A worldwide panel of 31 tyre industry specialists made up of tyre and vehicle manufacturers, industry research professionals and university experts has chosen Michelin as ‘Tire Manufacturer of the Year’.

Michelin was awarded this prestigious prize at the 2019 Tire Technology International Awards for Innovation and Excellence at a ceremony during Tire Technology Expo 2019 at the Deutsche Messe, Hannover, Germany.

The panel awarded the accolade to Michelin for several achievements; notably the company’s environmental initiatives, product innovation and its work into worn tyre performance.

Judge Klaus Baltruschat, tyre expert for TÜV SÜD commented: “Michelin’s environmental initiatives over the past 12 months have been outstanding; they are one of the few tyre OEs to commit to 2048 sustainability targets. Michelin has been driving the market with innovations and sustainability concepts for years, and their environmental initiatives such as micronised rubber powder and clever tread pattern design that still delivers good performance, even when close to being worn out, are just a few examples that can be cited here.”

Pierre Robert, Director of Research and Development for the Michelin group, commented: “The tyre manufacturing industry is highly competitive, so it is a real honour for Michelin to receive the prestigious Tire Technology International ‘Tire manufacturer of the Year’ award.  Innovation has been at the heart of Michelin’s success for more than 125 years, and this award is testament to the pioneering work of the 6,000+ people working today in R&D worldwide for Michelin.”

Hopes are high that a visit to Staffordshire by South Korean regional government officials could spark longer term business relationships with both hosts Enlighten and the wider business and education sectors.

Sara Williams, Chief Executive of Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce and David Frost, Chair of Stoke-on-Trent Local Enterprise, were among Staffordshire business leaders who held talks with regional government leaders from Gyeonggi Province and the city of Pyeongtaek.

Both declared the talks as “highly positive” and were hopeful that a second visit could be arranged in autumn 2019.

“We are delighted that Enlighten involved the Chambers in the visit and it gave us a golden opportunity to sell Staffordshire as a great place to do business,” said Sara Williams. “We must now work to keep the dialogue open as we talked to them about returning to see even more about what’s on offer.

“Staffordshire Chambers have strong links with Enlighten, having recognised their great potential from the company’s inception in 2017 It is clear that Enlighten has built very positive relationships in South Korea and we will support them every step along the way as they work to take their pioneering mental health apps to Gyeonggi Province.”

Enlighten, from Tamworth, are at the forefront of developing “tech for good” in the education and health sectors. The company has worked in the UK to develop mental health resources for colleges and universities and the military.

The South Korean link would see Enlighten work with that country’s first suicide prevention centre and wider health bodies, potentially sparking extraordinary growth for the small Enlighten team.

Negotiations have begun which, if successful, would see Enlighten gain access to millions of pounds of European funding and open a second office in South Korea.

Suzanne Edwards, Enlighten’s Head of Education, said: “We were proud and excited to welcome the South Korean delegation to the area. Talks about supporting their mental health services are progressing well and we established plans to move them forward ahead of hosting a further visit.

“We put on a full programme of events over more than three days, involving visits to meet business leaders and see technology in action in Tamworth, Stoke-on-Trent and Birmingham. Despite being an extremely technologically advanced country, South Korea has not used these advantages to support mental health services and this led to them being interested in what Enlighten is offering.

“Our Augmented Reality mental health awareness raising resources, created in partnership with charity Rethink Mental Illness, has seen positive results, when used in colleges and in the armed forces, with soldiers suffering PTSD. By placing a smart phone over a poster, people can gain access to advice and information signposting them on ways to seek help.

“This is seen as ideal for use in South Korea where 5G connectivity is common and smart phone usage is extremely high.”

Links were built in Gyeonggi Province when Enlighten were advised by Staffordshire Chamber based Department of International Trade officials to apply to join a trade mission.

Steve Wileman, Enlighten’s Head of Technology and Development said: “Having met officials from South Korea in their country, it was fantastic to be asked to host them here. They were keen to progress our partnership talks but also showed interest in what other potential business and educational links can be established. Gyeonggi Province and the city of Pyeongtaek is home to household names such as Samsung and Hyundai.”

Dougie Mac is delighted to confirm that the Denise Coates Foundation will be funding the entire refurbishment of the hospice Inpatient Unit with a generous £950,100 grant. The gift will enable the Hospice to undertake the Inpatient Unit refurbishment programme, delivering building and facility improvements that will raise the quality and standard of the environment to the level that those receiving end of life care and their loved ones truly deserve.

