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12 · 2008 Conventon

that it almost entirely wiped out the island’s population of chickens, pigs and beef cattle and kept a small army of pastry chefs busy for a fortnight.

  • Trip to Soller

The party met on the Sunday morning for what promised to be a fascinating trip to the town of Soller. A 45-minute coach journey wound up through the hills of Palma before descending into a valley strewn with trees bearing almonds, lemons, oranges and figs, finally arriving at the picturesque coastal town. After some initial confusion when an arcing overhead line caused a temporary power outage throughout the town, the party took the opportunity to take in the local sights before meeting for lunch on the terrace of the Randemar Restaurant. Having consumed so much food over a two-day period, most of the delegates were unable to walk more than 100 yards unaided. No problem for convention chairman Patrick Williamson who had laid on a tram ride through Soller to join a beautiful wooden train on the Vall Dels Tarongers line for the return journey to Palma. Despite having been in operation for the best part of a century, the train swept effortlessly up the mountainside, affording spectacular views of the cloud-shrouded mountain tops and down to the sun-baked valley below. With timing that was military in its precision, the train brought delegates back to Palma just in time to climb into their Sunday best for the black tie gala dinner and an unexpected awards ceremony. The prize-giving began with the presentation of the Claude Brown Trophy to Les Rose of Clifford Devlin. This was followed by the award of a large number of highly sought-after

MP4 players to the winners of Marubeni- Komatsu’s brain-taxing “spot-the- difference” contest.

  • Rebar Awards

It was then the turn of Federation chief executive Howard Button to announce the winners of the first-ever NFDC “Rebar Awards”. Button explained that these awards had been developed to offer some balance against the standard industry awards and to bring a little humour to proceedings, a point that he drove home with the first award: The Mr Smooth Award. Button explained that the judging panel had been looking for someone with the good looks of George Clooney coupled with the charm of Cary Grant, and that it had been a two-horse race from the outset. However, with his recent purchase of a shiny new and ridiculously fast Mercedes, the panel believed that former president David Clarke had strayed dangerously close to Peter Stringfellow territory and he was, therefore, immediately disqualified, leaving Federation chaplain Father Dennis McGillycuddy to steal the Mr Smooth trophy.

D & D Autumn 08

Button then moved onto perhaps the most unlikely award for a demolition man; one that recognised sartorial elegance, handing Demex’s Graham Wilson the Rebar award for “services to the clog industry”. The third Rebar award went to a man who attends NFDC national regional meetings with such fervent regularity that he treads a fine line between committed and stalker, Sandvik Mining and Construction’s Alan Matchett seizing the Omnipresent trophy. Needless to say, he was there in person to collect his award! Sensing the male bias in the awards Button moved onto the fourth award which was given to a woman “who has brought a touch of the red carpet to an industry that generally considers a clean hard hat to be the height of glamour.” The 2008 Glamourpuss award was won, to rapturous

applause, by Zara Redhead. The fifth, final and most well- deserved award of the evening was, however saved till last. It was given in recognition of one woman’s incredible resilience in the face of almost unprecedented stress and who, in the words of Howard Button, “married a demolition contractor but who now shares her home with the world’s most hands-on and manically precise travel agent: Jackie (Mrs Patrick) Williamson.

  • Fitting Conclusion

The party continued long into the early hours of the morning during which some brave soul managed to fit a Komatsu baseball cap to the head of the statue in the middle of the Valparaiso pool, bringing a fittingly Marubeni-flavoured end to what had been another superb convention, the last in John Wring’s presidency. There is a vast amount of work required to pull-off such an incredible event. Patrick Williamson (and his wife) worked for months to make everything seamless; Howard Button and his team at Resurgam House worked tirelessly to ensure the smooth running; and the members of the Federation’s “publication team”, notably C&D Consultancy’s John Woodward, pulled out all the stops to ensure that the new guidance notes were ready in time. But, despite all that hard work, I for one can’t wait for the 2009 convention in Killarney.

The president and officers of the National Federation of Demolition Contractors would like to extend their personal thanks to the primary sponsors of the 2008 Annual Convention, without whom the convention would not have been possible:

Marubeni-Komatsu: www.komatsu.co.uk Building Health: www.buildinghealth.co.uk Metal & Waste Recycling: www.metalandwaste.co.uk All Metal Recovery: www.allmetalrecovery.com Sandvik Mining & Construction: www.miningandconstruction.sandvik.com/uk Sylentmite: www.sylentmite.com

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