On Tuesday 6th December we held our 130th Anniversary Gala Dinner, which took place at the Merchant Taylors’ Hall, one of London’s traditional Livery Halls and one of the oldest still in activity. On such a special occasion, we welcomed nearly 200 guests who did not want to miss the opportunity to be part of the last corporate event of the year.
In fact, the Gala Dinner was the cherry on the top of a busy calendar of events our institution has organised during 2016 to celebrate its 130th years of activity during which it has paved the way for Spanish businesses to thrive in the British market and vice versa.
This black-tie dinner was presided by the Ambassador of Spain, H.E. Mr. Federico Trillo-Figueroa and we counted on the attendance of Mr. Álex Cruz, Chairman and CEO of British Airways, as our Guest of Honour.
The proceedings began with a drinks reception, allowing guests to interact with each other while enjoying a glass of cava or wine, both of which were kindly provided by our Patron Codorníu Raventós.
After the reception, guests were ushered to the Great Hall where dinner would be taking place and went on to take their seats. The proceedings of the dinner started with H.E. the Ambassador of Spain leading the traditional loyal toasts in honour of the King of Spain and the Queen of Great Britain.
Speeches began after dessert was cleared with the President of the Spanish Chamber, Mr. Javier San Basilio, taking the stage to welcome guests on behalf of the institution and thanking them for their outstanding support on the celebration of our 130th Anniversary.
He went over the achievements of the year, which have included the gaining of new members and Patrons, and warmly thanked our Guest of Honour for having accepted our invitation before giving the floor to H.E. the Ambassador of Spain.
In his speech, the Ambassador recalled the longstanding relationship between Spain and the UK and how the two countries should aim to strengthen their links. These words are of special relevance in a year that has been marked by the outcome of the British referendum in June and its potential implications for countries in the European Union with significant commercial links with the UK.
After the Ambassador, it was the turn of our Guest of Honour, Mr. Álex Cruz, Chairman and CEO of British Airways. In his address to our guests, Mr. Cruz highlighted the different challenges he has faced throughout his career in the changing landscape of the aviation sector, which has undergone an unprecedented overhaul since the appearance of low-cost carriers.
In fact, Mr. Cruz mentioned that in the 9 months he had spent in his current post at British Aiways he had incorporated his know-how in order to make the Heathrow-based airline more competitive whilst ensuring a great level of customer service. Mr. Cruz also announced the ambitious plans of British Airways, which include new routes from Gatwick to New York, and new connections with Spain, which is a key destination for British travellers.
In his final remarks, he went on to explain the impact Brexit could have on the industry, and reminded attendees that British Airways had opted for a neutral position in the run-up to the vote in June. He hoped the negotiations to leave the EU would not harm a sector that has already been affected by the depreciation of the sterling and which is at the core of the British economy.
When speeches ended, our guests could engage in further networking and greet Mr. Álex Cruz and the rest of attendees. The atmosphere was vibrant and relaxed as our Patrons, members and their guests mingled and exchanged their impressions of the evening.
We would very much like to thank our members and their guests for joining us on the occasion of our 130th Anniversary and for sharing such a special evening for our institution. We are truly grateful to our kind sponsor Codorníu Raventós for their contribution with the wines and cava that were served throughout the event.
Please click here to access the complete gallery of pictures of the 130th Anniversary Gala Dinner. For a short video on how the evening went, please click on the following link 130th Anniversary Gala Dinner Video.
For further information about events in 2017, do not hesitate to visit our Upcoming events section at www.spanishchamber.co.uk or subscribe to our newsletter to receive weekly updates in your inbox.