I came to Longridge in 2008 as a result of being invited to assist with saving a local business which had fallen on hard times and potentially affecting the employment of 30 local people and their families. Over the past 10 years we have firmly established OBAS UK as a highly respected organisation which supplies building, plumbing, PPE and personalised clothing to a national client base with our achievements being recognised through a variety of prestigious awards.
I am fortunate to hold a variety of high profile positions within Lancashire and London which include being a Director and immediate past President within the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, a member of the board with the British Chambers of Commerce for the Nominations Committee, UK and Global Accreditation boards, An Entrepreneur in Residence at Lancaster University and a Fellow of the Lancashire Community Foundation.
The past 10 years have been hard with a huge variety of challenges and obstacles, often many have seemed virtually impossible to tackle, but with a cocktail of tenacity, insanity, passion and enthusiasm we have continued to drive the business forward.
When approached a couple of years ago to be President for the Goosnargh and Longridge Agricultural Show I was initially both surprised and confused, I had very little understanding of Agriculture and the shows history and was incredibly impressed with what I was told about the heritage of the show and how it unites the local community with a focus on protecting and promoting our local Agricultural community.
I now understand that Agriculture is a business, similar to many others with a diverse range of challenges. Whilst it is hard work and often demands huge investment of time I am delighted to have gained a better understanding of the emotional bond and rewards associated, and the part everyone plays as custodians for future generations.
Within my role with the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, I have chaired the quarterly economic survey results for Lancashire since 2013. I am acutely aware of a variety of economic concerns which must be addressed to improve GDP. These include a need to train and develop our people for the huge skills gaps we have within our local communities, and then provide the environment for them to remain within Lancashire.
I have learnt through my involvement with the Goosnargh and Longridge Show that there is tremendous passion and energy being invested by the organisation team and local businesses to ensure our local Agricultural community remains a crucial part of our everyday lives as it is a fantastic part of our community and heritage which I have learnt to love. It is impossible to imagine what the landscape of Goosnargh and Longridge would look like if we lost the existance of our Agricultural community and suspect that we would become a soleless community of residential households.
I am acutely aware and respectful of the incredible efforts of the organisational team, the strong support of existing local businesses and individuals, the amazing investment of time and energy of previous Presidents, I believe my mission and focus in supporting them should be to galvanise further support beyond what has happened historically to ensure that our Agricultural heritage is protected at all costs and that there is a better understanding of the industry, and that we attract more support in every angle of the community and within the corridors of power.
To conclude, we cannot continue to take for granted the huge importance of Agriculture within our lives. There are huge concerns regarding our health with diabetes, obesity and quality of life which I believe can be resolved with a strong focus on buying local produce, protecting our landscape of wonderful countryside and animals. I believe that everyone within our community has a responsibility to protect this at all costs as they truly enrich our lives for the better.