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Today the SLTA installed it’s 54th President in a somewhat unusual manner reflecting the current times we are all living in and unparalleled restrictions that the vast majority of us have to adhere to.  

But for the SLTA it is business as usual, or as best as it can be, and new President, Stephen Montgomery, owner of the Townhead Hotel in Lockerbie, said in a statement:-

“It gives me great pleasure to take over the position of President of this fine, long established, well organised, well ran and most recognised On-trade Association that is known far and wide as the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, which is celebrating its 140th Anniversary this year.

If ever there was a more challenging time to take over this position, then it is now.   In light of the current world wide pandemic we see ourselves in, this certainly wasn’t the kind of opening statement I was planning to make as the new SLTA President.

Firstly, may I say that my thoughts are with everyone during this critical time for us all in dealing with the stress of business closure, the financial pressures that it brings, our staff well-being and most importantly the welfare of our families. 

It all takes its toll on us, and it is indeed without doubt, the most challenging time of our lives so far, but with help and support, we will get through it.

As an association, we are at the forefront in making sure that our Stakeholder Members and Registered Supporters are getting the best help and information they need. Our office (albeit Colin’s home now) has been inundated with calls from early morning until late evening from both members, non-members and even our customers, needing to get clarification on COVID-19 and guidance on dealing with the collateral damage caused. The Association has also seen an unprecedented spike in media attention from the press, TV and radio and our media spokesperson, Paul Waterson, has been inundated with requests for comment from the SLTA.

The constant calls and emails between Colin and myself, exchanging information between us to send out our daily updates has now become the norm, but we do it because it’s essential for our trade, and because it’s what we do.Why should we join such an association? What do we get out of it? These are the usual questions people ask. Well I think given what we are in the midst of right now, this is exactly why we join.

The association is the hub for you all, a “go to place” for any information, or to ask any question. I would encourage members to read every e-mail that comes through from the office and regularly check our web site, because things are changing every hour of every day. You will always find a useful link or maybe an update that you have missed.

In the weeks ahead we will see many changes, and we will, as an association, meet these changes head on. One thing is for sure though, we WILL get through this together, and we must keep our minds focused on the months ahead and look forward to the next time that we are all able to get together and celebrate our great association, toast our great friendship, and get back to normal.

I must also say a thank you to a few people.

Firstly I must thank our Immediate Past President, John Shearer, for his past two years in office, I am sure you are now happy to hand over and be able to relax, a bit, with your good lady Esme.

To Colin and Jim Grierson, I really have to tip my hat to you both. Due to your extremely hard and ambitious work, the association has stabilised itself and along with my colleagues, we now have a new direction to further develop and improve what the Association has to offer.  I am sure that these words will be echoed throughout our membership and beyond.

I am honoured to have two other great gentlemen coming to stand by my side, in Graham Blaikie, as Vice-President, and Murray Lamont, as Treasurer.   Thank you for taking on these positions and I am sure we are in for an exciting but challenging few years ahead.

One last person I must thank is my father, Eric Montgomery, Honorary Past President of the SLTA.  He has guided me and encouraged me over the years since joining this trade and this Association. He is a listening ear and above all he has given me the encouragement to follow in his footsteps with this fine Association.

In closing I just want to wish you all well, look after yourselves and your families, and I look forward to having our proper AGM, hopefully in the not too distant future.
Stay Safe.”

In stepping down as President, John Shearer said:-

John Shearer

“We are undoubtedly living in extraordinary and unorthodox times.   I am sure we will manage to have at least a get together, let’s say early June to be optimistic, where I can thank you all for your help and assistance during my 2 years as SLTA President.

I very much appreciate all the help I was given by my colleagues in overcoming the geographical problems I had, being based in Tain, to attend various meetings and conferences.

This has been a very successful 2 years both financially and achievement wise for the Association and I thank you all for your help in returning the SLTA to a healthier position.

The attitude of the banks and the slow process in getting any funds to small businesses is extremely disappointing. The SLTA’s work still continues and the Association will endeavour to keep us all updated with guidance on the ever-changing situation we are dealing with at this time.

My thanks to our Patron, Peter Lederer, Chairman, Jim Grierson, and the SLTA Non-Executive Board for an outstanding contribution to the work and re-invention of theAssociation over the past 2 years.

Congratulations to Stephen Montgomery on becoming President. I am sure with his energy and knowledge of the trade he will continue to steer the SLTA on a successful course.  I also congratulate Graham Blaikie and Murray Lamont on their new appointments and I wish all members and the Association itself every success in getting through the next few months and dealing with the challenges that lie ahead for us all in the long term.”

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