IAAF announces Horsfall as conference keynote speaker

Inspirational war veteran and campaigner Robin Horsfall will be the keynote speaker at the annual IAAF Conference, which takes place on Thursday 8 December at DoubleTree, Hilton Milton Keynes.

The theme for this year’s conference will be “Overcoming Adversity – unlocking a prosperous future for the aftermarket” and will feature a number of high-profile speakers who will share insights from both the past few years and examine what we can learn as the industry embarks on the next chapter in its history.

The conference has been packed out in recent years and so the Federation has taken the decision to relocate to the ballroom to accommodate up to 300 conference delegates.

Horsfall’s iconic speeches are underlined with the theme of overcoming adversity – following a difficult family life as a child, he joined the army at the age of 15, where he experienced isolation and bullying, before becoming an SAS solider at 21. He was a member of the SAS counter terrorist team that assaulted the Iranian Embassy in London in 1980, helping to rescue nineteen hostages who had been held for six days.

After moving from the army to teach martial arts in London in 1992, the largest independent children’s karate group in Europe.

Horsfall then experienced another misfortune, breaking his neck in an accident, however, he didn’t let this hold him back, going on to study English Literature and Creative Writing at Surrey University, graduating in 2016. In 2018, Horsfall was struck with bladder cancer, which was successfully treated.

Mark Field, chief executive of IAAF, said: “The automotive aftermarket is constantly overcoming adversity from the external pressures of Brexit, coronavirus pandemic and global supply chain issues to the internal issues of skills and recruitment, market changes and through the absolute need to ensure the independent aftermarket has the right to service, repair and MOT the modern motor vehicle.

“Robin’s story is truly inspirational and his life experiences across difficult subjects will be captivating, and we’re delighted to have him join us at the annual conference.”

The evening will see the IAAF’s Annual Dinner, The AFTERmarket Party of the Year, which will feature an entertainment, comedian Omid Djalli and awards, larger than that of previous years.

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