birchall, are normally to be found behind the counter, in the yard or taking goods in. Two of the team took part last year and, while they do not claim to have a cunning strategy for success, between them they have a good cross section of skills and, just as importantly, they supported each other as they canoed, rock climbed, abseiled, broke codes and donned blindfolds to carry out tasks directed only by the claps and whistles of their colleagues.

Said Glynis Catterson, Simpson & Allinson’s finance director: “This was a fantastic team-building event for the whole company. We entered a team for the first time last year, and they were so enthusiastic about the experience we had people queuing to sign up when this year’s competition was announced. We are a relatively small company but our people put their heart and soul into this. As well as the eight who participated, a further twelve staff and managers turned out to cheer them on. Their support undoubtedly helped the Merchanteers to secure the top slot, and our other team, the Fabulous 4, to take third place.

“We will be back to defend our title next year, and I would encourage any business that wants to foster a positive team spirit to get involved with this event.”

Chris Harding, marketing manager of the BMF, who helped organise the event, said: “We were delighted to see 12 teams competing, making this the largest Master Merchant event for some years. And given the terrible conditions we have seen this summer, we were fortunate to have good weather for the whole weekend, which added to everyone’s enjoyment. I’m sure we will see even more teams competing next year.”

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