Innovation in contract fabrics

26th November 2021

BCFA 50th Anniversary Luncheon

Earlier this month, at London’s Royal Lancaster Hotel, the BCFA celebrated its Annual Luncheon, with special significance paid to the 50th anniversary of the association.

The first Luncheon held in two years, the occasion marked the first opportunity since the pandemic for the BCFA and its members to gather together and acknowledge exceptional talents and individuals from within their industry.

Panaz CEO and award sponsor, Tony Attard, was proud to be able to present the Panaz/BCFA Lifetime Achievement Award once again at this year’s event. The Award, which traditionally recognises industry leaders who have made a significant contribution to contract furnishings has been previously presented to recipients such as Jack Pringle, Mary Fox Linton and Sir Terence Conran.

However, in light of the impact of Covid-19, both on the industry and throughout the wider world, the decision was taken to dedicate this year’s award to someone who had shown exceptional selflessness and determination throughout the pandemic.

Simon Waller had worked for leading curtain and blinds suppliers, Silent Gliss, for 38 years, most recently as the Factory Manager before retiring in 2019 and was awarded this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his tireless voluntary efforts in supporting the NHS, both before and during the pandemic.

“A man that wanted to give back to society and so became an NHS blood Runner.” said Tony Attard, describing Simon’s achievements. Blood Runners quietly provide an amazing service transporting life-saving blood and samples between hospitals. Simon did this in his own time, on overnight and weekend shifts, at his own expense and in all weathers. He would regularly be out ‘running’ until the early hours and still be at work by 8am. He didn’t want recognition or thanks, in fact, many didn’t even know he did it.”

“Simon retired from Silent Gliss in October 2019 but continued his voluntary work for the NHS right up until February this year, when he was diagnosed with an aggressive cancerous tumour in his leg.” Attard continued “Only 3 months later he had to have his left leg amputated above the knee.

He didn’t dwell, or feel robbed of his retirement years, he has shown an inner strength that will encourage many to face the greatest of challenges head on, seeing the positive over the negative and learning to accept that sometimes bad stuff just happens.”

Simon was unable to attend the ceremony in person due to his ongoing treatment but accepted the award via video, with Sam Shervill, who nominated Simon, collecting the award on his behalf.