NMBS, the UK's largest buying society for independent builders', plumbing and heating, timber, and hardware merchants has successfully staged its annual Gala Dinner.
This year's event took place on Tuesday 10th April, the evening before the 2018 NMBS Exhibition, and was held in the E.ON Lounge at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry.
Almost 650 guests, representing the full spectrum of NMBS' 1000 plus merchant members and 600 plus supply partners, gathered for the evening, which offered fine dining, first-rate entertainment and the opportunity for some relaxed and informal networking.
Following a drinks reception - which included the chance to arm wrestle a polar bear courtesy of Keylite Roof Windows and its ‘Bear-o-meter' challenge - guests were called through to dinner and welcomed by their host for the evening, comedian, author and columnist, Ian Moore.
Ian then introduced NMBS chairman, Tim Allen, who delivered an update on the buying society's performance.
In 2017, NMBS once again enjoyed a record year and has seen its turnover increase by 11% to £1.7BN.
It also paid out more in rebate and discounts than ever before with merchant members enjoying reimbursements and savings to the tune of £74M - a rise of £8M on the previous year.
Notably, NMBS continues to deliver these outstanding results whilst keeping its operating costs at impressively low levels which are below budget.
Tim also announced that he plans step down as NMBS chairmen at the buying society's next AGM in May. He has spent seven years in the role during which time NMBS' turnover has trebled from when he started.
Tim personally thanked the NMBS team for their support and assistance during his tenure as well as his fellow board members and the NMBS commodity committees, who help to ensure the buying society is run by independents - for independents.
He also thanked the assembled audience and the Gala Dinner's sponsors for their support of the evening.
Following Tim, NMBS managing director, Chris Hayward took to the stage to thank the outgoing chairman for his many years of hard work and input before presenting him with a thank you gift.
Chris was then followed by Andy Hextall, NMBS commercial director, who announced a charity prize draw sponsored by Makita in aid of the Rainy Day Trust and CRASH, and offering the chance to win a bundle of Apple products worth £1000.
This draw raised £5,692 for the two charities with the eventual winner emerging as Mark Smith from NMBS member, Grant & Stone.
The evening also featured a silent charity auction of a ScrewsArt™ portrait depicting Princess Leia from Star Wars.
This portrait had been donated by NMBS supplier, ForgeFix and was created using over 5000 of the fixing and fastener wholesalers' ForgeFast elite performance woodscrews.
It was bought by Callum Kegg from NMBS member, Toolstop, successfully raising over £500 for CRASH.
Following the evening's three-course meal, guests were treated to after dinner entertainment in the form of a unique version of BBC television's ‘Live at the Apollo'.
Commenting on the 2018 NMBS Gala Dinner, Chris Hayward said:
"True to tradition, this year's NMBS Gala Dinner proved to be an enjoyable and entertaining occasion which mixed business with pleasure. The strong attendance seen demonstrates the continued and important value of the evening in enabling our merchant members and our supply partners to network in advance of the biggest and best trading event in the independent merchanting calendar - the NMBS Exhibition.
"I would like to thank all those who supported the Gala Dinner, either as a sponsor or by attending, as well as the NMBS events and marketing teams for their hard work and for a job very well done."