Fay Pannell was the first professional conference organiser to establish such a business in the UK and was certainly one of the first in the world.
Fay initially started her business supplying staff and interpreters for international events throughout Europe. Gradually she undertook more and more of the services for her clients until she formed her company.
Fay went on to establish herself as the leading expert in the field and the person to go to for large international association conferences. Realising that there was a new profession emerging, she, together with four other international colleagues, established the International Association for Professional Conference Organisers (IAPCO). High standards were required from members with their organisations visited and assessed and an event inspected prior to acceptance. The Association went on to establish its own annual educational course designed for those working in all aspects of the industry. The course is run in Switzerland and is recognised for the quality of its training.
Fay was indefatigable in her work and for her support of other aspects of the meeting industry. She worked closely with the government and with the London Tourist Board. She was an early PCO member of ICCA. She was admitted to the Guild of Freemen of the City of London in October 1971 (having been refused admission in 1968 as 'ladies are not eligible for membership'.) In 1978 she received the OBE and her company received the Queen's Award for Export and Technology. Throughout her career she travelled a great deal speaking at industry events and visiting her colleagues around the world offering support and advice.
When she 'retired' in 1978 her energy did not diminish and she studied for a degree with the Open University. At the age of 90 she received her Honours Degree from Lord Putnam in Versailles.
The funeral will take place on 2nd October at All Saints Church, Harbridge, nr Ringwood, Hampshire, UK at 11.30.