On 16 February, the BOSS Business Supplies Charity (BBSC) held its first Patrons’ Dinner at Stationers’ Hall in London to celebrate the work of the charity and thank its supporters. In particular, BBSC expressed gratitude to the 12 Corporate Patrons – Avery, BIC, Brother UK, Fellowes Brands, Highlands, OPI, OT Group, Pukka Pads, Ryman, SC Johnson Professional, Uni Mitsubishi Pencil Company and Viking – as well as the charity’s Honorary Patron, the BOSS Federation.
BBSC Chair Martin Wilde said: “In these difficult times, with the cost of living rising rapidly, the need for financial support among current and former industry colleagues from the BBSC is greater than ever. As a result, we are incredibly grateful to these 12 wonderful businesses that have chosen to commit to supporting our work this year. It was appropriate for our inaugural Patrons’ Dinner to be held at the beautiful Stationers’ Hall, and we are very thankful that OT Group made this possible for us.”
BBSC Vice Chair Kelly Hilleard added: “We were massively pleased so many leading companies from our industry had representatives at the dinner. Knowing the charity has this kind of support is incredibly encouraging as we look to another year of helping our beneficiaries meet rising living costs. It also means that planning next year’s event can go ahead with confidence.”
With a little help
Phil Jones MBE from BBSC Patron Brother UK kindly sponsored the guest of honour Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards – a bona fide national treasure. Despite coming last in the ski-jumping competition, he is the only name anyone can remember from the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary.
Edwards inspired and astonished the room with a powerful speech revealing his sheer tenacity in pursuing his dream. He captivated everyone listening with his story of destitution – for long periods of his training he survived by eating leftovers scrounged from waste bins – and lack of encouragement or support from the sport’s governing body.
What made the story so appropriate for the Patrons’ Dinner was that he succeeded partly because of the generosity of his peers. Watching him train at expensive facilities with borrowed and third-rate equipment, members of properly funded teams from other nations encouraged him by donating equipment.This included skis, a jumpsuit and even a helmet – which replaced one that fell off when he attempted the 70-metre jump because it was only tied on with string.
It was no surprise Edwards won the audience’s hearts – both in Calgary and at Stationers’ Hall – as the living embodiment of what can be achieved with a dream, some determination, a lot of courage and a little help from your friends.
There’s no doubt Edwards will be a hard act to follow, but BBSC is already planning its 2024 Patrons’ Dinner – as well as what is hoped to be a very special celebration to mark its centenary in 2025.