On 2 December, Mr. PAN Xinchun, Chinese Consul General, attended the 48 Group Club Icebreaker Fellowship Awards Ceremony in the Scottish Parliament, which was first held in Scotland. The function was held by Mr. Graeme Pearson MSP, Convener of the Cross Party Group on China at the Scottish Parliament. More than 40 distinguished guests including Mr. Stephen Perry, Chairman of the Club, Mr. Keith Bennett, Deputy Chairman, Mr. Eric Balish, Executive Committee of the Club and Convener of the China Scotland Business Forum, Dr Judith McClure, Secretary of the Cross Party Group on China and Convener of the Scotland China Education Network and Lord Wilson of Tillyorn, former Governor of Hong Kong presented.
In his speech, Consul General Pan expressed his warm congratulations to the new Icebreaker Fellowship winners. Mr. Pan said, The 48 Group Club is not a stranger but rather a top British business brand in China. Founded even before the establishment of Sino-UK diplomatic relation, the Club played a key role in pioneering economic cooperation as well as promoting civic contacts. Due to the efforts by both sides, the ice that once blocked our two countries has melted into the sea of friendship and cooperation. Since then the bilateral links have grown from strength to strength. Although the contributions of the Club have already been written into the history of Sino-UK relations, the organization will never be outdated. With the rapid development of bilateral ties, the Club is given a new life and has an even bigger role to play in future. Consul General Pan concluded with a sincere wish to the Club, for its greater success and brighter future in coming years.
The 48 Group Icebreaker Award 2015 were bestowed to 5 individuals including Mr. Stephen Blackmore CBE, Chairman of Botanic Gardens Conservation International, Queen’s Botanist and Former Regius Keeper of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, in recognition of their outstanding achievements made in the development of friendly relations between China and UK. Mr. Stephen Perry presented prizes to the winners, and expressed appreciation for the positive contribution they made to the Sino-British relations.
The history of the 48 Group stems from 1954. The founding "Icebreakers" from British business community were the first Westerners to establish trade relations with China, earning a special place in the annals of international trade history. During the difficult time, a group of far-sighted people from the British business community overcame one obstacle after another and made the famous ice-breaking trip to China, thus starting business exchanges between the two sides. Currently, the Club has more than 600 Fellows.
The event is referred to as Icebreaker Awards as the origins of the 48 Group lie in Icebreaking, and that characterises the main work and ethos of the Club, albeit in different ways than the past. Fellowships are the highest category of Club membership. They are bestowed on people who it is considered have made an outstanding contribution to the promotion of positive Sino-UK relations in any field, which is the core mission of the Club.