May 25 - Kestrel Liner Agencies celebrated receiving its Queens Award for Enterprise in style last night (writes a bleary eyed Oliver Ward) in the prestigious surroundings of London's Houses of Parliament.
It was a lovely summer's evening to be beside the Thames celebrating the remarkable success of this company and the people behind it.
Long time friend of Kestrel Liner Agencies' owner and chairman, Andy Thorne, newly re-elected MP Andrew Rosindell welcomed 200 guests, from as far afield as Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. The presentation was made by the Queens Representative, Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Greater London, Bruce Houlder QC who also explained to the assembled guests what an achievement this award represented - many enter, but few reach the standards required to win.
Thorne then spoke emotionally about the early days when Kestrel was established, and wondering if he and Mark Pattinson had made the right decision, but with the support of his growing band of loyal customers through thick and thin, the company established itself firmly, gaining in size and influence every year since its inception 15 years ago. Andy also paid heartfelt tribute to his colleagues in the company, thanking them for their loyalty and resilience in the face of their very demanding boss!
The guests in attendance included principals, customers, colleagues and friends, most of whom go back a long way with Andy and Kestrel - a testament to Kestrel's success.
The evening continued with a steel band by which time your correspondent decided it would be prudent to leave the scene having been fed and watered to sufficiency.
Pictured below are (l - r): Bruce Houlder QC; Nicki Gilbert and Andy Thorne from Kestrel Liner Agencies, and Andrew Rosindell, MP.