BDCI announces new festival chairman and change to dinner venue

BDCI announces new festival chairman and change to dinner venue

The Butchers’ and Drovers’ Charitable Institution (BDCI) has appointed Chris Aldersley, chief operating officer of Cranswick plc, as festival chairman, while announcing that the Festival Dinner will be held at The Brewery this year.

Aldersley, who succeeds Sainsbury’s IoM master butcher Julien Pursglove, has enjoyed a varied career. He joined Cranswick in the summer of 1998 as factory manager at the Cottingham site, and from there, he oversaw the building of the retail facility at Preston, in Hull.

Chris Aldersley, chief operating officer of Cranswick plc, has been appointed as BDCI festival chairman.

In 2004, he became general manager, before being promoted to operations director. Afterwards, in 2008, Aldersley joined Vion, as it bought the Grampian business, and he stayed with the company for two years.

He then re-joined Cranswick in 2010 at Watton, the old Bowes of Norfolk operation, before taking the role of managing director for the fresh pork division and subsequently his current position as chief operating officer for the group in 2015.

Aldersley said: “Having been in the meat industry for many years, I have long admired the good work of BDCI and have attended the Festival Dinner many times, it’s always a great event, mixing business with pleasure and meeting up with industry friends and colleagues, old and new.

“I am privileged to accept the role as 2018 festival chairman and really look forward to building on the success of previous years, but also exploring some new opportunities to ensure the event stays relevant. This year the dinner is being held at a new exciting venue, with some tweaks to the format so please support your industry’s essential charity BDCI and come along for what is sure to be a fantastic evening.

Ted Hoefling, BDCI treasurer, commented: “Julien made a fantastic contribution as festival chairman and BDCI is very grateful for all his hard work.

“We are delighted to have Chris Aldersley in the role as festival chairman this year. Fundraising is obviously important to BDCI and the annual Festival Dinner remains the highlight of the year for the UK meat industry.”

The Brewery is the new venue of the BDCI Festival Dinner.

Commenting on the change of dinner venue, Hoefling added: “The Brewery is a truly historic, Grade II listed venue occupying the buildings of Whitbread’s 18th Century beer-making empire in the City of London.

“Its rooms, ranging from great halls to intimate chambers, are unique and will provide a fantastic new venue for the Festival Dinner, which will be on Friday 2nd November.”

The cost of tickets has remained the same at £160pp and they can booked on 01727 896094 or via email at

An extensive interview with Aldersley can be found on pages 14-17 of March edition of Meat Management magazine. The interview can be read online here.

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