MAA marks 15 years with special birthday dinner

VIP speaker, new West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, celebrates aerospace as success industry, £1,470 raised for charity.

It has been 15 years of clear skies and high-flying for the Midlands Aerospace Alliance, which has celebrated its 15th Birthday with an elegant black-tie birthday dinner. The jet-setting evening at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Birmingham was attended by 140 guests and raised £1,470 for the Midlands-based ex-service personnel charity ‘Once, we were soldiers’.

The evening commenced with a champagne reception and purchasing tickets for a raffle to win fabulous prizes donated by our generous members. The reception provided a chance to network with key players in the aerospace industry. Guests then took their places in the elegant dining room where they were warmly welcomed by David Danger, MAA Chairman and Managing Director of the UTC Company Marston Aerospace and by Peter Smith, MAA Vice Chair and Chairman and Chief Executive of the dinner’s sponsor Nasmyth Group.

David and Peter highlighted the timeline of achievements the MAA has accomplished and introduced some of the MAA’s upcoming and exciting new ventures. Not least among these is a brand new collaboration between the MAA and Santander, announced by Jason Necker, Regional Director, and Corporate Banking for Santander in the West Midlands. Santander and the MAA will be working closely together on a series of international trade missions for MAA members, beginning in Poland in May 2018.

Following the announcements, the MAA’s guests and members were delighted to listen to a riveting speech from the recently elected West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street, who has already visited UTC Aerospace Systems in Wolverhampton and Mettis in Redditch. The Mayor spoke passionately about his vision for the Midlands and the initiatives he intends to focus on for the region. He highlighted aerospace as a sometimes “hidden gem” manufacturing industry in the Midlands which he plans to promote during his tenure. The Mayor was given an ovation by the assembled MAA members and guests.

After the four-course dinner, MAA champion and ambassador Anthony Barlow, who has been closely associated with the body since 2002, spoke with pride about all that has been achieved in 15 years. Anthony was invited to cut a sumptuous birthday cake emblazoned with the famous MAA logo before being presented with a pair of beautiful cufflinks made from genuine Avro Vulcan engine parts by MAA Chief Executive Dr Andrew Mair, in recognition of his many contributions.

The prestigious event proceeded to the drawing of the raffle, with fingers crossed around the room to see if one of the nine fabulous prizes might be won. By common consent, the jewel of the evening, on which many hopes rested, was a giant Lego Star Wars Millennium Falcon. An impressive amount had been raised of £1,470 for the charity ‘Once, we were soldiers’. After much anticipation, and to laughter all round, the longed-for Lego set was won by the MAA’s Maxine Oatridge, who promised to bequeath it to her daughter (honestly).

To cap off a memorable evening of business networking and celebration, the guests were thoroughly entertained by the anecdotal BBC Midlands Breakfast presenter Nick Owen. Nick had already generously donated to the raffle a tour of the BBC studios and a chance to see a live recording of a show in production. He naturally took to the stage and gave a compelling and humorous account of his time in the industry, of the many famous celebrities he had met and of his time as Chairman of Luton Football club. Nick’s comical stories were met with roars of mirth – and the odd cringe at a few “dad jokes”.

By the end of the evening, the guests and the MAA team were able to congratulate each other on a few hours of business networking very well spent, “a truly classy event” according to one guest, who was echoed by another’s “a fantastic evening”.

The MAA would like to say thank you to the following companies which donated raffle prizes: AE Aerospace, Columbia Precision, Esterline, Jonathan Lee Recruitment, Moog, Rolls-Royce -- and Nick Owen. Last but by no means least, the MAA thanks Nasmyth Group for sponsoring the evening’s festivities and Santander for supporting the dinner.

We look forward to seeing you all to celebrate our Midlands aerospace industry at next year’s dinner! Companies interested in attending or sponsoring next year’s dinner, please do not hesitate to contact Anne Esterson on 02476 430250.

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