I will never forget coming into work on the morning of September 16 and hearing about the massive fire at Aulds bakery in Inchinnan.
I felt a huge shock and, knowing most of the family, I could hardly bear to think how they must feel. I imagine the one consoling factor was that there was no loss of human life. It is the only straw to grasp at in times like that.
How do you cope with no building, no work to give to over 200 staff, customers let down – and not just for the day.
At the same time your mind is querying ‘why’ and ‘how’ and then, like clockwork, putting into effect a disaster recovery plan, which the insurance company had insisted was previously in place. “Thank goodness they did,” MD Alan Marr told me at the time.
Aulds is not the only company to have gone through the ghastly experience; quite a few of you have endured ferocious fires. But at least in this industry, unlike many others, you can ask “who will help see us through supplying our customers?” And local bakers will respond.
In many sectors, rivals would rub their hands with glee, but not in the bakery industry, which sees a respect and support not seen elsewhere. Craft baker Peters Cathedral Bakers and plant baker Warburtons would testify to this, having had their share of trauma last year.
Aulds and its staff have staged a magnificent recovery, prior to building a new state-of-the-art bakery - they have even attained new business. I hope they will be one of many entrants to Bakery Supplier of the Year, sponsored by Sainsbury’s, our featured category this week in the Baking Industry Awards.
I also hope Brace’s Bakery will be another, as the Welsh family bakery expands to the south of England, bringing its good reputation with it.
Finally, many congratulations to craft baker Thomas Adam, MD of Oliver Adams, and all his staff, as they celebrate their 150th anniversary.
And congratulations also to the new freemen and livery members of the Worshipful Company of Bakers (pg 14) as they celebrate 500 years on the same site and admit ladies to the Livery by Patrimony and Redemption for the first time in the company’s history.
Might the very gentlemanly British Confectioners Association one day follow suit and admit talented ladies?