CO-OPERATIVES UK chairman Ben Reid described the Congress 2004 attendance of over 900 as "absolutely fantastic."
Two years ago, he said, there were just 270 delegates at Congress. This year's total was 408, plus another 507 guests and vistors.
Mr Reid, recently elected as Co-ops UK's chairman, admitted it was "quite a moment" for him to open Congress after 20 years in the Movement.
He said the Old Trafford Congress brought together two of Manchester's greatest institutions ? the Co-operative Movement and Manchester United.
Talking of Manchester ?institutions' Mr Reid saluted Lord Morris of Manchester, who was celebrating 40 years as a Co-op Parliamentarian.
Two other peers – Lord Graham of Edmonton and Baroness Glenys Thornton plus three other Labour/Co-op MPs – were also in attendance and Mr Reid pointed out that, altogether, 10 past Congress Presidents were in the audience.
Mr Reid introduced guest speaker Bernard Kadasia of the ICA's Regional Officer for East, Central and Southern Africa, who urged UK co-ops to consider ?twinning' arrangements with emerging co-operatives – including housing co-ops and credit unions – in Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa.
Co-ops interested should contact Co-operatives UK's Manchester head office for further details.