Kent Executive Club is reminiscing by celebrating its Silver Jubilee

A renowned business networking group is celebrating its 25th anniversary, and has been looking back at some of its finest moments.

Kent Executive Club was established with the aim to promote and harness contacts between business people across the county – sharing knowledge and experience in a professional environment.

As it looks toward its Silver Jubilee this year, Maidstone’s oldest business networking group is reminiscing.

A look back at the 'Bosses Walk', one of Kent Executive Club's charity events
A look back at the 'Bosses Walk', one of Kent Executive Club's charity events

Bank managers, high court judges, CEOs, and even leader of the Ukip party, Nigel Farage, have all established contact with the Kent Executive Club since its formation in 1989.

Founded by Pietro Sanna, a former general manager of the Great Danes Hotel, the club was an attempt to replicate an organisation he had seen at work in one similar in Chester.

At a time when most business groups were predominantley male orientated, this was a group that broke the mould by welcoming both genders and their partners along to events.

The monthly events hosted included speakers from the industry, and they became so popular that a limit was put in place on membership as numbers climbed.

The original committee, chaired by Mr Sanna, included names which are still familiar in business circles today - bank manager Roy Ellis, lawyer Martin Phippen, recruitment consultant Elaine Craven, PR consultant Richard Harvey and well known figures in the media, Bill Dorrell and Norman Smith.

Former senior bank manager and member, Don Wright, from Willington Street, Maidstone said: “KEC has been so successful because there’s no pressure and no minimum attendance requirement. It’s not expensive to join and, during the year, there is something which will suit all types of people.”

“It fizzled out as more of our members reached retiring age,” said Don “but now we have some new blood, we may revive it, who knows?”

Former MP and public speaker Ann Widdecombe was also a guest at several meetings, as was former Medway MP Bob Marshall-Andrews.

The group is also known for its fundraising efforts, with its charitable events raising over £100,000 for local organisations over the years.

The ‘Bosses Walk’ was a 10k walk which took place at selected locations around the county to raise funds for charity.

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