Food & Drink

Ageing like a fine wine, Bournemouth lunching club turns 75 with special anniversary meal

By Sam Pither [email protected]

Published: October 3, 2023 | Updated: 3rd October 2023

Bournemouth lunching club The Square Club celebrated its 75th birthday with a special anniversary lunch.

Held at The Marsham Court Hotel – the club’s usual venue since 2006 – the event attracted more than 100 guests from a wide range of ages and business sectors.

As well as a three-course meal, attendees were treated to music, drinks and stimulating conversation.

Jamie Forster, Founder of Motley.co.uk and current Square Club Chair

The club’s current chair is Jamie Forster, Founder of web development agency Motley.co.uk.

Speaking before the event, he drew a parallel to the situation of the past few years and the Square Club’s origins.

“Out of a very turbulent time in 1948 the club formed,” he said.

“In the past few years we’ve been through a similar time with the pandemic, and I think led by the committee we’ve tweaked some things here and there in that time.

“Our membership is an interesting and helpful group already, but we want to keep growing to ensure the club continues for another 75 years.

“Although they come from different starting points, as business owners we’re all ultimately working towards the same end, and there’s great value to be had in a breadth and a depth of different types of people and business types.

“Traditionally, it’s been a fairly exclusive club, and in the couple of years I’ve been a member we’ve definitely plotted a new path which allows a wider inclusivity – you can be a business owner and not wear a tie and suit, everyone has something to bring to the table.

“It takes time, one has to win people over rather than browbeat them, but we’re getting there. We’re seeing the average age of people attending going down, we’ve relaxed the dress code a little.

“We still require smart casual, but we don’t want people to feel they have to wear a suit. The bottom line is if that’s presentable to your clients, that’s good enough.

“Between Kat (Secretary and Chair between 2019-21), Natasha (Chair between 2021-22) and I, we’ve tried to steer the club more in that direction so we can bring more people along for the ride and keep the group relevant in business across the whole raft that term encompasses.”

During his speech at the event, Jamie made a point of recognising the work done by Kat and treasurer Tony Hunt behind the scenes.

“They do amazing work to keep the club running – I’m really just the tip of the spear.”

When asked where he felt the strongest value resided in the Square Club, Jamie said: “Integrity, friendship and kindness.

“I think the group has massive positives in both social and business terms. I truly believe business is done in relationships, and you can only establish those relationships through mutual hard work and creating an environment in which people want to talk, engage and help each other.

“I think the Square Club epitomises business through friendship, it’s a very solid base for businesses to have that support group around them with people who want to see them succeed.

“Come and meet us, see what you think and how we can help you grow both as a person and as a business.”

The Square Club will next meet on Tuesday 31st October. For more information, visit their website.

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