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RESPONSE BY PAM SWAIN

4 September 2012

Unusually for me, I’m at a bit of a loss for words after all this!  Thank you Angie for saying such nice things and for contacting Past Presidents.  I’d like to say thank you as well to everyone for coming this evening, including those members of BADN® Council who are here, and to Council for this beautiful necklace.  I had a speech all prepared in my head, and now I’ve forgotten all of it!

I’d also like to thank WRB, Parliament Hill, Purple Media and WMS for hosting and organising tonight and particularly Sharon, Andrew, Steve and Richard who decided that my being around for 20 years was something to celebrate!  And a special thank you to Sharon who sorted out the venue and the food,  and Katie in our office who took care of the invitations, guest list and all the admin stuff in her free time.

20 years really isn’t THAT long, but things have changed enormously over that time.  20 years ago there was a huge fuss when Pat Heap, Barbara McRury and Geraldine Benson – past and current Presidents of the ABDSA as the Association was then called – took the unprecedented step of appointing a non-dental person as Secretary to the Association (I’ve been “up-titled” to Chief Exec since then!).   I’d like to thank those ladies for being brave enough to take such a risk and also for their confidence in me – despite all the fuss.

I was asked recently to write an article on “My Mentor” and in it I said that women of my generation didn’t really have mentors.  Having no dental background, I was at a bit of a loss originally; particularly as my predecessor had left some six months before and the only other staff member – a very proper and virtuous lady – whenever asked for information or background on a specific person or situation would invariably reply “It really isn’t my place to say”!  Luckily, a few old hands did take my under their wing – Richard’s predecessor, Bill Courtney for one – and for another a dentist  at the time  very involved with the Voluntary National Register, who very publicly supported the appointment of a business oriented person.  He came to Fleetwood, took me to lunch, told me what I needed to know and introduced me to “dental politics” – an expression with which, up to this point, I was completely unfamiliar – and when I tell you that he was most upset when the seaside caff where we had lunch wouldn’t accept his Gold Amex card, you will know immediately that I’m talking about Tony Kravitz….. so thank you  Tony for your support!  We haven’t always seen eye to eye but as you taught me 20 years ago, professional differences of opinion don’t preclude personal, and professional, respect.

Thanks again to everyone for coming tonight and for the various cards, flowers and good wishes.  I believe there will be cake in a minute and also there is a guest book circulating if you would like to write in it.  I’m sure I’ve must have forgotten to thank lots of people from the last 20 years – Shirley and Val in our office, for example, and lots of past Presidents and past Council and Association members – if I have, please put it down to the emotion of the moment and take my thanks as understood.