BUSINESS guru Lord Digby Jones told an audience in Worcestershire an early referendum on the European Union is essential to prevent business uncertainty.

However, the former government minister and director general of the CBI added that if the UK opted out, trade deals would follow to ensure continuing prosperity.

He was giving the annual Friends Memorial lecture in Pershore Abbey, an event which raises funds to keep the famous landmark in good repair and this year topped £8,500.

Lord Jones added that today's go-ahead business leaders could learn valuable lessons from great battles of the past. Such as the incompetence of General Custer at the Battle of the Little Bighorn, the disaster of the charge of the Light Brigade and the skilled tactics of Wellington and Nelson.

The new vicar of Pershore, the Revd Claire Lording, welcomed Lord Jones on his first visit to the Abbey, and thanked him and the members of The Friends of Pershore Abbey for helping to ensure the building was well maintained. After a vote of thanks from Sir Michael Perry, The Friends’ President, a print of a recent painting of the Abbey by David Woolfe was presented to Lord Jones.