Caithness Chamber of Commerce’s 42nd Annual Dinner a great success
Published 26 Sep 2014Business success was the theme of Caithness Chamber of Commerce’s 42nd Annual Dinner, held at the Weigh Inn, Thurso, on Friday 19th September.
The Chamber and its members had good cause for celebration, having attended the Scottish Chambers of Commerce’s inaugural Business Honours awards the previous week, where the Chamber and four of its members were shortlisted for awards.
Guests received a warm welcome to the event by the Chamber’s Chairman Stephen Sutherland, followed by an opening speech from Chamber Patron and Master of Ceremonies John Thurso MP who praised the achievements of local businesses over the past year.
The dinner’s keynote speaker was Sir Robert Rogers, retired Chief Executive and Clerk of the House of Commons. During his tenure, Sir Robert oversaw the undertaking of a massive efficiency and savings programme and he delivered a fascinating speech on the challenges of change.
Guests were treated to after-dinner entertainment from former Prison Governor Robbie Glenn. Robbie has had a long and varied career in the Scottish Prison Service, including serving as Governor of Barlinnie Prison and of Cornton Vale, Scotland’s only female establishment. Following his retirement, he has become a firm favourite on the after dinner circuit and it’s easy to see why, with his dry Scottish wit, timing and ability to read an audience ensuring that attendees were well-entertained.
The evening was rounded off with the award ceremony for the Chamber’s George Bruce Young Entrepreneur of the Year. This award recognises the achievements of a young, local businessperson who has displayed the necessary drive and determination to make their business a success. Annie Body of Annie’s Bakery scooped the accolade. She was presented the award, which was sponsored by Caithness Flagstone, by Sir Robert Rogers and Bill Baxter of Kongsberg Maritime presented her with a cheque for £500.
Trudy Morris, Chief Executive of the Chamber, said “The entries for the Young Entrepreneur Award were once again exceptionally strong. This award recognises the achievements of young people in the business community and Annie stood out as a person with self-determination and a passion to succeed. In a short period she has secured significant contracts and is now exporting her products out-with the county”.
Annie is a boutique baker and cake-designer, based in Canisbay, and has seen great success this year, with her products now being stocked in shops and cafes across Caithness. She has also recently secured some larger contracts with Natural Retreats to stock products in their John O’Groats and Cairngorm Mountain locations.
Commenting after the dinner Ms Body said “I was absolutely thrilled to win the award. The bakery has been going from strength to strength since we opened in March 2013, and we work extremely hard to make the highest quality produce, so it’s lovely to have it pay off.”
The quality of the applicants was also highlighted with a runner up to this year’s award Kerry Speirs, of Tartan at Heart. Kerry creates a unique range of gifts and accessories using 100% wool tartan and has gone from strength to strength over the past year.
Awards given and patrons entertained, the night was brought to a close by Stephen Sutherland, with special thanks going to the event sponsors: Nuvia, Cavendish Dounreay Partnership, John Gunn and Sons, Harper Macleod and JGC Engineering & Technical Services.