The donation of £950,100 will fund the entire refurbishment of the Inpatient Unit, which is long overdue. Built in the early 70’s the Unit has been regularly redecorated, but fittings and engineering work has only been sparingly maintained.

The hospice costs in excess of £12 million a year to provide exceptional care to over 3,500 patients and their loved ones. The gift from the Foundation means the support of local people, businesses, organisations and groups can continue to fund patient care. We are reliant on voluntary donations for 80% of the annual running costs and to find the additional funds for the much needed refurbishment of the Inpatient Unit was posing a huge challenge.

Thanks to the Denise Coates Foundation the Dougie Mac are able to undertake the extensive refurbishment which will be far reaching including the installation of portable nurse call alarms for every patient, state of the art fire protection systems, electrical and plumbing upgrades, piped oxygen to every bed, floors, skirting and walls that assure high standards of infection control, air conditioning throughout the unit and intruder/ security alarms.

In addition patients and families can benefit from wet rooms, ensuite bathrooms, and direct access to a patio area overlooking the gardens, new socialising areas and kitchenettes. All to provide a safe, serene and spacious home from home environment, in which patients and their loved ones can experience and enjoy cherished moments together at a most difficult time, whilst receiving end of life care.

The Hospice is hugely grateful for the significant support of The Denise Coates Foundation which since 2013 has provided £2.4m of funding. This has strengthened the reach and positive effect of one of the regions most loved charities for which the Hospice is hugely grateful. David Webster, Dougie Mac Chief Executive, commented:

“The Denise Coates Foundation plays a pivotal role in the community, not only supporting Dougie Mac, but also a number of other local organisations. We offer our deepest and sincerest thanks for the generosity displayed in this tremendous donation that allows Dougie Mac to embark on its next chapter.

Denise Coates CBE, Denise Coates Foundation Trustee commented:

“The trustees are delighted that the Foundation could support Dougie Mac’s Inpatient Unit refurbishment programme. The Hospice provides a vital service to the people in the region with a life limiting illness.

“It is extremely important that those receiving end of life care are afforded the highest standards of comfort and dignity. This investment will deliver an environment that will enable Dougie Mac to provide the level of support that will do just that.”

As part of International Women’s Day celebrations, Freeths invited local female business leaders from over 50 businesses in the area to join them on 8th March 2019.

Hosted by KMF Precision Sheet Metal, who actively encourage young women into engineering through their award-winning in-house apprentice programme, the event celebrated successful women in STEM.

In addition to taking a factory tour, delegates had the opportunity to hear from guest speaker, Jenny Conlon. Jenny is a recognised ‘Driver of Cultural Change’ in the industry, and has played an integral role in promoting STEM subjects and encouraging school leavers to consider a career in engineering.

Jenny Conlon says, “I believe KMF leads the way in driving equality and making engineering appealing to young women particularly through our apprenticeship programme.”

Zalena Vandrewala, Senior Associate at Freeths added, “Our partnership with KMF is a great opportunity to come together to mark International Women’s Day with so many successful women from different backgrounds and industries”.

Freeths has a strong female representation in Stoke-on-Trent and as a firm actively support women in business al year round including hosting several events through their NEW: Networking Events for Women programme and sponsorship of the national Women of the Year Awards.



Beeston Shenton are proud to announce that they have recently become the only firm in the North Staffordshire and Cheshire area to join the divorce online project, which has been set up by the Ministry of Justice. Beeston Shenton is one of only twelve firms in the country to join the project. The divorce online system allows the firm to lodge divorce petitions and get them issued dramatically more quickly than the regular method enables. It will make helping clients through the divorce process much quicker, easier and less stressful.

Paul Shenton is particularly pleased about the new project, saying “We are very pleased to have joined the project and be able to offer this service to our clients. The online divorce scheme will enable us to offer a much more efficient and cost-effective process, which will mean less stress for our clients during a time we know is very difficult for them.”

But what exactly is the new online divorce project, and how can it help you get an easy divorce?

What Is An Online Divorce?

A divorce is the legal separation of a married couple who do not wish to be together anymore. You can file for a divorce for reasons such as desertion, adultery, unreasonable behaviour, or if you have been separated for more than 2 years.

An online divorce gives you the option to file for a divorce with the help of a solicitor through the internet, rather than needing to book in and see a solicitor directly. The new scheme was tested on three individual websites and is now accessible across the whole of the UK. The online service allows you to book an online chat with a solicitor, who will go through the information you need and answer any questions you may have.

