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I have been remiss in not recording an excellent day out last month with the Travel Retail Consortium in the UK, which saw an impressive £2,357 raised for charity (Comic Relief).
The venue was the London Houses of Parliament, the occasion the Consortium’s Annual Lunch. Attended by TRC members, along with some 74 guests from airport retailers, airlines, ferries/cruise-ships, distributors/agents and media, the lunch provided attendees with a relaxed networking opportunity and chance to meet old friends and make new contacts.
Taking place in the Churchill Room within the House of Commons, guests were treated to a Champagne reception on the terrace overlooking the Thames, followed by a delicious lunch.
I had the pleasure of sitting next to guest speaker Lord John Thurso (above) who was in superbly entertaining form. His automatic right as a heriditary peer to sit in the House of Lords was abolished in 1999 but he later stood for general election, duly representing Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross in the House of Commons. He thus became the first hereditary peer allowed to sit in the House of Commons without having to disclaim his title. “I turned professional,” he said to laughter.
Recalling the days when “if you could stand and talk without dribbling you would be on the front bench”, Lord John regaled guests with a series of great stories about Winston Churchill.
He told the most famous one of course, when Labour politician Bessie Braddock cried out in Parliament, “Sir you are drunk!” To which Churchill replied: “And Madam you are ugly. But in the morning, I shall be sober.”
[Another, along similar lines, saw Nancy Astor jibe to Churchill: “Sir, if you were my husband, I would give you poison.” Churchill replied: “If I were your husband I would take it.”]
The Travel Retail Consortium’s professional objectives are to raise standards of business within the channel; promote members’ products and services; discuss industry issues; and provide social and networking opportunities for key travel retail customers at annual events. As evidenced by last month’s lunch, it also does tremendous work for charity.
Note: All TRC enquiries should be made via the website (www.travelretailconsortium.co.uk) or firstname.lastname@example.org.