Tuesday July 26 marked the end of an era for the Shop and Display Equipment Association (SDEA), when director Lawrence Cutler bade his final farewell.
Past and present SDEA members and employees gathered at the Bluebird Restaurant in Chelsea to wish him well and celebrate his long-standing history at the helm of the organisation.
During the lunch, SDEA president Alan Pegram paid tribute to Lawrence and thanked him for his 49 years of service. Lawrence was presented with a mounted collage of the many directories he has published over the years, as well as vouchers for his favourite department store.
In reply, Lawrence said: “I feel privileged to have been allowed to lead the association for all these years. SDEA has been a large part of my life, but I leave knowing it is in good hands with a new director, Antony Behiels, at the helm.
He continued: “I want to thank every one of you for your support of SDEA, and me personally over the years.”
SDEA said that with a career spanning five decades, Lawrence was instrumental in negotiating numerous successful business ventures on behalf of SDEA members.
The association added: ‘The launch of the ‘Shoptalk’ newsletter and the Retail Display Directory (both still going strong today), the purchase of the SDEA headquarters in Caterham, and the appointment of a collection of valuable industry partners, were all down to his hard work, skill and determination.
‘A firm believer and supporter of exhibitions, Lawrence also secured some very beneficial partnerships with show organisers during his time – the most recent being Retail Design Expo in London.
‘What started as a holiday job for Lawrence whilst awaiting his A-level results, became a lifetime’s work and achievement.’
SDEA president Alan Pegram (left) and SDEA retiring director Lawrence Cutler