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MARKET TIMES • DECEMBER 2019 29 Looking back over a century —
and forward to the challenges
David Preston on his new role as Chief Executive of NABMA
  I AM VERY proud to be chosen to succeed Graham Wilson as the new Chief Executive of NABMA.
It is a daunting task to follow both a friend and mentor who has made such a significant contribution to markets, however it is a challenge that I am looking forward to.
David Preston
I spoke at the NABMA Centenary Conference about my proud background in markets. Firstly, as schoolboy market trader selling fruit and vegetables on a street market in Mid Wales; then as an operational day-to-day market manager; and proudly as a Town Clerk dealing with the strategy influence of markets. In recent years I have worked within NABMA delivering the Service Level Agreement for their services out of Oswestry. Markets therefore have been a common strand in my life for approaching half a century.
It has also been rewarding being part of the NABMA family since my first conference experience as far back as 1976 at Llandudno. I now look forward to my new role in an organisation that I have always found to be supportive, friendly and so important in terms of its services, education and networking.
NABMA continues for a few more weeks to celebrate its centenary. Looking back, and reviewing the NABMA 100
brochure launched at our Conference, then the mem- bership can be very proud of the history and the achievements of the past, but can also look forward with excitement to addressing the many challenges and opportunities of the present and future.
It is in looking at the challenges of the future that working with NMTF and other partners will be so important. We all have the same common denominator that unites us and that is to see markets and market trading as part of vibrant and vital town and city centres.
There is a well-documented awakening by the Government to the fragile condition of many high streets with substantial funding and a new organisation now provided to make high streets and town centres fit for the future. Our January NABMA Conference will therefore closely examine markets in this current renaissance agenda and how they can fit into the government and partnership agenda.
NMTF will be part of that conference demonstrating their successful initiatives to secure market and high street traders for the future. It is only right to applaud NMTF for the wonderful delivery of the National Young Market Traders events in 2019. The coverage by the BBC on The One Show, and then the resulting social media, gave markets a huge promotion. The outreach was amazing.
The next few months will be very busy for NABMA.
The Great British Market Awards are launched with a new sponsor, Blachere Illumination. Planning is already well under- way for Love Your Local Market 2020 with VISA back on board as a sponsor.
Our regional seminars next year will look at the basics of market
management and good practice with an agenda including a visit to a market with a story to tell. The events will be shared with NMTF as every successful market has a strong relationship of cooperation between the operator and its traders.
The driver for successful markets is professional management and professional traders. Over 150 students now proudly hold the Diploma in Markets Administration and the next step is approaching with the NABMA education partners offering a bridging course leading to a postgraduate qualification. With the excellent work that NMTF does in providing essential services and training for its membership then markets working in partnership can clearly contribute to vital and vibrant town and city centres.
The challenge at the local level, for both NABMA and NMTF members, is the call for action for markets to become more professional; become part of their local retail environment and work more closely with town centre partnerships and Business Improvement Districts. Many markets are actively engaged in
this exciting opportunity and there is some excellent good practice to share.
I look forward to my new role within NABMA but it is only right to again pay tribute to Graham Wilson for the passion and exceptional leadership that he has displayed, not only for NABMA itself as Chief Executive, but the market industry in general over so many years. I am delighted that he is staying as part of the NABMA team focusing on legal and policy issues.
In summary, it is a huge honour to be chosen as the NABMA Chief Executive. I look forward during 2020 to working closely with the NMTF Presidency and the Chief Executive and staff team at Hampton House.
We must always respect our separate identities and the needs of our membership, but we come together within friendship and sharing a common purpose. In the New Year, with the government interest and investment in the High Street then a real window of opportunity is available to us to jointly push the market agenda through partnership between our respective organisations.

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