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Founding MP congratulates Chamber as one of the most effective in UK

Midlothian Chamber of Commerce’s 10th anniversary has been given a ringing vote of confidence by MP David Hamilton, one of its founder members, who has described the organisation as possibly the most effective of its kind in Britain.

As a Council representative, the MP sat on the original board of parent body Midlothian Enterprise Trust and believes that at the time Midlothian was the only local authority in Scotland represented at such a level in a Chamber of Commerce.

“The needs of Midlothian, a semi-rural area, were substantially different from companies based in Edinburgh,” he recalled. “I understood how important it was to make the transition from heavy industries such as coal mining and textiles, and that we needed to support smaller businesses.”

Hamilton, who joined local and regional business leaders by celebrating the decade of renewal at the luxury home of the organisation’s first member, added: “As MP for Midlothian I have spoken of the Chamber and Enterprise Trust with a great deal of pride. For such a small County we have one of the most, if not the most effective, Chamber of Commerce in the UK.”

The icing on the cake at the birthday lunch at Dalhousie Castle in Bonnyrigg – the first company to join - was the presence of four of the five chairmen who have presided over the organisation’s development.

Midlothian’s Lord Lieutenant, Patrick Prenter, was its first Chairman. Others included his successors Murdo McKenzie (New Park Management), Colin Macfarlane (Melville Golf Centre), and current Chairman Colin Burnett of the Moredun Research Institute.

Executive Director Gregor Murray told representatives of 55 companies: “The Chamber has been very good for the community, business and local jobs. It has made a big contribution to Midlothian. It helps businesses succeed, become part of a national and international network, and gives them a stronger voice with decision makers in the public sector.”

Last year the Chamber merged with the East Lothian Business Association to form the Midlothian and East Lothian Chamber of Commerce.