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Scottish Plastics and Rubber Association Scottish Plastics and Rubber Association

A Successful Dinner Dance for 2016

2016 Student Scholarship winners Bandar Alhajri and Will Speakman flank the SPRA President

160 Guests enjoyed another fantastic evening of good food and great company on March 4th, at the 42nd Scottish Plastics and Rubber Association Annual Dinner Dance.


The evening started with the skirl of the bagpipes from Pipe Major Iain Grant welcoming the guests to the Argyll Suite of the Crowne Plaza Hotel on Glasgow’s riverside. He then piped in the top table to take their places.  A short introduction from SPRA President David Barlow then led to the Selkirk Grace from this years invited speaker, Sandy Strang. There was no delay as the Tomato and Sweet Red Pepper Soup course was served….

Pipe Major Grant Addressing the haggis


The moment many of the guests were keenly anticipating came with the sound of the bagpipes once more, as Pipe Major Grant heralded the arrival of the haggis course.  He skilfully performed the traditional address to the haggis by Robert Burns, whilst entertaining with anecdotes and ad-libs, before joining the chef and the SPRA President in a toast.


The main course of Fillet of Scotch Beef and Black Pudding with vegetables in a Port Jus went down very well with the guests, before a fantastic triple dessert rounded off the dinner part of the evening…


The after dinner speeches commenced with the SPRA President once again welcoming his guests to the hotel, followed by Top Table introductions.  David was joined by Alan Wood, and his wife Glenis.  Alan was representing the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining, in his capacity of Chairman of the Polymer Society.  Also on the Top Table was Hugh Moss, Master Horner 2016. After giving a brief biography of the guests of honour, David introduced his wife, Jackie.  Sandy Strang completed the Top Table line-up, with his full introduction coming later.


SPRA President David Barlow making his speeches.
The President made special thanks to both Mainetti and Emtelle, who were hosting Dinner Dance tables for the first time, then went on to speak about some of the BPF initiatives as part of their Plastics Industry Strategy.  David then moved onto SPRA highlights of the past year, starting with the Technical Lectures series – where a summary of the varied talk subjects was given.


Next up was educational initiatives, including the Polymer Study Tour and the Fantastic Plastic lectures.  The 2016 SPRA Scholarship winners were then announced, with the award being shared between two students….  Bandar Alhajri for his performance on B.Eng. Polymer Engineering, and Will Speakman for his great year on the M.Sc. Advanced Materials course, both at Edinburgh Napier University.


The president then managed to shoe-horn in an off-beat commentary on the life-cycle from dinosaurs, to oil, to plastic, and back to (toy) dinosaurs again…..but then it was strictly back to the official agenda.


President David Barlow presenting Les Rose with his SPRA Fellowship
A special award then followed.  Initially disguised as a fairly standard note of thanks for his work as Membership Secretary during the year…it soon became apparent after an extended biography highlighting his 30 year service to the SPRA and its predecessor, the PRI…that Les Rose was to be awarded the 5th SPRA Fellowship.  There was warm applause around the room as Past SPRA President Les came up to be presented with his certificate.


To finish his speech for 2016, the President took time to remember an SPRA legend.  Charlie Geddes, former Honorary Secretary, sadly passed away a few weeks prior the Dinner Dance, and in addition to highlighting his enormous contribution to the SPRA, David spoke about his own personal memories of a good friend and mentor.  The room stood to raise a toast to Charlie to finish off the President’s address.


From then on, the invited speaker, Sandy Strang, did a fantastic job of lifting the spirits in the room again – his quick fire, quick-wit had the audience in raptures as he combined topical comedy with more traditional one-liners, some fantastic anecdotes, and – showing how he’d done is research – some material tailored to the SPRA, the top table guests, and even a lovely tribute to Charlie Geddes.  It was a fitting finale to the formal part of the evening.


The action then switched to the dance-floor and the bar, with regular SPRA Dinner Dance band “Life and Soul” performing live, with the ever popular Tombola providing some late night excitement as guests dug deep to buy tickets, aiming to win one of the many great, (and some not-so-great) prizes.


David Barlow, SPRA President and Social Convenor

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