While there are free online divorce services available, these do not come with the benefit and advice of a solicitor, making it difficult to resolve any issues that arise during the process. You are alone in dealing with any problems that arise and will end up endlessly searching Google to find the answer you’re looking for.

When dealing with something as important as a divorce, ensuring you’re fully informed and protected is absolutely essential. The new project unites the expertise of a divorce lawyer with the convenience of an online divorce, to create the perfect, fast solution you need.

What Are The Benefits Of An Online Divorce?

One of the biggest benefits of an online divorce is that it is a lot more convenient for you. Getting your divorce online means that you can still get along with your day-to-day activities and work, without constantly having to book in for an appointment at your solicitor’s office.

The process of an online divorce is also step-by-step, which means your online solicitor can walk you through the questions they need you to answer, and if you are unsure of anything they can help you fill it in. Given how many things can go wrong during a divorce when you don’t have the aid of a solicitor, you also have peace of mind that any issues arising will be dealt with by a professional, and you will have expert advice every step of the way.

An online divorce also means that you can take your divorce at your own pace, and you aren’t pressured by any deadlines. Your solicitor will ensure you have time to reflect on certain details and information and they will be available whenever you need them to answer any queries or questions.

What’s The Catch?

One downside of an online divorce is that it may only allow uncontested divorces to be made via an online application. This means that you and your partner will need to agree on all aspects of your divorce, including child support and child custody, without mediation or help coming to terms.

Sometimes, if you have children under the age of sixteen, or if you have health problems that mean you need help making financial decisions, you may not be able to get an online divorce. If you have young children or need extra support during your divorce, it is definitely better to gain legal advice from a lawyer directly, so that the process is fair and you can sit down with your solicitor who will talk you through any details you may need to know.

Do I Really Need A Lawyer?

If you are considering getting a divorce online instead of going to visit your local solicitor, then you should use an online divorce service that comes with solicitor advice and information. Without professional support, your divorce may not be valid and you may find yourself in a worse situation that forces you to seek legal council and has escalated beyond the point a solicitor-assisted online divorce is possible.

Having a solicitor assist in your online divorce is more expensive, but worth the extra cash to gain the advantages of the expertise and knowledge you will need for your divorce to run smoothly. The process with a solicitor is generally quicker and less stressful, especially if the other party are opposed to what you have asked for. Your solicitor can also directly speak to the other party to resolve issues without you having to contact them.

For more expert advice and support get in touch with us at www.beestonshenton.co.uk or phone us on 01782 662424  and we can help you in starting your divorce process, whether you choose to pay for an online divorce or for a fixed fee appointment with our solicitors.

A talented young Stoke-on-Trent accountant has won national recognition after passing part of his taxation exams with the highest marks in the UK.

Josh Draycott joined Geens Chartered Accountants after A-levels and has won the Kimmer Medal for the best paper in the Inheritance Tax, Trust and Estates section of the ATT (Association of Taxation Technicians) qualifications.

Geens are celebrating a double success as Hannah Sutcliffe, who only joined the staff at the Stoke town firm in the summer, passed her Level 3 AAT, gaining a distinction.

Director Karen Lowe said: “Josh is part of our Trust and Tax team and has been studying is tax exams after already passing his AAT, accountancy exams. 903 students sat the ATT exams but just 73 selected the Inheritance Tax, Trust and Estates paper due to its complexity, with only three achieving distinctions. To come out on top is a remarkable achievement for Josh.

“Hannah only joined Geens in the summer from a non-accountancy role. She is making rapid progress and has now passed her Level 3 AAT with distinction. Hannah’s commitment to gaining industry qualifications is matched by her work at Geens where she has progressed very quickly.

“We have a proud record of training our own staff and all five of our Directors came through their examinations at Geens, gaining promotions along the way. Geens is experiencing a period of growth, adding new clients and staff. We recently extended into Probate services, an area once reserved for the legal profession.

For further information about Geens, please go online to www.geens.co.uk.

Amber Mapledoram has joined Beswicks Legal as a Private Wealth Paralegal, adding to the expertise in the growing private wealth team, which supports families, business owners and sports people to take steps to protect their estates and assets. Having achieved a first class honours degree in law at Staffordshire University in 2017, Amber is now studying for a master’s degree.


Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce have long been an advocate of apprenticeships and the benefits which they bring to a business. We have been incredibly lucky over the years to have some outstanding members of staff who have successfully completed their apprenticeships and continued their development as long-standing members of Chamber staff.

