Beaverbrooks chairman Mark Adlestone paid tribute to the extraordinary dedication and selflessness of his long-time colleague and associate, Andrew Brown MBE, as he presented him with the Professional Jeweller Lifetime Achievement award this week.
Brown joined Beaverbooks as a 16-year-old back in 1962, retiring earlier this year after an incredible 57 years in the UK jewellery industry.
More than 200 jewellery executives in attendance at the iconic Lord’s cricket ground gave him a rousing standing ovation as he collected his award, but before that they were treated to a rare insight to the traits that have made him such an industry legend courtesy of a speech from Adlestone.
Having worked with Brown for more than 40 years, he recalled the memorable times that ensued after the pair were appointed joint managing directors in 1990.
Adlestone shared: “Over the following years the business really flew. We enjoyed a fantastic, exciting and energetic decade of development and growth. Andrew built our diamond business. He was very proactive – being one of the first in the trade to buy loose diamonds directly. We enjoyed many buying trips together to Antwerp, including many interesting protracted negotiations! Andrew was one of the original members of De Beers’ Carat Club.
“He drove our property acquisitions and our displays, shop-fits and store design and always adopted a very hands-on approach to his work, never being afraid to roll up his sleeves and get stuck in. Indeed Andrew would regularly be seen working through the nights on shop-fits.”
Brown was made chairman of Beaverbrooks in 2000 and held the role until 2012. He chose to retire in March – fittingly during the company’s centenary year – after almost 60 years in the trade.
“Andrew has borne his fight against Parkinson’s with the greatest of strength and dignity and typically with an absolute lack of fuss,” continued Adlestone. “From Andrew I have observed and learnt (I hope) about kindness, selflessness and humility. Andrew has always been about others and never about himself. He has never sought the limelight and he exudes modesty.”
Applause rung out when attendees were told of the huge charity efforts that Brown has led over the years.
37 years ago he set up the Beaverbrooks 10k Fun Run in Blackpool, which is still going strong today. More than £2.5m has been raised for various local charities since its launch, while Beaverbrooks also now partners with Trinity Hospice in Fleetwood. In 2008, Mr Brown received the MBE from Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace for his services to charity.
Meanwhile, the Beaverbooks Charitable Trust now donates 20% of its retained profits each year, with more than 750 charities benefitting from the £13.5m that has been contributed since 2000.
Adlestone adds: “Andrew has been an amazing partner supporting me unreservedly – allowing me to run the business and to make the changes as I have felt necessary. We have never once crossed words, never once fallen out.”
He ended by saying how grateful everyone was for his 57 years at the retailer. “You have been an absolute inspiration and example to me and to all of your colleagues at Beaverbrooks,” he said.
Upon receiving his award, Brown also gave a speech, which you can read about HERE.