James Eyre-Walker, Managing Director at Howsons, is proud to have been elected as an Associate of the Academy of Experts.

Expert witnesses are used extensively by solicitors in court cases requiring expert evidence to assist the courts in understanding and resolving technical issues. Even when acting as a partly appointed witness, the expert’s primary responsibility is to the court. James has been acting as both a party appointed expert and single joint expert for a number of years. James said; “After 35 years in the profession, specialising in accounting, financial reporting, audit and business/share valuation.”

“I feel that my accumulated experience puts me in a strong position to assist solicitors and the courts on technical issues within the scope of my expertise.” He has been keen to develop this aspect of his professional work.

Currently, James is involved in two cases. The first is a divorce settlement in which the husband’s business interests had to be valued. In this case, James is acting as a single joint expert. In the second case, he is acting as a party appointed expert over alleged illegal dividend payments. “These two cases are very important, he says, “but reflect the breadth of expertise I can bring to court cases.”

Howsons are keen to link up with local firms of solicitors who may now, or in the future, need expert witnesses on business/share valuation matters and/or cases involving accounting, financial reporting or audit.


Vehicle management and supply specialists Adept Vehicle Management is forecasting potential “game-changing” business growth after winning acceptance onto the Crown Commercial Services framework for supply of Fleet Management Services.

The successful tender gives the North Staffordshire company access to around 2,500 public sector car and commercial fleets in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland with a potential total fleet size of over 125,000 vehicles.

“It is a fantastic opportunity and puts our business in a position for potential high growth,” said Director Mark Pedley. “We are one of the smaller companies invited onto the Crown register and we are confident that this could be an advantage. At Adept, we have built our reputation on supplying industry leading levels of service to our customers.

“We are determined to maintain this reputation as we grow and we believe Adept’s offer is an attractive one for organisations who procure vehicles through Crown Commercial Services.”

Crown Commercial Services, founded as the government Buying Agency in 1991, is an executive agency and trading fund of the Cabinet Office of UK Government. It is responsible for improving government commercial and procurement activity.

The Government says CCS plays an important role, helping the UK public sector save money when buying common goods and services and adds: “We are the biggest public procurement organisation in the UK. We use our commercial expertise to help buyers in central government and across the public and third sectors to purchase everything from locum doctors and laptops to police cars and electricity.”

Crown Commercial Service supports the public sector to achieve maximum commercial value when procuring common goods and services. In 2017/18, CCS delivered £354 million in commercial benefits including savings from central government, and £247 million for the wider public sector – helping to deliver world class public services that offer best value for taxpayers.

From their base in Chesterton, Adept have pioneered unique levels of customer service for companies requiring a vehicle fleet. They have developed a system to embed a manager into the client’s team ensuring their specific service needs are met and this is complimented by Adept’s bespoke Fleet Check and Tracker systems which ensures standards of all cars and vans are constantly high and monitors metrics such as safety and fuel efficiency.

The company is owned by experienced motor industry specialists Mark Pedley and Carl Cumbo. Carl said: “Acceptance onto the Crown Services Framework opens many doors into organisations such as hospitals, schools and colleges, the emergency services and many more public bodies, but there is much hard work still to do as the Framework gives us access and we then need to ensure we win at least our share of the contracts available.

“Getting this recognition was tough and we re extremely proud of the effort our team has made to ensure we meet all framework requirements. Success in pursuing contracts could see us managing thousands of vehicles in the next three to four years, taking Adept to new levels as a business.

“This opportunity will open many doors for our business for example we are currently in dialogue with housing associations as well as Central Government on fleet and driver management solutions.”

Training specialists Now u Know has recruited its first apprentice. Digital Marketing apprentice Joe Eardley has joined the Lymedale Business Centre based business as it continues to grow. Now u Know’s Managing Director Heather Broadhurst said: “2018 was a successful year for Now u Know and employing an apprentice formed part of a managed programme of expansion moving forward. We have worked closely with Newcastle College to source an apprentice.

“Joe is working with me as we look at developing marketing plans and then putting them into practice with targeted social media campaigns.”

Now u Know is a training provider and broker with a UK wide reach. The company is able to offer around 200 training courses to its clients in a diverse range of business areas. The company won a Newcastle-under-Lyme Business Boost Award in autumn 2018 and used the cash prize to move to bigger offices, making room for an expansion of the team, including the employment of an apprentice.

Now u Know Training  was founded in 2015 and has expanded its training reach year on year, offering courses across the UK.


Ethero Staffing has expanded its ever growing team with a new member of staff.

