Lords Cricket Ground, London and winter sunshine provided the perfect backdrop to the Travel Retail Consortium’s annual day event for its airline, airport and ferry customers. The 58 TRC members and guests enjoyed a tour of the ‘Home of Cricket’, learning about the game’s development over 400 years, seeing the irreplaceable Ashes urn and visiting the famed Long Room and Dressing Rooms within the heart of the Pavilion.

Following a Taittinger Champagne reception, Members and Guests enjoyed a sumptuous High Tea with wines from Accolade and tea choices from Twinings, before being highly entertained by Alec Stewart – the most capped English Test cricketer of all time, whose reminiscences of his career and stories of fellow cricketers kept the audience in fits of laughter.

Introducing the day, TRC chairman Peter Ayling welcomed guests, describing the Consortium events as “a great way to finish the week with a glass of Champagne and a fantastic networking opportunity”.

“The primary purpose of the TRC’s annual gathering is to give our members and guests the opportunity to sit down as a group in a relaxed environment and chat,” he said.

The occasion is certainly welcomed by guests, as global buyer Tourvest Anthony Faull confirmed:
“Once again the TRC have excelled themselves. The Lords venue was an inspirational choice and not only for the gents! I heard a number of the ladies present commenting on how interesting the day was. A great guest speaker in Alec; it was brilliant to listen to the antidotes from his playing history. Add to that the privilege of going into the Long Room and players’ changing rooms, all round a great day! Well done to all involved.”

Adds Anthony Fletorides, general manager DFASS UK Ltd: “I found the event to be very useful and a great opportunity to catch up with old friends and meet new people in the retail environment. I had the pleasure of listening to a Cricket legend and visit a wonderful place with loads of history thrown in too. Always a great event to attend.”

From Beatrice Esterle at Brittany Ferries: “Once again the Travel Retail Consortium have found a unique venue for their 1st event of 2016 : Lord’s Cricket Ground in London. The event included a tour of Lord’s Cricket Ground with a guide and with Alec Stewart. I must confess that as France is not a cricket nation it was hard for me to understand. Nevertheless it was instructive.The Afternoon Tea was very pleasant. As always it was a good opportunity to meet some of my suppliers and share information with them. It was also the opportunity to meet and exchange with people I had never met before -some of them belonging to other ferry companies. Travel Retail is a small world –like a family. I always look forward to attending the Travel Retail Consortium events!”

Virgin Atlantic’s Charles Vine agreed: “The afternoon was laced with many great moments and I enjoyed it very much. Peter’s unassuming charm and wit is a true representation of the TRC’s inclusive and friendly vibe. It’s a rarity in today’s commercial world and all the more welcome for that. Alec’s life affirming speech and the tour of such a grand piece of our heritage made the end of the week – as with my first TRC event at London Zoo – wonderfully enjoyable and memorable. There was even a bit of light networking.”

As is customary, a “£5 in the Pot” Raffle for numerous splendid prizes donated by TRC Members raised £455 for the Guillain Barre Charity – the Chairman’s charity of the year which provides information and support to those suffering from this rapid-onset of muscle weakness caused by the immune system damaging the peripheral nervous system.

Attending the day were representatives from Ambassadors Choice, British Airways, Brittany Ferries, Cavendish Ship Stores, Condor Ferries, DFASS, DFDS, Gate Retail Onboard, Harding Retail, Macintyre Scott, P&O Ferries, Tourvest, TFWA, Virgin Atlantic, World Duty Free Group, along with members of the Media.