Chamber chairman gets a Royal send off

New Haverhill Chamber of Commerce chairman Justin Friend presents his predecessor Sarah Howard with a  cut glass bowl in recognition of her four years in the role
New Haverhill Chamber of Commerce chairman Justin Friend presents his predecessor Sarah Howard with a cut glass bowl in recognition of her four years in the role

THE outgoing chairman of Haverhill Chamber of Commerce has looked back with pride on her four years in the role as she handed over the reins to her successor.

Sarah Howard, a director of Sarand Business Software, stood down at the chamber’s AGM on Tuesday (June 19) having competed the maximum term allowable in the role.

Looking back on her chairmanship, she said: “It has been an extremely interesting four years.

“I had no idea what I was taking on. I spent a great deal of time out of my comfort zone and have learned an enormous amount.

“I’m still more comfortable doing rather than standing up here talking about doing, but I’ll do it.

“I’ve met some fascinating people and been enormously challenged so thank you for enabling me to hold this post and for your support.”

Mrs Howard, 44, also reflected with pride on the work of the chamber in the past 12 months, adding: “Our aim this year was to widen the awareness of Haverhill outside of the town and engage the retail community.

“We have done this very successfully.”

Other major sources of satisfaction for the chamber have included its ‘galvanising’ of the town’s retailers to put forward their views on the pedestrianisation of the high street, something the chamber opposes.

The chamber has also played a part in the science park’s continued development, helped to strengthen the West Suffolk Chamber and Haverhill Young Chamber and campaigned to have fuel prices in the town lowered, among other things.

Justin Friend, the chamber’s new chairman, praised his predecessor, saying: “Sarah has done an amazing job. She has ensured the chamber is in a fantastic shape with a growing membership and reputation and on behalf of everyone both committee and members.

“I would like to say a huge thank you for everything she has done to promote Haverhill and business in the last four years.”

Mrs Howard’s time as chairman ended on a personal high when she and husband Andy attended a Royal Garden Party at Sandringham on June 12 at the invitation of the Lord Lieutenent of Suffolk. Lord Tollemache.

He invited her in recognition of her work promoting the business community in Haverhill.

She said: “It was a real honour to be there and it was quite nice to be there representing the town.

“It was really cool and a nice way to finish off after four years.”