Annual dinner 2024


Time: 18:00 – 23:00

Location: The Box, Plymouth


You are cordially invited to attend the prestigious 2024 SWBC Annual Dinner at The Box, Plymouth.

Following the success of last year’s event, we will once again return to this stunning cultural venue at the heart of Britain’s Ocean City, Plymouth.


Date: Thursday 4th July, 2024

Time: 18:00 – 23:00

Welcome drinks and optional gallery viewings: from 18:00

Three-course dinner: served from approx. 19:15

Carriages: 23:00

Dress code: black tie or professional business attire (black tie and evening gowns are optional). As a guide, business suits and cocktail-length dresses are an example of professional business attire.

Keynote speaker: Vice Admiral Andrew Burns CB OBE, Fleet Commander, Royal Navy

Ticket Price: £90

Refund policy: Tickets are non-refundable

Travel logistics: taxi drop-off will be at the North Hill entrance of The Box as this is where you will enter the building for the start of the evening.

You are advised to pre-book your taxi for the end of the evening.

The exit will be from the main South Hall entrance, which is different from the entry point. Taxis can pick you up outside the Caffeine Club (corner of Regent Street), which is the closest pick-up point, however, some drivers will go to the other end of Tavistock Place so please double-check with your driver which is the preferred pick-up point.

Parking is available at the following car parks:

Regent Street Car Park: a 2 min walk from The Box, gates close at 12:00

Drakes Circus Car Park; a 5 min walk from The Box, gates close at 23:00

The Bar Code Car Park: a 7 min walk from The Box, gates close at 01:15



  • Honey roasted hock terrine, jalapeno butter & toast
  • Goats cheese mousse, toasted hemp seed, parsley, red onion & toast
  • Seasonal soup with salt & vinegar pumpkin seeds (GF)(VG)


  • Pan-fried supreme of chicken, dauphinoise potato, tangle of greens & jus (GF)
  • Pan roasted catch of the day, dauphinoise potato, tangle of greens & hollandaise(GF)
  • Braised celeriac steak, butter bean cassoulet, pesto & sunflower seeds (GF)(VG)


  • Dark chocolate brownie & vanilla ice cream
  • Tonka bean panna cotta, strawberry & popcorn (GF)(VG)
  • Lemon & ginger cheesecake & strawberry salsa

Please note that your menu choices and dietary/allergy information will be required at the time of registration.

Keynote Speaker: Vice Admiral Andrew Burns CB OBE Fleet Commander

Andrew Burns was appointed Fleet Commander in September 2021 and commands all operational arms of the Royal Navy (Surface Flotilla, Submarine Flotilla, Fleet Air Arm, Royal Marines and Royal Fleet Auxiliary). This includes their generation for task and operational effectiveness. He is the Chief Naval Warfare Officer and the Gender Advocate for the Royal Navy.

Andrew joined the Royal Navy in 1989 as a University Cadet, subsequently graduating in geography from the University of Durham. As a junior officer he qualified as a Bridge Watch-keeping Officer, Fighter Controller and Principal Warfare Officer and saw service on operations across the world in destroyers, a frigate and an aircraft carrier.

He has been privileged to command the mine countermeasures vessel HMS Berkeley, the frigate HMS SOMERSET and the amphibious assault ship HMS BULWARK. He was appointed OBE in 2015. Promoted to Commodore, he commanded the Amphibious Task Group, which included a period in command of the US Fifth Fleet Combined Task Force 50 as the Principal Warfighting Commander. More recently, he was Commander United Kingdom Strike Force, the Royal Navy’s deployable 2* operational commander, and Rear Admiral Surface Ships, the head of the Surface Flotilla Fighting Arm.

Shore appointments have included: the National Contingent Headquarters for Operation TELIC; the Multinational Force Headquarters (Baghdad); Directorates of Special Forces and Strategic Plans in the Ministry of Defence; Commander Sea Training; Joint Forces Command as the Principal Staff Officer to the Commander; Assistant Chief of Staff Ships in NCHQ; and latterly, Director Develop, responsible for the future design and capability of the Royal Navy. He was appointed CB in 2021.

He has attended the Royal College of Defence Studies as an Associate Member and is a graduate of the Advanced Command and Staff Course (MA in Defence Studies, King’s College London) and the Higher Command and Staff Course. He has been a Visiting Research Fellow at the Changing Character of War Programme, Pembroke College, University of Oxford, he holds an Honorary Doctorate in Science from the University of Plymouth and is a graduate of the US Combined Forces Maritime Component Commanders Course and the UK/US Rising Leaders Course.

Andrew is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Managers, a Younger Brother of Trinity House and a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Coachmakers and Coach Harness Makers. He is also; a trustee of both the Naval Review and the Devon Wildlife Trust; President of RN and UK Armed Forces Cricket; Vice President of the Royal Navy Rugby Union; and a Patron of Future Fit Junior Field Gun.

He is married to Wendy and they have a 16-year-old son; their home is on Dartmoor which they share with their two Jack Russell terriers.

SWBC Membership

As a CIC, we are determined to play a bigger role in furthering the prosperity of our amazing region and its environment, by helping to create the very best economic circumstances for people and businesses to thrive.

With over 20 plus years’ experience of supporting our members, the South West Business Council remains committed to supporting regional businesses, from a diverse range of sectors, to help them navigate their challenges and achieve their ambitions.

To find out more about our membership, please visit:

SWBC Membership

2023 Annual CIC Report

This report details the innovative and exciting activities undertaken by the SWBC in the last year, to fulfill its main objectives, delivering community benefits, positive social impact, and stakeholder consultations.

Find out more here:

Annual Report

About The Box

The Box is Plymouth’s new £46 million cultural destination, proudly led by Plymouth City Council in Britain’s Ocean City. A museum, gallery and archive. A cafe, shop and bar. A place that you can make your own, and where there’s always something new to discover.

The opening of The Box was one of the most significant cultural events in the UK in 2020. Plymouth’s former Museum and Art Gallery, Central Library and St Luke’s church buildings have been completely transformed with a series of new galleries and exhibition spaces. The Box also features a striking elevated ‘archive in the sky’ with research and learning facilities, food, drink and retail spaces. It’s also created a major new public square (Tavistock Place) for performances, events and artistic responses.

Plymouth has a fascinating past and a dynamic present. The Box’s collections, programmes and commissions share stories of international and local significance. We also give contemporary artists the opportunity to create new work that responds to our historic collections.

South West Coast Path

SWBC proudly supports the South West Coast Path Association, a registered charity working to protect and conserve the Coast Path to give us all the opportunity to improve our health in the great outdoors.