The BWCA held what was generally believed to be the biggest and best BWCA annual event yet consisting of the BWCA Golf Day; Chairman’s Welcome Supper on Wednesday 16th March; followed by the Annual Water Cooler Conference, attracting over 130 delegates; the BWCA Trade Show with seminars; and the Gala Dinner and Charity Auction benefiting Just a Drop on Thursday 17th March.

For information regarding the Leading the Way 2016 Conference, and full details for all those businesses who exhibited this year.

Please click here to access the Conference and Trade Show Guide.

John Dundon,
chairman of BWCA

The Chairman warmly thanked the sponsors:








After welcoming the recent tax on sugary soft drinks, John Dundon speculated on what happened to the market in 2015. “There are greater demands on public finances affecting the market; growth has slowed; employment is continuing to drop; interest rates are at a record low…so we have mixed messages and not as positive a climate as we have seen over the last few years,” said John Dundon. He pointed out that the environment is a key issue once again pointing out that the industry’s “environmental credential are fantastic”. He went on to say how he believed the bottled water cooler sector of the market had further strengthened in the past year.

Karen Wells,
Senior Market Consultant,
Zenith International

Karen Wells of Zenith International gave a presentation on UK market developments in 2015, indicating:

  • UK water cooler market valued at £123 million with a 5% revenue growth compared to 2014
  • Positive growth of 1.5% for UK water cooler numbers – now standing at 645,000 cooler units
  • Bottled water coolers up by 1.8% to 341,000 with 53% of the market
  • Point of Use installations up by 1.2% to 304,000 with 47% of the market, but in revenue terms its share has declined to less than a quarter
  • Bottled water sales increased by 5% year-on-year to 296 million litres

UK Water statistics info graphic. View it here


Brendan Hanlon,
Head of Fundraising & Communications,
Just a Drop

“A child dies every 20 seconds due to dirty water. Over 20 years this has come down a little but not much. The thing is, if you give clean and safe water they are healthier and better educated. What we [Just a Drop] do is very simple - water projects are about water PLUS. Water enables people to grow crops and get better nutrition. £1 delivers clean water for a child for up to ten years. We are so grateful to BWCA for supporting us”.

The BWCA’s support of the charity Just a Drop was officially launched at the event. Just a Drop provides drinking water and sanitation to communities in developing countries. Specifically, the BWCA have chosen to raise funding for a borehole project in Kalungwishi village in Zambia. The project will provide clean drinking water for the village whose inhabitants currently have no access to clean safe water, resulting in waterborne disease striking every week.

The events organized during the day including a charity auction later that night astonished everyone by raising, in just one day, over £10,000, meaning that the project in Africa to build a borehole for a village will go ahead immediately. The surplus is being put towards a second project sponsored by BWCA and the event inspired some members and exhibitors to get involved with Just a Drop individually.


Simon Weston CBE

The BWCA Keynote Speaker was Simon Weston CBE who was badly injured 33 years ago in the Falklands War.

Simon Weston talked about the blaze which resulted from the bombing of the ship on which he was serving. The incident was to lead to 96 operations, the first of these on the hospital ship The Uganda, with the last few in the past 18 months including stem cell work to address the skin problems resulting from burning.

“The difference between winning and losing comes down to a simple matter of attitude. The first thing you sell is yourself. Trust is hard won and very easily lost,” he said. “Some say that, because I was the most badly injured person to survive, I was terribly unlucky; I think because I was the most badly injured person to survive, I was incredibly lucky. It’s a question of how you see it”.

His message was one of self-belief and overcoming adversity, no matter what the circumstances. The 50 minute talk had the audience laughing as well as crying.

Delegates each received a copy of one of Simon Weston’s books, a personal memoire.


The afternoon included three well attended free of charge seminars which gave delegates an added benefit of attending, taking back to their businesses information and ideas for future planning.

  • Today’s technology and your business (Alban Barroccu, Expertlogic)
  • Social media marketing (David Mitchell and Lauren Keeling, The Marketing People)
  • Is the coffee market an area I’m missing? (Bryan Stockley, Beverage Standards Association)

Gala Dinner and Auction

The Gala Dinner concluded the event with a hugely successful Charity Auction and mind-reading entertainment , music and a casino.

The day was concluded by the annual social highlight of the watercooler industry, the BWCA Casino Gala Dinner. Chris Penn, 4 Aces and Golf sponsor, presented prizes to the BWCA Golf Day winners (Individual winner: Tony Hird, Runner up: Roger Moore, Group winners: Nigel Elwick, Tony Hird, Roger Moore and Kevin Martin). Dinner was followed by a very lively charity auction, with auctioneer Bruce Orme, Wenlock Spring encouraging bidding that raised over £10,000 for Just a Drop. The evening concluded with mind-blowing entertainment from Alex Crow and a casino for those who wanted to chance their luck at the tables.

What the delegates said:

Chris Judson, Countrywise
“I have to say, this was in my opinion the best Conference I have ever experienced.
The planning of the food/refreshments was very well organised, and of a very high standard.
The talks were clear, and informative. There was a very good, lively vibe in the air throughout the day. Highlight? Well, of course, it was Simon Weston. Absolutely excellent. Tears in the corners of my eyes, from laughter and thought provoked emotions. Excellent.”

Jenny Thompson, Vending International
“The presentations and the exhibition were excellent and informative.”

Kevin Matthews, Angel Springs
“It was by far the best event I have been to, and I am delighted to support Just a Drop”.

Francis Renfrey, Bericap UK
“Mark Wilkinson and I thought the show was really good this year, so well done for organising the event. We both thought that Simon Weston as a guest speaker was quite inspirational and somewhat moving. We look forward to supporting the event next year.”

Jim Redford, H20 Direct
“I would like to say a huge thank you for organising such a great event over the past 2 days."
“Having Simon Weston as your guest at the conference was a great move and very inspiring, and added to what already was going to be a very successful event."
“For us, the exhibition was a very successful one - well worth the investment. Many thanks again – and I look forward to next year’s event!”

Caroline Elliot, Crystal Mountain
“The Trade Show was spacious, yet buzzing and vibrant. “

Alban Baroccu, Expertlogic
“As an exhibitor, I was pleased with the response we received as a result of attending this year’s trade show and to advise that we would be pleased to make this a regular event.”

Andrew Vickery, Thirsty Work
“A first class opportunity to meet everyone in our industry.”

Conference 2016 Gallery

Trade Show and Conference 2017

Next year’s event will be held on Wednesday 22nd and Thursday 23rd March at the Nottingham Belfry.

Both BWCA Members and non-members are invited to both exhibit and visit. With the success of 2016 we will be looking to once again hold an event that is both enjoyable and provide essential information and motivation to help delegates run successful businesses. Bring colleagues - this is an inclusive event for all in the watercooler industry.