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The bpma Celebrates 50 Years

The industry came together to mark the association’s half-century milestone.

More than 100 party-goers celebrated as the bpma marked its 50th anniversary with a river cruise down the Thames.

The bpma was founded 50 years ago by Samuel Raymond “Nobby” Clarke from Prestige Group after a visit to Chicago where he attended the National Premium Sales Executives show and came away inspired to set up a similar association in the UK.

Founded as the British Premium Manufacturers Association at the Prestige Group headquarters in Holborn, London, the name was changed when Bob Essery, sales manager at Arthur Price of England, was chairman, becoming the British Promotional Merchandise Association to allow premium, travel, merchandise companies and others who did not manufacture in the UK to join.

Members of the bpma board and secretariat were joined by bpma fellows, past chairmen and presidents and many others for an evening cruise along the river to see the lights and sights with the magnificent Thames as a backdrop.

After a champagne reception and barbeque, the chairman of the bpma, Matt Franks, thanked everyone for coming and shared a brief history of the association, before inviting current president Neal Beagles to try on the recently discovered chain of office which had been specially refurbished and updated for the occasion. The cake was then cut by industry veterans Keith Willis and Paul Beirne before guests partied the night away.

Matt said: “50 years old and still going strong!  It has been an honour and a pleasure to be involved with the bpma in this, our anniversary year, and it’s fitting that we are marking the occasion by bringing together so many of our members to celebrate together.”

Gordon Glenister, director general of the bpma, added: “Hitting the 50-year milestone is an amazing achievement for any organisation, especially given the changes in the promotional merchandise industry.”

David Lebond, a fellow of the bpma, commented: “As a past chairman and president, it is an honour to be part of this 50th-birthday celebration. The industry needs the bpma.” Mike Oxley from Lesmar added: “A great evening on the boat! The bpma is the lifeblood of the industry and a force for professionalism. What would we do without you?”

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