The Northamptonshire Footwear Manufacturers' Association (NFMA) and BFA joined forces at the beginning of the year. The move took place after a special General Meeting of NFMA in December 2000, followed by a BFA board meeting the next day. Stephen Etheridge, president of NFMA, said: "Following a very successful six-month period of close cooperation, it was clear that a formal integration of the organisations would benefit all our members. The decision was unanimously approved by our meeting and Elaine Davies, secretary of NFMA, is very enthusiastic about the opportunities presented by the new organisation."