Spar marked its 60th anniversary with a celebratory extravaganza at the impressive Manchester Central Convention Complex last weekend (October 14), which helped to raise £600,000 for the brand’s chosen charity, Marie Curie.

More than 1,700 guests - including Spar retailers, suppliers and wholesalers along with their families and friends - were entertained in a tremendous atmosphere of fun and lively entertainment in a magnificent setting.

During the afternoon guests enjoyed a busy afternoon of fun activity with fairground rides – including a Big Wheel and bumper cars; a Festival of Decades featuring a variety of exhibits from the past 60 years; a range of treatments in the Spar spa; singers, bands, free food, drinks and snacks. The fun continued in the evening with a spectacular gala dinner, which also featured live bands and singers, competitions and auctions.

Hosted by TV presenter Angela Scanlon, the festivities on offer included a range of musical treats, a banquet, and non-stop entertainment.

Also at the event, three retailing families who have been with SPAR since it first launched in the UK 60 years ago received awards to mark their amazing contribution: the Hunt, Davies and Kellet families.

Fantastic prizes were up for grabs for Spar retailers, including a car, tickets to the next Spar conference in Tenerife and the biggest surprise of the evening – a 1.5 carat diamond was won by Janet Constable valued at £12,000!

Also at the daylong event, a phenomenal £100,000 was raised for Spar’s national charity Marie Curie.

Spar presented a cheque to Dr Jane Collins, CEO of Marie Curie for £600,000, thanks to match-funding offered by the National Guild of Spar and hundreds of different fundraising activities which took place in Spar stores since the partnership launched in April this year.

Dr Jane Collins said: “Thank you so much to Spar UK for the phenomenal support you have given Marie Curie this year as we launched our exciting partnership together. The money raised will ensure we can be there for more people and their families living with a terminal illness right across the UK. Spar UK’s support will enable families to make the most of the time they have left together; easing the pressure of caring for a loved one and creating memories they will treasure forever.”

Debbie Robinson, Spar UK Managing Director, said the anniversary weekend marked a celebration of all the fantastic work that has been achieved within the Spar community over the last 60 years.

“Since launching, Spar has stood for the idea that through joint cooperation, all benefit. This concept remains true today – our Spar retailers and wholesalers working together is what has made us such a success.”

The Spar brand has gone from strength to strength globally in recent years, said Robinson. Spar International has seen a record year of growth, successful acquisitions and new country expansions, growing at its fastest rate worldwide in 10 years.

“This global success is reflected in the UK: with six consecutive years of growth, and our sales and profits up, the SPAR UK business is in great shape and outperforming our competitors,” said Robinson.

“Thanks to our five hugely successful wholesalers, who have years of experience and expertise, as well as our innovative, entrepreneurial retailers, our business is going from strength to strength.

“Spar has grown stronger over the years, and it is down to the unwavering commitment, partnership and hard work of our retailers and wholesalers that we are able to enjoy such a massive, landmark occasion,” she said.

Convenience retailing has been and continues to be one of the most competitive markets to operate in, said Robinson. “It is testament to our hard work that after 60 years we are still the number one symbol group, and recognised as the leading brand in convenience retailing across the UK.”

“As long as we remain aware of changing customer needs and keep setting the trends in the market, we can look forward many more years of success.

“A huge thank you to everyone who has supported us to get to where we are today, helping us all to enjoy this 60th anniversary celebration!” concluded Robinson.