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I attended my first ABP Club meeting last week and was unsure of what to expect.

I imagined there would be a handful of people in a grey room and was preparing myself to do my specialised trick of sleeping with my eyes open (this is now reserved for financial conferences specifically).

I arrived at the Manor Hotel about three minutes before the meeting was due to start (this was due to my inability to navigate and find a power socket for my TomTom in the Smart Fortwo I had).

I was surprised to see a bustling room with almost 200 people in attendance. Several presentations were made and they were interesting. I met an extremely enthusiastic David Cresswell during the coffee break and he did an amazing job fielding questions to each speaker and even coming up with some himself. The voice of the industry and often reason.

The room was buzzing with a sort of friendly excitement. The other thing I was impressed by was the willingness to ask questions and be completely honest.

There was no dancing around when it came to tough subjects. Even the meeting's sponsor came under fire during a Q&A.

Of particular note was a speaker talking about his first year as a Kitemark accredited bodyshop. He gave an honest account listing the positives and negatives of having the Kitemark, allowing his fellow bodyshops to make their own informed decision as to whether to pursue the Kitemark themselves.

Well done ABP!


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