Celebrating a proud achievement for one of the founders of BHBPA

Susan Fleet awarded an MBE

A very well deserved award for all her decades of work

Susan started young, organising concerts from the age of 13. She has been awarded her MBE for services to music, charity and fundraising.

When she met Dame Vera Lynn a lifelong friendship developed, supporting and promoting Dame Vera’s work. She is still working hard even after Dame Vera’s death to make sure she is long remembered with the statue to be erected in Dover. This is a huge charitable undertaking and David Amess MP was heading that up until his untimely death. 

Over the years she has immersed herself in promoting and organising fundraising projects,  supporting individuals and other causes both local and national. Part of this honour is for services to music and we all know how much passion Susan has for organising, encouraging young musicians and bringing so many diverse musicians together to perform for charity. She is also an outstanding performer herself.   

We are proud of Susan’s very long involvement with Burgess Hill’s business community. With that in mind, we took this opportunity to ask her for a few words to explain how that all began…

Susan Fleet MBE

When I joined the Burgess Hill Industrial Group (BHIG) in 1986, shortly after founding Lea Graham, I could never have imagined it would metamorphose into what is now – our admired and respected BHBPA.

There was another business incarnation in between – Burgess Hill Business Alliance (BHBA), chaired by Tony Grant-Salmon from Knowles in which fellow director, David Shore, and I were involved from the inception.  Both the BHIG and BHBA had their merits, but it is our present organisation that really cemented the business community in a cohesive way with greater involvement from other industrial sites in the town and successful networking. I’ve always thought of our Association as a mutual support society and have been proud to serve as a director for many years, then chairman from 2018 – 2021.

My instigation of BHBiz in 2017 was a real highlight for me. I vividly remember the look of incredulity on the faces of the board and steering committee when I suggested that BHBPA deserved its very own business awards. When we successfully staged BHBiz at the Amex Stadium on 5 May to a packed conference suite filled with great atmosphere, I felt chuffed… and somewhat relieved!  Our small and perfectly formed working group (Paul, Peter, Emily and Esther) felt justifiably proud as did the deserving winners. The second BHBiz was equally successful and maybe they will be resurrected again in the future. Sadly, Covid has scuppered so many of our plans for the time being.

The Burgess Hill Means Business exhibitions were also successful and again the ‘A-Team’ pulled it out of the bag.  We had great fun in the process… and raised money for St Peter & St James Hospice. Over the years we’ve been able to make some useful fundraising contributions, which also ticks boxes for me.

Although some might say I’ve been around too long, I will continue to be a director of our Association as it’s a link with what has gone before. You never know, on a good day, I might suggest another initiative…

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