CIPS Annual Dinner – Sam Walsh Leads Tribute To David Noble

Last night, around 300 people assembled for the CIPS (Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply) Annual Dinner at 8 Northumberland Avenue in central London, which is a spectacular banqueting hall, a very good venue except for the fact that they do pretty much taser you out into the street at midnight on the dot. And it is rather pink (well, the lighting is anyway).

It was of course not the celebration we might have expected, given the very sad and sudden death of Chief Executive, David Noble, just a couple of weeks ago.  There was some consideration given to postponing the event, but quite rightly it was decided that Noble himself would have been horrified at that thought; the show (or the dinner) must go on, as they say.

But it certainly made the atmosphere somewhat different,  although the opening remarks from President Sam Walsh (more on his speech next week)struck the right note, with a minute's applause rather than a minutes silence - Grahame Ball's idea, we were told, and a good one.

The food was good, except for the pudding which was excellent, as was the service. The Proxima table had the best wine - now there's a big surprise. The after-dinner speaker was Andrew Neil, the journalist and political commentator. He is the best political interviewer around, in our opinion, with his sharp wit and ability to put the really tough questions to his victims. (He is also the butt of a very long-running joke in Private Eye, as regular readers of that magazine will know).

He was very good, starting with some genuinely funny jokes then getting into some serious Brexit analysis. I was disappointed when he finished, which is a real rarity for after-dinner speakers! So all in all, a successful and enjoyable evening despite recent events.

One final point. I'm staying in an  cheap but clean and cheerful apartment hotel near Euston - Cartright Gardens. It is 1 am as I write this, and in the gardens outside, a bird - what I assume is a nightingale* is holding forth. It has a beautiful voice, and when I first heard it, I thought how wonderful it was to have this in the heart of congested London. But now, I would really rather like it to shut up and let me go to sleep. Anyone know what the penalty is for shooting** a nightingale?

*(Or maybe an insomniac thrush?)

**(You know I wouldn't really! Well, probably not ....)

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  1. Stuart Brocklehurst:

    A £5,000 fine or six months in jail, under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Earplugs could be cheaper…

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