The Printing Charity (TPC) celebrated its 190th anniversary at its annual luncheon yesterday (23 November), welcoming its current president Baroness Brenda Dean as guest speaker.
Speaking more than 100 guests from across the print sector, Dean commemorated the founding of the charity in 1827, and spoke about how the industry has evolved during its lifetime and about her experience as president and general secretary of print union SOGAT in the 1980s.
“Working in printing gives you a good life, and though I am no longer as directly involved in the industry I still love it,” she said.
“The first printing machines were actually operated by women, before the men caught on that this was not a novelty, and we should celebrate our heritage.
“It is wonderful to see a great range of ages here today. We need young people in this industry, they truly are the lifeblood of its continued existence.
"Print is not moving into its twilight, as some would have you believe. It has changed over the years and continues to change – it communicates the news, but also makes it.”
Baroness Dean addressing the annual lunch
Dean touched on the scale of the modern UK print industry as the fifth biggest in the world, turning over £13.8bn and comprising 8,400 companies. She concluded her speech by wishing TPC well, thanking the Queen for her continued patronage, and toasting “to the printed word”.
TPC also used the gathering to highlight both its welfare initiatives – which included helping with funeral costs and bereavement services for a mother working in print whose son passed away – and its dedication to education and apprenticeships.
Four of the 78 winners of this year’s Print Futures Awards were in attendance, showcasing their prize-winning work to guests during the pre-lunch reception.
TPC chairman Jon Wright said: “In 2016 we helped 6,350 people – a 40% increase on the year before. We are proud of our welfare support and our work to keep helping young people. I am grateful to The Printing Charity team for all their continued support.”