More than 300 business and civic VIPs descended on Preston’s historic Flag Market on Tuesday to begin the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce’s centenary celebrations.
A special civic proclamation ceremony was held, followed by a church service and President’s Reception at Preston Minster.
It began at 11am where the guests heard a celebratory speech from Preston City Council before the formal proclamation was delivered by Lord Shuttleworth, the Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire.
There was also music from the marching band of the King’s Division, who then led the delegation through the streets of Preston to the Minster.
Once at the Minster, the Vicar of Preston, Father Timothy Lipscomb, led a commemorative service which featured addresses from dignitaries including Chamber Chief Executive, Babs Murphy, President, Norman Tenray, incoming President, Dawn Cheetham, and Preston City Council’s Chief Executive, Lorraine Norris.
“It was a suitably special way to start what is a milestone year for everyone associated with the Chamber,” said Ms Murphy.
“I was heartened to see the turnout from members of the public at the Flag Market; we had always made it clear that we wanted as large a turnout as possible alongside our business and civic guests.
“I’d like to thank not only everyone who attended but also everybody who was involved in the planning and delivery of the event; the feedback we received was unanimously positive.”
Among the turnout included representatives from the Chamber’s pair of centenary patrons, RBS and Moore and Smalley.
“It was a pleasure to be present, both at the Flag Market and the Minster for the first of the Chamber’s centenary dates,” said Stephen Ford, RBS’ Director of Corporate Banking.
“The Chamber does a lot of excellent work on behalf of local firms and, as such, it was a reminder of the part they have played – and will continue to play – in shaping the society of tomorrow.”
“We thought it was always going to be a day which all those present would remember and it certainly lived up to that billing,” added Graham Gordon from Moore and Smalley.
“Babs and her team at the Chamber deserve congratulating for all of the hard they work they undoubtedly put into producing a thoroughly enjoyable event.”
Tuesday’s event was the first in a series of functions throughout 2016, commemorating the Chamber’s centenary year.
The others include a House of Commons reception and a black tie business dinner as well as match sponsorship packages at Blackpool FC, Preston North End, Preston Grasshoppers and Fylde Rugby Club.