The IRTE Northern Centre annual dinner dance at the Barton Grange hotel near Preston attracted nearly 150 attendees and was a chance to reflect on another highly successful year for the influential regional group.

Northern Centre Honorary Chairman Andrew Marshall welcomed guests and thanked the event sponsors for their support throughout the year. Table sponsors ranged from maintenance contractors, recovery specialists, commercial vehicle dealerships and road transport contractors. They joined guests, centre members and SOE honorary officials and officers for a four-course meal, dancing and party games.

Andrew thanked SOE Past President Howard Seymour for his appearance, before current President Mick Sweetmore talked to the audience about the Society’s plans for the year ahead.

Chair of IRTE Services Ltd and regular at Northern Centre events Chris Grime presented SOE Chief Executive Bruce McGill with an engraved cut glass paperweight as a memento of his first visit to the Centre.

In commemoration of Northern Centre Committee member John Ashcroft, who sadly passed away earlier this year, the fundraising team from St Catherine’s Hospice in Preston - an organisation that had cared for John - were invited to hold a raffle using prizes that were generously donated by the table sponsors and other guests. The raffle and a series of games generated funds to help the running of the local charity.

After his visit, Bruce said: “Thank you to the Northern Centre committee for organising a thoroughly enjoyable evening. I thought the whole event was a credit to your Centre and it was very clear that the Centre is a focal point for the road transport community in the North. This doesn’t happen by accident and I commend you all for all the hard work and commitment that makes this possible. Long may it continue!”