By Amit Roy
SUMMER is marked by a number of elite events, such as the Chelsea Flower Show, the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy and the Queen driving past in her carriage at Royal Ascot just after 2pm.
Indeed, the official programme included a few words from the Queen: “I am delighted to welcome you to Royal Ascot, one of the sporting events that I have been fortunate to enjoy throughout my life.
“Racing began at Ascot over 300 years ago and, while much has changed, the horses remain the stars, thrilling us with their beauty, brilliance and course.
“To everyone attending Royal Ascot this week, I hope you have a most enjoyable time.”
Bestway’s guests at Royal Ascot certainly did. This year they had a good view of the royal family from an enclosed private area right next to the racecourse.
“Personally, I never bet,” admitted Sir Anwar Pervez, founder chairman of Bestway who was perfectly dressed for the occasion in morning suit, waistcoat, dress shirt and tie. Once upon a time he even had a top hat.
The retail, cement, mining and pharma group entertained “863 guests” to a four-course luncheon last Friday (21) in the exclusive Pavilion Restaurant.
“This is our 27th Ascot,” Sir Anwar told Eastern Eye: “People enjoy coming to Ascot – some guests came from Pakistan.”
This year Bestway Race Day at Royal Ascot raised funds for Save the Children.
Sir Anwar had warned in April when the group’s annual results were filed at Companies House that “the uncertainty regarding Brexit will likely result in further austerity and continue to dampen economic growth”.
But he also confirmed that the group had taken necessary measures to reduce key risks to the business.
The results showed the group’s “overall revenues rose 9 per cent to £3.2 billion, despite profits falling on the back of some of its international businesses.”
Underlying profit before tax fell by 25 per cent to £331.9 million, it said, due to “difficult trading conditions in Pakistan and the devaluation of the Pakistani rupee” (in addition to its UK wholesale and retail operations, the group operates the largest cement factory and the second largest private bath in Pakistan).
On behalf of Sir Anwar and other directors, group chief executive Zameer Choudrey said recently that “in the UK £4.69m have been donated to local and national charities; £4.25m in scholarships to South Asian students and £2.61m to hospitals and schools. The UK’s third largest pharmacist Well has donated more than £1.22m in support of local causes.”
He added: “In Pakistan, annually over 35,000 individuals are provided free medical treatment at our purpose-built health-care facilities and over 5,000 schoolchildren receive free education and meals at our dedicated local schools.”