Posted on 19th September 2019
On Wednesday this week members came together at the Woolpack for a Hog Roast. The idea was given to me for such an event by Lance, the owner of the Woolpack, who is always looking for ideas to continue the fantastic success he has achieved with this venture. He is also a great supporter of the BHBPA and of the town of Burgess Hill, as well as being a genuinely affable and genial guy.
I arrived early and he showed me around the pub, the gardens and the pond, and told me about all the work they had done to clean out the pond, which used to be a clay pit when Burgess Hill was a brickmaking centre. The pond had become clogged up with silt and eventually this had absorbed all the water and the pond dried up. After months of work removing hundreds of tons of silt and using most of it elsewhere, the pond was restored to life. Now, they have a group of ducks who live there permanently and other strays who stay occasionally.
They have created an adult area which has become popular with groups, and a lovely patio area where we enjoyed our hog roast. By 5pm members were arriving and within half an hour the place was quite crowded. I counted 42 members and friends at the event by the time the consuming of the roasted pork had begun. Networking was of course the name of the game, but it was networking through socialising and eating and drinking, which makes it more enjoyable. Several BHBPA Directors were there, including Jaffer and David Shore, although unusually Susan Fleet, the Chair, missed an event as she was in France doing good things for the Vera Lynn charity I believe.
How good it was to speak to old friends such as Dave Connaway of Cirrus Laser, Steve Powell of fresh Display Ltd and Paul Williams of Rewards. Good too to see former members there such as Jacky Hilary, Accredited Mediator, and Ann Druery, The Bookkeeping Ladies, and to hear that they are keen to rejoin the BHBPA. Of course it was good to see all other members who regularly turn up to events – they are the bedrock of the Association, without whose support it would struggle to continue. In general the subject of Brexit did not dominate the conversations, and I got the impression that people were generally wishing to see an end to it and feeling rather let down by government. It seems that the biggest problem, unsurprisingly, is the uncertainty and the inability to properly plan ahead.
By 7.30 pm most people had drifted away having had a couple of ales or wines perhaps, and just the hard core were left, including Phil Karn and Chris from Bio and the Geals, Matthew and Allison. How good it is to see a successful thriving pub at a time when pubs are, I believe, still closing in large numbers. Lance and Dee have been great supporters of the BHBPA and indeed of Burgess Hill. They have to be inventive, inclusive and very hardworking to make a go of it and they do a fantastic job. Long may it continue! Thanks again to them for hosting such a great event, and thanks too to all those who came along to support the BHBPA and the Woolpack.
"“I have belonged to this group since I started my own business, Lea Graham Associates, in 1986. The association has been through several incarnations since then, but its most recent one, BHBPA, is by far the best.
It’s much more than just a networking group, although it is supremely good at that too. BHBPA is inclusive and friendly and acts like a mutual-support society. The events are stimulating, worthwhile and often great fun and I believe most members share this opinion.”"
"I am delighted to have a long-standing relationship with the BHBPA. Since its foundation the Association has gone from strength to strength and there is no doubt that it has brought huge benefits to its members and the business community as a whole through the partnerships it has formed with the local authorities, Sussex Police and local organisations. It is paramount that Burgess Hill businesses have an effective collective voice."
"“We have been members of BHBPA from its inception, and seen the organisation steadily grow and expand into the dynamic entity it is today, bringing positive benefits to all its members.""
"This association was started with a lot of effort from a few local businessmen and has proved to be a very powerful and useful tool for our business. The BHBPA has influence at the top level; when action is needed, the BHBPA gets it done. We are kept in touch with all that is happening on our doorstep and will often act because of what is published in the weekly emails / newsletters."