Friday, June 3, 2016

UK Road Haulage Transport Event a Success

Celebrity Speakers Brighten Networking Event
Shipping News Feature
UK – This week saw the Hilton Hotel in London’s Park Lane host the annual Road Haulage Association Lunch, a chance for a host of operators of buses and freight vehicles, together with truck manufacturers and transport associated trades to mix and network in a most convivial atmosphere. The last minute loss of the main speaker was more that adequately managed with the substitution of Baroness Michelle Mone OBE, entrepreneur and parliamentarian and renowned as a public orator of some repute, plus a surprise appearance by well-known comedian Jim Davidson.

Speeches from RHA National Chairman Jim French and Chief Executive Richard Burnett set the tone of the day with the CEO briefly running over how the organisation was evolving under his leadership. The RHA has been outspoken in its criticism of the situation in Calais which has seen drivers attacked by would be stowaways ‘on a daily basis’. Richard Burnett spoke of recent additions to the RHA portfolio praising Lesley O’Brien for her initiative in setting up ‘She’s RHA’ and the launch of FR8 at the CV show last month.

FR8 is an insurance scheme set up in conjunction with Griffiths & Armour Insurance brokers and Aviva Insurance whilst She’s RHA is designed to draw more women into the industry. Special mention was made of the forthcoming National Lorry Week which runs 26 – 31 October 2016 and will include drivers attaching ‘Love the Lorry’ stickers to their vehicles. The idea is to capture the nation’s attention and help promote logistics as a worthwhile career.

Careers in fact were high on the agenda and special guest was comedian Jim Davidson, known as a supporter of British ex-military personnel and whose short address both amused and moved the audience. Davidson has got together with another well-known figure, Simon Weston and been working with the governor of Sudbury prison to help ex-military personnel who have lost their way and have little to hope for and look forward to.

From discussions with telematics group Microlise the 'Care After Combat' scheme took off and subsequently the RHA ‘Road to Logistics’ initiative we featured last month was spawned and during the luncheon funds were raised and equally distributed between this and the RHA Benevolent Fund. Jim Davidson told how he had started work as a delivery driver in Barking, a vocation apparently not much to his liking, and apologised for his need for spectacles, explaining that his old headmaster’s prophesy had finally come true, before saying:

”There are veterans in prison who have lost their way and we need to get them back into society, to repay them. The worst thing for these guys is their loss of relevance, losing the military family to which they once belonged.”

After sitting with Jim Davidson throughout the proceedings Michelle Mone admitted that her jaw ached from laughing so much. The inventor of the Ultima bra held the audience spellbound, particularly when she ran a slide show of models demonstrating some of her wares, and explaining how she went from the East End of Glasgow to head up a company she recently sold a controlling interest in for a reputed £20 million, to becoming the Government’s ‘Start Up Czar’.

The main point of her speech was to outline her recipe for success in business, ‘Passion, Determination and a Can Do Attitude’ which she said, coupled with a lot of hard work, had helped her overcome dyslexia, a father paralysed when she was just 16, and teachers who told her that her ambitions were misplaced and impossible, this from a woman who proceeded to produce a company with 63,000 staff and turning over around £2 billion annually.

Photo: Jim Davidson kept Michelle Mone amused between speeches.