Former British Number One tennis player Andrew Castle hosted the Salvation Army Trading Company’s annual conference in London. The event also featured an appearance by Britain’s Got Talent finalist mezzo-soprano Faryl Smith.
Titled It’s Why We Do What We Do, the event focused on the achievements of SATCoL employees in raising valuable funds for The Salvation Army’s work.
Andrew Castle announced the day’s speakers, interspersing introductions with anecdotes and commentary, endearing himself immediately to the audience.
Anti-trafficking Response Co-ordinator Major Anne Read provided an overview of the historical and current work the Army is doing to support victims of human trafficking. Major Margaret Hardy’s emotive talk about the Family Tracing Service made a great impression on the audience, as did a film of two recent family reunions.
Acknowledgement was made of SATCoL’s Head of Clothing Division Nigel Hanger as he prepares to retire. A surprise awaited him at the meal later that evening when family friend, and Britain’s Got Talent finalist, Faryl Smith provided pre-dinner music in his honour.
There were also presentations to be made for retail awards, based on sales performance, in each of SATCoL’s 14 geographic retail areas, as well as regional awards, shop of the year and an award for outstanding achievement. This year Coatbridge took home the Company Shop of the Year award, while Bellshill scooped the Outstanding Achievement prize.
Speaker SATCoL chairman Lieut-Colonel Ivor Telfer, referring to The Salvation Army’s frontline work, told those attending the conference: ‘You make this kind of work possible.’
Andrew Castle’s after-dinner speech – covering interviews he had carried out on the GMTV sofa, life on tour as a tennis pro and much more – provided a light-hearted, climactic conclusion to the day.