50th Event 9 – Auction Evening
30 Jun 2022
The twelfth and last event in SDC’s year of celebration took place on Saturday 17th September. Guests arrived at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes and headed through the branded archway into the 50th Anniversary Gala Dinner.
A 6pm drinks reception saw old and new faces gather as a band played to welcome invitees in their gowns and tuxedos. The chattering crowd paused only to draw a gasp as the curtains opened and the dining area was revealed. Blue and gold star cloth surrounded the walls and flickering lights danced over the floor. Over 60 tables laid with bubble lights and wine buckets were spread across the room facing a stage.
First up on that stage was auctioneer extraordinaire and MC for this event, Sam Roberts, who welcomed guests as they took their seats. A minute’s silence for Her Majesty the Queen was observed, before Sam read Grace then introduced SDC’s Managing Director, Adam Knaggs.
Adam began his speech by thanking everyone for attending, before detailing why SDC chose to celebrate the 50th anniversary with 11 events. Adam touched on what SDC hoped to achieve through these events and how the company wishes to be remembered for the fundraising effort.
‘We wanted it to be something that was really special and something that would be remembered for years to come, as was the case with our 25-year anniversary, and it’s really good to see so many people here tonight that were at that anniversary 25 years ago.’
Adam’s main point was that the purpose of the events was to celebrate alongside staff, clients, suppliers, and companies SDC works with out on site, wanting each individual to be a part of it. The Board of Directors wanted the events to be a mechanism that could do some support for good causes and charities.
‘We wanted it to be run like we try to run the company - professional, high quality, understated but always trying to exceed expectations and, most importantly of all, SDC is a family - and we wanted the events to be ‘family feel, family lead’.
The food was served, and guests enjoyed a starter, main, and dessert. Table heads kept drinks and conversation flowing, whilst duelling pianos provided entertainment throughout.
To conclude the meal SDC’s Chairman Francis Shiner took to the stage, starting with a story of how Bob Reynolds and Dave Ledsom created SDC. Noting that Bob and Dave wanted to start a company with a difference, Francis explained that SDC was founded on offering a full design and build service alongside being collaborative and friendly.
‘But the other things they wanted to do was be collaborative, be friendly, share their success and their enjoyment with their staff and with their clients. Provide a quality job and fundamentally to have clients, when the job was done, who were pleased with what they’d got.’
As an employee of SDC since 1983 and Managing Director since 2004, Francis considered how far the company has come in the last 50 years.
‘So, when I think about what we’ve achieved, where we are, let’s just take stock of where we are today. A brilliant staff, £20m net worth, money in the bank, a quality product, a really brilliant group of clients and, I think, a fantastic future.’
After thanking staff, clients, sub-contractors, and suppliers, and everybody involved in the year of events, Francis revealed that the total amount raised across all the events, £200,000, and highlighted impact this money will have.
‘That money will alter lives, that money will change charities, that money will make a real difference to our community, and we should all be proud for our part in it.
MC Sam Roberts then welcomed the Bootleg Beatles to the stage and a fantastic set saw the band perform the best hits, with a quick outfit change covering fashion across the decades. After a showstopping finale the band left the stage, and a DJ played music until 1am for the guests still on the dancefloor.