Christopher Colgan has recently joined the team as Perms Consultant.  Chris previously worked for the Reed Group as a Recruitment Manager and his experience includes Retail Sales Management and 15 years’ experience on varied contracts in the Welfare to Work sector supporting candidates into work.

On his new appointment, Chris said: “The move to Ethero seemed like a natural progression, having worked with Paul Wilshaw (Branch Manager) for a number of years assisting the team in sourcing the right candidates for their ever growing client portfolio. I wanted to work in a more varied market,  and I was looking for a role which would allow me to be diverse. The team here at Ethero have made me very welcome.

“It’s an exciting time for Ethero as they are growing fast and I’m looking forward to being a part of it .”

Staffordshire-based Nelson’s Distillery & School have launched their first rum. Having dealt solely in gin production and distribution since their inception in 2016, including the launch of the world’s first gin made with the Timur pepper, they have now broken new ground with the introduction of Nelson’s Signature Blend Rum and Nelson’s Roasted Pineapple Rum.

Each rum is a blend of three individual rums, handpicked from Barbados, The Dominican Republic and Jamaica. It is then aged in oak barrels for three years to give it a distinct aroma, before natural flavourings such as the pineapple are added.

The rum launch comes hot on the heels of Nelson’s Distillery & School’s recent news that they have become a limited company and expanded the sales team with 2 additional staff. Rosie Peters and Lara Marshall have both been recruited as Account Managers to help grow the UK sales of the Nelson’s portfolio.


Neil Harrison, founder and master distiller said of the decision “we know that rum is the next big trend here in the UK, especially flavoured rum. As a forward-thinking, proactive business, we wanted to ensure that our expansion not only includes the development of our signature gin range, but also places us firmly at the forefront of this exciting new marketplace”.  



A lender which finances the purchase of JCB products in the UK has a billion reasons to celebrate – literally.

JCB Finance – one of the biggest lenders to the construction and agricultural industry in the UK – is celebrating the milestone news that total lending has reached an all-time high. For the first time in its history the amount currently being lent to fund the purchase of machines has broken through the £1 billion barrier.

And for the firm’s 100 employees it’s a real reason to celebrate because bosses have treated them to a weekend away for two to mark the milestone which comes 10 months before the company’s 50th anniversary.

JCB Finance was set up in February 1970 under the name JCB Credit and has expanded massively from humble beginnings with JCB Chairman Lord Bamford as one of its original Directors. Today JCB Finance provides hire purchase and leasing options for UK business customers and supports the JCB UK dealer network and has facilitated the purchase of more than 250,000 JCB machines over the past 49 years. Including money loaned to acquire other plant and vehicles, JCB Finance has lent more than £13 billion to UK businesses to help them grow and invest.

JCB Finance MD Paul Jennings said: “To reach £1 billion in balances is an amazing achievement which would not have been accomplished without a huge team effort. We are here to help JCB customers buy their equipment and this milestone is a measure of the hard work put in by everyone involved. It’s also a very good indicator that confidence levels in our sector remain resilient and as a measure of our success, it puts JCB Finance amongst the elite in our industry.”

JCB Chairman Lord Bamford said: “When JCB Finance was founded in 1970 JCB manufactured just over 4,000 machines and even then there was a very real need from our customers for help with finance. The growth of JCB Finance has mirrored the growth of JCB and our success is very much intertwined; JCB’s development and market leadership in the UK over many decades simply would not have been possible without JCB Finance. The team should be very proud of this achievement.”



On Friday 3rd May an innovative Staffordshire company is holding a unique careers event for over 100 local Primary school children at their 25 acre Education Centre in Dilhorne. The children will see a range of skilled trades demonstrated and can get involved in interactive workshops showing how people do their jobs, the equipment that they use and how subjects that the children are learning in school are used by people to undertake their work.

Great Grounds, the company delivering the event was set up in 1983 and its core business was historically commercial landscaping and grounds maintenance with a specialism delivering projects in Primary School grounds. Great Grounds Director Tony Millar commented, “A commercial landscaping company delivering careers education might seem an unusual combination, but by bringing qualified teaching staff to support our work, we are ideally placed to deliver something quite special. I have always been passionate about supporting schools to deliver good quality careers education and over the past ten years we have developed a unique offer for schools that not only creates new opportunities for careers education, but also integrates links to curriculum in the outdoor environment, encouraging even the most disengaged children to find a new interest in learning”

The event will be opened by Government Minister and local MP Karen Bradley. Tony Millar said “I am delighted that Karen Bradley is able to attend the event and certainly demonstrates the importance of the work that we are doing. Primary schools often struggle to get quality careers experiences for children which play a vital part in raising children’s aspirations in the world of work”.

