Lunch with a legend at Langan’s

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.

John sankey and MM_Small

Today I had the immense pleasure of lunching with one of our industry’s great figures – Cecil Macdonald & Co President John Sankey.

For more than half a century John has shaped and driven the magnificent success story of one of travel retail’s best independent companies.

He not only forged a superb distribution and agency business but also ensured it was underpinned by constant values of honesty, fairness and decency. Along the way he has helped many an industry executive, including this writer on many occasions.

Over the past few years, he’s added immense human courage to his many qualities. As mentioned in an earlier Blog, John has confronted a series of cancers in recent times, from bladder, kidney and bowel to more recently lung. He’s undergone chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery, yet he’s still standing. He’s doing a lot more than that, in fact – he’s back playing tennis, bowls and golf as well as supporting his beloved Liverpool Football Club.

When he found out that I was suffering from cancer last year, his concern was immediate, deep and helpful. There’s nothing quite like the inspiration, insight and understanding that a survivor can offer someone going through the strain and uncertainty of cancer treatment.

This Sunday, 1 May, John will turn 79. Today we toasted that landmark as well as our mutual survival. First we did it with a fine Spanish white Rioja (Marques de Riscal) and later with a (generously measured) glass of Hine Cognac – a tipple that John many years ago built into a huge UK duty free success story. It was a warm, reassuring, high-quality blend. Just like John Sankey.

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