Column: The latest from St Albans Chamber of Commerce
PUBLISHED: 10:01 25 April 2013 | UPDATED: 10:01 25 April 2013
FORMER hostage Terry Waite CBE received a standing ovation from a very full St Albans Suite at Sopwell House Hotel on Friday at our St George’s Day Lunch, sponsored by Clydesdale Bank. The event was a complete sell-out again this year and was a huge success for the Chamber and the business community.
Guests enjoyed a traditional three-course British lunch and sang Jerusalem and Land of Hope and Glory whilst soaking up the atmosphere with 350 like-minded business contacts. Guest speaker Mr Waite, a truly remarkable humanitarian, had everyone hanging on his every word with tales of captivity, endurance, tolerance and above all his ability to forgive his captors.
Mr Waite spent seven years in captivity, five of which were in solitary confinement when he had no contact with the outside world and to this day shows no self pity or regret about the past. His humour, intelligence and integrity impressed and humbled the whole room which was full of respect for this amazing man.
Following the speeches a raffle and auction took place; donations will be made to Keech Hospice Care and Emmaus. Terry is the UK President for Emmaus and became involved over 20 years ago when Robert Runcie suggested he might like to be involved with setting up the first Emmaus Community in Cambridge in 1992.
Emmaus Communities enable people to move on from homelessness, providing work and a home in a supportive, family environment. Companions, as residents are known, work full time collecting, renovating and reselling donated furniture. This work supports the Community financially and enables residents to develop skills and rebuild their self-respect.
People become homeless for many different reasons but relationship breakdown, bereavement, addiction or abuse have often played a part. Emmaus Companions come from many different backgrounds but share a commitment to rebuilding their lives and participating in the life and work of communities. Mr Waite urged local businesses to consider helping Emmaus St Albans by offering employment to those individuals who have turned their lives around and who are willing, able and ready to work. If you would like more information about Emmaus please contact Tony Ferrier on 01727 817294.
The Chamber now looks forward to a full calendar of events for the summer months starting with a business breakfast on May 8 at OAs Rugby which is almost sold out. Then there is a speed networking event at Westminster Lodge. Places are limited so please book early.
We welcome the following new members to the Chamber: Brasserie Blanc St Albans, Bar Meze, Purple Menswear, Todds Doors Ltd, Choice Buffets, Keech Hospice Care and Waitrose.