On 23 February 1987, I attended a wonderful Centenary Dinner at the Guild Hall, City of London, to celebrate the forming of our National Association of Master Bakers. In 1887, in the minutes of the Birmingham Master Bakers’ Association, these modest and formal words were written: "It was duly moved by Mr Fletcher and seconded by Mr Godfree, that it is desirable to form a National Association of Master Bakers." The author of these minutes can have had little idea of the result of this motion. Over the 124 years since the Association was formed on 23 February 1887, it has brought strength, support, assistance and fellowship to thousands of craft bakers throughout the land.

Without doubt, the forging together of many local trade associations of bakers, helped secure the future for many businesses, which today are thriving and important elements in the community. While many of the old trades and crafts have all but disappeared, the Master Baker has adapted and survived.

Thomas Fletcher was a far-sighted man and the objects of the Association he did so much to found, which are as relevant today as they were 124 years ago, are a testimony to his vision:

"to concentrate and bind together the influence, experience and power of the members for the protection and promotion of the interest of the baking trade in all its branches".

I wouldn’t wish to add anything to this, because it is as relevant today as it was nearly 125 years ago when first spoken.

Our celebrations are well under way for another spectacular dinner to celebrate our 125th anniversary. I look forward to seeing as many of our members at this grand event as I did 25 years ago maybe, even some grandchildren!

Look for details in the coming weeks and be sure to book early to avoid disappointment.