REPRESENTATIVES from groups and businesses across Poole joined together to celebrate the town at a special event.

The Daily Echo backed ‘Celebrating Poole’ initiative was organised by the council to show off the very best of the borough, across the fields of business, education, healthcare and cultural life.

Six keynote speakers, including Sunseeker’s chief executive Phil Popham, and Stuart Bartholomew from the Arts University Bournemouth, addressed the invite-only event.

Other speakers, including chief executive of Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ian Girling, reminded guests of various aspects of Poole, which are sometimes “overlooked”.

He drew particular attention to the “world-class global brands” the town is home to, including Sunseeker, Lush and Ryvita. He also praised Poole’s engineering and manufacturing sector.

Other businesses and organisations represented included marine electronic company Actisence, fume extraction technology firm BOFA, and software manufacturer TDSi.

The presentations for the evening included talks by BOFA’s Tony Lockwood, Poole Hospital consultant general and laparoscopic surgeon Professor Tas Qureshi, and Poole councillor Ian Potter, who is the portfolio holder for planning, regeneration and transportation.

His presentation provided an overview of the borough’s approach to regenerating Poole, including updates on major developments.

Lisa Treagle, head of participation at Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (BSO), also spoke at the event. The BSO is based at Poole’s Lighthouse Arts Centre.

Cllr Janet Walton, leader of Poole council, said the aim of the event was to be “inspirational”.

“I had the idea for the event a few months back. I think as you go round and meet people in Poole, it’s quite obvious that there’s so many worthwhile things that happen here that people aren’t really aware of.

“The robotic surgery that happens here, particularly with regards to bowel cancer, is world-famous. We have one of the most eminent consultants of that surgery here in Poole. Not many people know that. That’s a small example, there are many others.

“Particularly as we’re at a time of great change in the area, I thought it would be a very good idea to get together and hear about that and celebrate those things. To be inspirational.

“In my speech I said it’s really going to take all of us together in these challenging times to move things forward and make Poole even more of a wonderful place than it is now.”

She continued: “Although it is financially challenging, I don’t think we can overlook the future and we must build a strong future for everyone.

“This is the first event of its kind, and we’ll build on it. I’m hopeful there will be more of these in the future.”