BTHA stalwart, Natasha Crookes is taking up the position of secretariat among the Toy Retailer’s Association.
Crookes has been selected for the position since it was announced that current secretariat, Derek Markie is to retire at the end of June at the 2017 Annual General Meeting.
Markie has worked for the TRA for the past 14 years, representing the interests of members in discussions with stakeholders, running the TRA secretariat, fielding media questions and organising Dream Toys.
For a number of years he ran the Annual Awards Dinner and co-ordinated the retail judging of the Toy of the Year awards.
Markie has assisted the process of leading to a smooth handover of the reins to Crookes since the announcement was made.
“Despite the decline in retail numbers since 2010, [my work has] been great fun as well as challenging,” said Markie. “I am grateful to everyone involved in the Association and its key public event, Dream Toys.
“As they pass in to Natasha’s highly experiences and energetic hands, I wish you all every success in the future.”
Alan Simpson, chairman of the TRA, added: “Derek has worked tirelessly on behalf of the association for many years. He has shown passion and commitment to our industry and our retail community. He will be missed in his capacity at the Association, but also personally; we all hope he enjoys a happy retirement.”
Markie will hand the reins over to Crookes on June 1. Crookes has worked for the BTHA for 16 years, most recently as director of public affairs and communications.
As well as continuing her part time work with the BTHA, Crookes will take over the administration of the TRA and will organise Dream Toys and the toy retail judging of the industry awards.
“I am delighted to be able to take over the work of the TRA from the excellent job Derek Markie has done over the years,” she said.
“I look forward to speaking to retail members and working with the excellent team of TRA members, toy suppliers, Bastion and Blackberry Productions that run Dream Toys so well each year, as well as my BTHA colleague, Matt Jones on the Toy of the Year Awards.”