There's nothing like a good binge to bring people together and our 10th Anniversary Dinner on Wednesday 30th October was no exception.
Broadsheet - November 2002
It started in style with a Champagne reception, went on with two varieties of wine and ended with the College Port. The college was Wolfson, which, although a fairly recent addition to Cambridge University, has quickly got up to speed in its 37 years and can vie with many another high table with the quality of its cuisine. From small beginnings Wolfson has become one of the largest with 800 graduate students from all over the world, some 80 different countries being represented.
Guy Mulley kept us amused as Master of Ceremonies and invited our President, Professor Roger Needham to welcome us to the college. Being a Fellow of Wolfson he used the briefest of the college's latin graces, "Benedictus Benedicat", and then on completion of three delicious courses summoned us to our feet for the Loyal toast. This was followed by the club's founder, Malcolm Wilkinson, who told us how it all began. Like so many other features of the Cambridge Phenomenon we were a spin-off, in this case from a Department of Trade and Industry initiative. This was the setting up of the 1992 Business Clubs to create a network helping small companies into the single market created by the Maastricht Treaty. The small committee then formed, three of whom were present at the dinner, steered us into technology as well and we launched at a seminar on 23rd July ten years ago. The formula of food, time for socialising and having a variety of speakers seems to have paid off, especially when we introduced yearly questionnaires to ensure that the topics matched members needs. Of particular importance to the success of the club were the sponsors who provided money or services in kind, and we are very grateful to NatWest, TWI, St John's Innovation Centre and Webtec for their very generous support.
Sir Fred Catherwood then proposed a toast to the Club. He praised us for our part in providing a focus for encouraging European unification and wished us well in the future. Ever a staunch European he decried the political squabbles and the black Wednesday debacle and hoped for greater unity with the entry of the Eastern European states and the adoption of the Euro by the three remaining doubters, including Britain. His speech was followed by a vote of thanks by the Club Chairman, Roy Cuthbert. Networking opportunities were ever present from the reception, during dinner at group tables and for quite a time after the speeches when members and guests circulated. Altogether a most successful and satisfying event.
Occasionally, just three times over those ten years, we have had to cancel meetings for one reason or another - ill health of a speaker or lack of interest. We were rather surprised that the first meeting of this season suffered the same fate, especially as the topic was top of the pile from the returns of our questionnaire. It was with great regret that we had to tell the few who had applied that there were not enough to warrant the travel and time of our three speakers on Environmental Issues for Business set for 26th September. We hope there wasn't a fundamental flaw in our operating procedure and it was just a matter of date clashes, which are very difficult to avoid. The subject for our next meeting on 28th November, Drug Discovery to Human Trials, was also high on the list, but I have to say that we have already had applications for it even before this notice has gone out, due to the excellent publicity we get via the Cambridge Evening News.
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