By Ben Simmons

Over 40 local businesses gathered at the Salisbury Playhouse for a very special birthday celebration and enjoyed a slice of cake with their cooked breakfast.

4networking, the UK’s largest social business networking organisation was celebrating its 6th birthday with its 54,000 members. The Salisbury group, one of over 300 in the UK, was a fitting location for this party as it was also celebrating 2 years since first launching.

Helping cut the cake was another birthday boy, Regional Leader Graham Davies, who helps coordinate 22 groups along the south coast. Joining him was birthday girl Helen Buteux, Director of 4N south coast's PR partner I Am Now Media.

"It's such a fantastic achievement for 4Networking that I got up at 6 am to drive from Portsmouth to be here " Helen (41) explained. "It’s not just the past 6 years we're celebrating it's also the future. 4N evening networking meetings launch this week & it's a year since 4N unveiled in Sydney, Australia. All exciting developments."

4networking encourages businesses of all sizes to enjoy meeting over breakfast and online. They find valuable personal support, inspiration, learning and undoubtedly plenty of business opportunities amongst the 54,000 4N members.

"South coast members alone passed well over £100,000 of business to each other in 2011" Graham Davies enthused. "Every meeting uniquely provides three 1:1 ten minute appointments between members so they can meet, know, like & trust each other. These are the basic principles of doing business the 4N way."

This special breakfast meeting defied all the usual preconceptions of business networking. There was plenty of laughter, banter, socialising, story swapping, photo taking, party hat wearing and of course eating of the huge birthday cake.

" We decided on just 6 candles for 4Ns birthday" Graham told us. "Anything closer too the real number of our birthdays added together would have been a bit of a concern for the fire safety team at the Playhouse."