A YEAR of celebration is looming in Lancashire as business people mark 100 years of a county institution.
The North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce is celebrating its centenary in 2016.
And the festivities kick off on Tuesday January 19 with full civic proclamation followed by a Celebratory Church Service at the Preston Minster.
The event, beginning on Preston’s Flag Market, will officially kick-start a year of celebrations.
It will be followed by a Business & Civic Procession to the Preston Minster where a celebratory church service will take place presided over by vicar of Preston Father Timothy Lipscomb.
The proclamation, which will be attended by the Mayor of Preston, Coun Margaret McManus, and a host of other civic dignitaries in full regalia, together with VIPs and Chamber Members, will start at 11am with an announcement from Preston City Council chiefs.
In March, the Chamber will host a delegation to London for a reception on the House of Commons terrace the evening before the British Chambers of Commerce annual general meeting.
And later in the year there will be a centenary business dinner, as well as special centenary-badged AGM, dragon boat racing and the Be Inspired Business Awards.
In addition there will be s a number of event sponsorships and VIP matchday sponsorships at a number of local sports clubs.
Chamber Chief Executive Babs Murphy, who will give an address to the congregation during the church service, said: “It is with enormous pride that I am able to represent the Chamber at such an historic event.
“There is a great deal to celebrate this year.
“This Chamber has done so much for so many businesses over its 100-year lifetime and continues to fervently serve the interests of the region’s business.
“I urge all businesses, not just members of the Chamber, to come along and show your support.”
The Chamber has appointed two Centenary Patrons who both have historical connections to the organisation. Moore & Smalley, founding auditors and The Royal Bank of Scotland, founding bankers who have played an integral part in the Chamber’s-100 year history.
Moore and Smalley’s Managing Partner Graham Gordon said: “We have a long and happy association with North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce and we are very proud to be able to celebrate the centenary year with them.
“We were appointed as the Chamber’s first auditors and we still work closely with them, especially on the Quarterly Economic Survey where we help to analyse and present the results.”
Stephen Ford at the Royal Bank of Scotland, who has also been named as a centenary patron, said: “We are proud to support our chamber in this auspicious year.
“We have worked alongside the chamber since its inception 100 years ago and it is as proud an institution today as it was then.
“As one of our most loyal customers, having been with us from birth right through to its 100th birthday, we are delighted to get on board as a centenary patron.”
North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce is the largest financially and politically independent business support organisation in Lancashire.
It has a membership base of more than 1,600 local companies across Lancashire and the Fylde.”