Branch President Darren Pritchard, Prof MICME, welcomed members and guests to his end of year banquet and ball and also thanked the hotel for the excellent dinner. His guests for the evening were, National President Trevor Ayre, FICME, National Vice President Steve Hill, FICME, West Midlands Branch Vice President Mark Holliday, Prof MICME, West Midlands Junior Vice President David Hall, Prof MICME together with their partners, and also the guest speaker, Black Country comedienne, Ollie Spencer. Also present on top table was Darren’s son, Logan.
In his speech Branch President Darren made reference to and thanked the many speakers who had given their time to present lectures to the branch, with special thanks to those speakers who had travelled from mainland Europe. Also thanked were members of branch council, ICME head office staff and National Council officers for providing both help and support during his year as branch president. In addition to the technical lectures Darren spoke of the social side to the branch which has an additional aim of introducing the institute informally to potential members.
Outgoing National President, Trevor Ayre, spoke of the falling membership of the Institute and the need to attract new members. The West Midlands branch is the largest with 280 members but that only represents 5% of the number employed in West Midland foundries. The ICME is the only provider of foundry specific education and training essential for the long term health of the industry. Change is taking place in the Institute to make it more pertinent for today. In the last year the Institute established Foundry Training Services Ltd. led by Michala French. This company will provide all future training leaving Julia Cartwright to manage membership and other aspects of the institute. A new approach to boosting membership will be the introduction of Affiliate Member where companies can register affiliates with some of the benefits a full member may have including a discount on the cost of training. There will be further changes as the Institute pursues its many aims especially in relation to education and training.
Comedian Ollie Spencer wound up the formal part of the evening after which members and guests danced the evening away to the band Times Square.