At the National Association of Master Bakers (NAMB) conference in Bournemouth last week, both the Irish president Patrick Smyth and Scottish president George Stevenson congratulated the NAMB on its most successful event in many years.

The conference, at the Marriott hotel in Bournemouth, saw a record attendance of 190 people. Highlighting changes for the NAMB, chairman Mike Holling said that, with 45 new members, total membership now stood at 743. (Though members may have one shop, 50 shops or over a 1,000 shops, each one still counts as one member.)

Holling told members: "Changes that have helped raise the NAMB’s profile include licensing for Wallace & Gromit. This was from the film A Matter of Loaf and Death, which had the highest viewing figure for Christmas of 13.5m people." As well as boos-ting bakers’ profits, the deal netted the NAMB £2,000 in commission on merchandising.

Craft seminars organised by California Raisins had also proved a big success in the year, he said. There was also a very interesting NAMB trip to ingredients supplier Ireks in Germany. And National Doughnut Week had just kicked off, achieving mentions on national radio and TV show Friday Night with Jonathan Ross.

Holling highlighted National Craft Bakers’ Week, due to take place from June 8-13, with members urged to make the most of POS material, free with this week’s issue of British Baker. He also highlighted the successful link with British Baker magazine, which he described as "the Bible of the industry".

And he congratulated head office staff, especially chief executive Gill Brooks-Lonican and office manager Karen Dear, and said: "Everything has been achieved with no increase in subscriptions for the third year running."