As Coordinator of the BHBPA I spent most of Wednesday travelling around to collect raffle prizes for the BHBiz Awards Event next Friday. It was a great way to get out into businesses. I was made welcome at at least seven different companies during my rounds. I called Tony Cottey at the County Ground in Hove before leaving home and discovered that he was in the gym working out. I was able to go over to the busy County Ground and pick up the 2016 Championship signed shirt, after leaving the car briefly on yellow lines outside and dashing in to the shop. The ground is now used for public parking and has been jammed on both occasions I have been there recently.
From there I drove into Burgess Hill centre, was lucky to find a free hour’s parking in Station Rd and headed for Sutton Winson IB and Travail Employment Group. I was offered tea or coffee at both companies. Indeed, I stayed to chat at Travail for a while until they had to kick me out to avoid a parking ticket, clutching a heavy raffle prize of champagne which they had generously given.
I then headed on to Porsche Mid Sussex and Nova Direct Mail. At least parking was easy at Nova Direct. After a tour of the warehouse, a look at the automated sewing machine at work putting badges on school uniforms and a discussion with Andy Fry about the large number of wooden crates there which relate to his latest business idea, he pointed out to me the redundant desks in the corner. Making a mental note that I must call Bluelite about them, I picked up the generous Nova prize and went on to Porsche Mid Sussex. Again, parking was easy and whilst waiting for Tiffany I was invited to take a seat next to the coffee and delicious looking cakes! Needless to say, I couldn’t resist…
Stowing away the ‘Silverstone Drive’ Porsche raffle prize, and with a pocket full of cakes, I headed for Sheddingdean.
On driving through Marchants Way at Sheddingdean I was struck by how much more congested the parking situation had become since I was last there a couple of months ago. Or did I go there at a different time of day? At Steve Willis Training I found my way through the offices to Amanda, who gave me another super raffle prize. On the way out of Sheddingdean I popped in to see David at DPS, to share a laugh with him, as always, to compare notes about Ireland and to pick up some certificates he had kindly printed for us before moving on.
My next stop was at the home of Richard Strange, a recently joined member of the BHBPA, whom I had known since teaching him History at Oakmeeds. He also happens to be someone I knew well from Burgess Hill FC and was a brilliant footballer. He is a member of Travel Counsellors, and has been in the travel business since leaving school. The last time I spent an evening with him several months ago I arrived home slightly the worse for wear and with a gaping wound in my head! he thought it was amusing. More tea and lots of chat ensued. I left there an hour later with some good ideas for a holiday and a raffle prize of two tickets for a Manchester United game next month..
The end point of my tour was Autowise in Victoria Road, where I managed to get yet another cup of tea and of course a few laughs out of Paul Shearing. This guy is the mastermind behind the BHBiz Awards event, and he really enjoys his role as Chairman of the BHBPA. We may struggle to find a replacement who is so committed, generous, personable and funny.
The point of all this is to flag up to all and sundry that members of the BHBPA are generous, friendly and welcoming, as well as incredibly supportive of each other and the BHBPA. We now have 20 brilliant prizes for the Awards Event, which will enable us to raise a large sum through a raffle for St Peter & St James Hospice, a worthy cause indeed. I am sure that on the big night people will give generously and hope that maybe they will get one of the fabulous prizes.
One other aspect of life which was noticeable was the increasing difficulty of parking anywhere. Earlier this week someone from Leap Environmental, responding to an incident that morning, asked me to offer a reminder that even when in their cars people need to be calm, respectful of others and patient. In the face of an ever increasing pace of life, increasing traffic and numbers of cars, and fewer places to park them, we should all remember that.