Destination Basingstoke is a not for profit organisation working with businesses and other partners to help promote Basingstoke as a place with a superb quality of life and quality of business. A Basingstoke Ambassadors event was held on Friday 26 July at the new Airkix Indoor Skydiving Centre situated at the Basingstoke Leisure Park. Maria Miller Basingstoke's MP and Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport introduced the event, outlining the reasons why Basingstoke was such a pleasant place in which to live and work. She referred to recemnt investment in the town by the John Lewis Partnership and Network Rail, and pointed to the low unemployment figures.
The Basingstoke Ambassadors are a group of influential, mainly business people from Basingstoke (including for example, the Chairman of Motorola UK, Paul Smith CBE (Chairman of Celador), the CEO of AXA Wealth, they also include senior hospital consultants, the Chairmen of the local rugby and football clubs, CEO of Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council, The Vice Chancellor of The University of Winchester and an Olympian. The Ambassadors at the event all shared her enthusiasm and passion for the town and the surrounding area and want to help in putting Basingstoke on the map for all the right reasons, using their positions of influence in their different circles to fly the flag for Basingstoke. After Maria Miller had spoken, the Managing Director of Destination Basingstoke, Felicity Edwards, outlined the objectives of the campaign, and she was followed by Anthony Butler, Senior Director of TIAA-CREF Asset Management, who are the new owners of Festival Place. He outlined the plans for Festival Place, and explained why it had been acquired by an American Pension Fund. Simon Ward, the Chief Executive of Airkix, which was hosting the event, outlined why they had chosen Basingstoke as one of the three sites for the Airkix experience, and said that he was delighted with the number of visitors attracted by the location.
Also at the event were Professor Joy Carter, Vice Chancellor of the University of Winchester and Merv Rees, the Medical Director of Surgical Services at Hampshire Hospitals Foundation Trust.