New president of Uckfield Chamber of Commerce is David Marshall, senior partner at Dawson Hart solicitors in the town.

He was elected at the organisation’s annual general meeting on Thursday and takes over from Peter Gale, of Swindells accountants and tax specialists, who was president for two years.

New president of Uckfield Chamber of Commerce David Marshall, left, is pictured with retiring president Peter Gale.

About 100 members attended the meeting at Buxted Park Hotel and Mr Marshall assured them the Chamber would continue to ensure they were effectively represented when any issues arose affecting business.

He said the next focus for this year would be on the Uckfield Business Awards culminating in a ceremony on November.

He added: “The awards give businesses the opportunity to encourage the local and wider community to realise that Uckfield is a great place to do business so go get yourself nominated for an award.”

Earlier Neil Edwards reported that 80 awards nominations had so far been received from the public and 15 completed applications had come in.

Retiring president Mr Gale told how he had been involved in the Chamber for more than 40 years and his business had been around for 70 years.

He was born in Uckfield and had seen dramatic changes over the years. Retailing had gone from Woolworth’s and a large proportion of owner-managed businesses to a predominance of multiples.

He said commerce had flourished, the Bellbrook Estate had appeared from nowhere and the population had expanded from about 4,500 in the 60s to about 15,000 now.

Mr Gale said: “Uckfield has always been a place where businesses can A start and B flourish, TR Fastenings is a good example. Uckfield remains a great place to be in business.”

He wished David Marshall well as Chamber president and said the organisation was in good hands.

Six new members were welcomed at Thursday’s meeting. They are: Zing Consulting, training and development consultants; Avron Consulting, energy management advice; Barchester Healthcare, care home at Five Ash Down; Pendrigh Makin, solicitors; Barclays Bank; Printstation, design, print, signage.

Peter Henley gave a talk on Farmade Management Systems, a business based at Clearwater House for the past three years.

He said Farmade had 5,000 customers throughout the UK. It produces software for farmers, growers and their advisors which tracks everything from preparation of ground, through husbandry of crops, financial implications, health and safety, harvesting of the crop, taking it into store, marketing, treatments of crop in store until the point it leaves the farm.

Keith Stonham from Uckfield Rotary Club told members about a diamond jubilee charity ball being held at Uckfield Civic Centre on May 19 and invited them to a Rotary open evening being held in the Ashdown Room at the Civic Centre on May 9 from 5pm.

East Sussex county councillor Paul Sparks urged Chamber members to take part in a council consultation on plans to improve traffic flow in Uckfield.

He said four options – two involving new roads – had been put forward and the consultation would run until April 23.