It only seems like yesterday that I was bobbing along in the vast expanse of the floor number 4 at the NEC, slowly taking in all the wonders that were the Bus and Coach show 2018. For a sad old busman like me this is my regular pilgrimage to worship at the altar of all that is good, shiny, and wonderful about the bus and coach industry, not just in the UK but from around the world. Indeed I am so old that I can recall when the bus and coach show was a collection of horses and handsome cabs, well actually no slight exaggeration.
Interestingly last year was also the celebration of the centenary of the end of the First World War and it was great to see an original First World War converted London trolley bus, that like hundreds of others had been converted and despatched to the front line, along with many other willing men and women who swapped uniforms, literally overnight to do their bit for King and Country. Quite amazing as it may sound that the First World War appears so far and distant in time, my mother still has the wonderful photos other mothers three brothers who had their photos taken in their uniforms. Young handsome lads that they were back then, they faced the full horrors of the Western front. Of the three lads two survived and one did not, Uncle Andrew as he as known was gassed, he was shipped back but died of his injuries. The other two survived ending up as Sergeants, and after it was all over they just slipped back home and never spoke about any of it.
But, as ever I digress, most years we have been represented by having a stand at the show, it has been an opportunity to engage, encourage new members, support existing members, and persuade lapsed members to return to the fold. It is also a great platform to encourage Corporate members and we have enjoyed some great success in explaining the benefits and advantages of membership. It has also been a chance to assess just how relevant we are to the membership by getting feedback about why people choose not to join. Often because their image about what we do is in stark contrast to what we actually do.
What I always enjoy about manning the stand is sharing the space with dear friends like Chris Ruane (Mr Fixit) John Carr, Andrew Hunter, Margaret Everson, as well, as the willing Corby volunteers. It is also a fantastic place to meet up with old friends as well as make friends, and as ever in business it is about relationships, and very often trust. And that is one of the best things about this trade show, it is a magnet for like minded souls who share the same interest. So as ever a great event and my sincere thanks to Kevin and Helen from CILT who funded this on behalf of the Bus and Coach Forum. See you next year folks!