Federation honours ladies section as it closes

The National Federation of Meat & Food Traders (NFMFT) honoured its Ladies Section at its annual general meeting in Chesterfield yesterday (9 July), as it announced the Section’s activities were ending.

The group was formed to raise finances for the federation in 1976, launching a regular column in Meat Trades Journal. It succeeded in its initial aim of raising money for the NFMFT to buy its own headquarters in 1 Belgrove, Tunbridge Wells.

Since then, supporting the federation, but run independently, the Ladies Section has contributed considerably to charitable causes, including the St Bart’s Florence Nightingale and Kings Beds appeal – leukaemia research – and the Children’s Cancer Centre.

Newly elected NFMFT president John Mettrick, of Mettrick’s Butchers in Derbyshire, replacing Jim Sperring, presented the last president of the group, Mary Debman, with a plaque commemorating its work. It celebrated its 40th anniversary last year.

“Advancing years and limited support signal the end to the Ladies Section – leaving behind a wholly owned federation headquarters, ingrained sense of community and fraternity and four decades raising many thousands of pounds for good causes,” said Mettrick.

Commenting on wider issues facing independent butchers, Mettrick said: “The events of recent months, with the election and opening of negotiations to leave the European Union, have led to economic uncertainty for our customers. A rise in inflation is adding to pressure on our household budgets. Members will need to be savvy in their offering to customers to retain business and prudent in controlling those ever-increasing overheads.

“At government level the federation will be engaged with the Department of Business Energy & Industrial Strategy and the Food Standards Agency to try to fashion regulation in such a way that craft butchers, farm shops and processors are not disadvantaged, but are valued and recognised for the part they play in the meat industry.”

Mettrick urged butchers present at the AGM to seize the potential of sales of meal solutions to busy shoppers.

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