Kelly Thelwell started out as an apprentice 15 years ago, and is now the Growth Network Co-ordinator, overseeing many core projects across our network. Kelly has also completed a Foundation Degree in Leadership, Management and Innovation. Lauren Oakley and Ryan Dakin have both been with the Chamber for 4 years, with Lauren now helping to drive the success of training in the post of Training & Connections Co-ordinator, having completed Level 2 and 3 in Customer Administration. Ryan completed his Level 3 in Social Media and Digital Marketing and now oversees the Digital Communications and led on the recent build of the new Chamber website. Katie Mountford is now our Events Administrator, having also completed Level 2 and 3 in Business Administration. Katie helps deliver all the Chamber Events across the year.

Esther Hield is one of our most recent starters, having only been with us for two months; she is our Training Apprentice where she works closely with Lauren to help deliver the Chambers training courses. Finally, our current Membership Apprentice, Lucy Adams, works half the day as the front face on reception, then also helps Start-Up businesses book onto our fantastic Start-Up Awareness Sessions.


This July a group of dedicated fundraisers will take on the challenge of climbing Mount Snowdon throughout the night, to raise money for children and young people with life-limiting conditions.

For the third year The Donna Louise’s ‘Snowdon at Night’ challenge will see a team of early-bird supporters set off from base camp at midnight, climbing to the summit in complete darkness, with only their head torches to light the way.

The group will set off just before midnight on 27th July, aiming to reach the summit in time to watch the magical sunrise on 28th July. After admiring the views, taking a few photos and giving each other a huge pat on the back, the walkers will return to base camp to celebrate with a well-deserved breakfast.

Challenge Event Manager, Zoë Gregory, explained, “This is our third Snowdon at Night challenge. Last year 64 people took part in the trek, it was a fantastic night and between them our climbers raised almost £20,000, which is just brilliant. Having done the challenge myself I know that it’s tough-going, as it’s so dark, but it’s such a thrill when you reach the summit.

“While this is a tough challenge, it’s nothing compared to the ongoing battles faced by the families who rely on The Donna Louise. They face epic challenges on a daily basis as they juggle medications, hospital appointments and everyday activities, often on very little sleep. By taking part in our Snowdon at Night challenge you’ll be ensuring these families continue to receive support from The Donna Louise when they need it the most.”

Anyone interested in the challenge can contact Zoë at zoe.gregory@thedonnalouise.org or call 01782 654444 for more information.

Sixteen years after last sponsoring Uttoxeter Racecourse’s biggest race of the year, the Midlands Grand National, Burton based Marston’s Brewery have signed as title partner under the 61 Deep Pale Ale brand on Saturday 16 March 2019.

Having sponsored the race for 6 years between 1996 and 2002, Marston’s Brewery are set to take the reigns of the most prestigious race in the Midlands in what is its 50th year once more. The second longest steeple chase in the country, The Midlands Grand National is a true test of stamina for both horse and jockey and has been the jewel in the regions crown since 1969.

Pat McGinty, Head brewer at Marston’s said, “This is a fantastic day which brings a special piece of jump racing magic to the area, and as headline sponsor this means that everyone at the course will be able to enjoy a brilliant event with a great pint brewed just down the road in Burton!

This year is particularly special as the race celebrates its 50th Year and we are particularly pleased to be to be key partner celebrating it with the visitors and Uttoxeter Racecourse.”

Executive Director of Uttoxeter Racecourse, David MacDonald, commented, “We are absolutely delighted to forge and extend an already fruitful partnership with Marston’s for the Midlands Grand National. They have been tremendous supporters of racing at Uttoxeter, and it gives me great pride to see such a fantastic national brand based just down the road in Burton take the top spot at our biggest meeting of the year.”


Paul Riley, Regional Sales Manager at Marston’s added, “We are excited to sponsor the Midlands Grand National 2019, this further cements and builds on our local relationship with Uttoxeter Racecourse.”

The Listed Handicap Chase has a long and proud history and always features some of the best chasers in training, with several of its previous winners going on to achieve glory at events such as the Aintree Grand National and Cheltenham Gold Cup. To mark the special 50th anniversary, Uttoxeter Racecourse has announced a significant increase in the prize fund with a total of £272,000 on offer across the race card – with £150,000 of up for grabs in the feature race alone.

It is recommended that tickets are purchased in advance of Saturday 16 March 2019 as they will be in great demand. Tickets are available from £15 for Centre Course, £25 for Grandstand & Paddock and £35 for Premier online from www.uttoxeter-racecourse.co.uk  or by calling the Uttoxeter Racecourse Office 01889 562561 (option 1).