The quality of the Companies work has been supported by academic research when in January this year, Keele University undertook a project which focused on measuring learning outcomes for both teachers and children as a result of attending their workshops. The workshops combined recycling Christmas trees with the job of a tree surgeon and several different curriculum subjects, in addition to integrating Eco Schools topics. Tony Millar commented “We were delighted with the findings which clearly demonstrated how effective our work is and reinforces the quality of the sessions that we are delivering. Both children and teachers enjoyed the sessions and both groups found the workshops inspirational and rewarding”.

Great Grounds are also developing an additional range of supporting services which link life skill experiences with the curriculum and other core areas of the children’s academic work. The company’s latest innovation is a holiday club that provides a fun and action packed way for children of primary school age to spend some of their school holidays. They learn new skills linked to jobs in the outdoors, discovering more about the people that do those jobs and the knowledge that they have to undertake their work. To ensure that every opportunity is taken to create relevant learning opportunities, the company also link with the children’s schools through their parents to support the work they are doing in school.

Tony Millar concluded “We are all looking forward to the event which in addition to the schools, we will have representation from many of the organisations that have supported our work, developing our range of unique services. It is always great to get an opportunity to share the successes of our work together”. Supporting organisations include the Careers Enterprise Company, The British Association of Landscape Industries, Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce and Staffordshire Council.

There are a limited number of places available for school leaders who may wish to attend the event and will get the opportunity to see Great Grounds approach to teaching careers education in action. More information can be found on the Great Grounds website www.GreatGroundsEducation.co.uk or on Twitter @GreatGroundsEd

Proud Staffordshire company JCB is celebrating Staffordshire Day (May 1st) by digging deep for charities the NSPCC and British Heart Foundation.

A golf day organised by employees and held on the new world-class course at JCB World Headquarters in Rocester, raised more than £14,000 with the money split equally between the two organisations. Held in memory of former JCB Director and keen golfer, the late Malcolm Fox, the event saw 124 competitors – employees, suppliers and customers – competing on the stunning new 18-hole course for the first time.

Event organiser Adam Walker said: “We have held the golf day in Malcolm’s honour for many years now and have raised more than £80,000 for charity. It is always a fantastic day and this year it was amazing to be able to bring it to the new JCB course.

“It was a real shock when Malcolm died of a heart attack back in 2009, so we chose the British Heart Foundation in his memory, and the NSPCC is our official nominated charity which we are proud to support.

“Malcolm loved his golf and I’m sure he’d be delighted with what we do in his memory. Plans are already well under way for the next golf day later this year.”

Pictured (left to right) at the official handover of the funds are: JCB Group HR Director Martin Graves, Camilla Wood and Tess O’Callaghan of the NSPCC, Warren Appleby of the British Heart Foundation and event organiser Adam Walker of JCB Loadall division. In the foreground are winners of the Malcolm Fox Memorial Golf Day trophy JCB employees Francis Thomas and Lee Harper.

Beeston Shenton Solicitors are delighted to announce the appointment of Juliette Carter as Head of their Wills and Probate Team, working across Cheshire and Staffordshire.

Juliette began her journey to becoming a Solicitor at a local Cheshire practice where she gained invaluable experience in all areas of Will preparation, estate administration, elderly client matters to include Lasting Powers of Attorney and Court of Protection applications, tax planning, trust creation and administration, wealth management and asset protection.

Juliette now has over 15 years experience. She has assisted a broad range of clients to include business owners, high net worth and those with agricultural property, particularly in arranging the best disposition of their estates to maximise all available reliefs for Inheritance Tax purposes and generational planning.

Juliette is a full STEP member (Trust and Estate Practitioner) signifying excellence in her area of expertise and aims to put clients at ease with her friendly and approachable manner.

Paul Shenton, Director at Beeston Shenton said:“Juliette is a highly experienced and very approachable wills and probate solicitor with a wealth of experience and a calm, capable manner. The firm is delighted that she has joined our established and successful team. She comes as a great asset to the firm as we are developing and growing our Wills and Probate offering.”


Allett, the Staffordshire based specialist cylinder mower manufacturer, has won the coveted Queen’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade 2019 in recognition of its growth in exports and contribution to the British economy.

A wholly British-owned company, Allett has designed and manufactured mowers for the sports and premium lawns market for over fifty years. The award marks a major period of development for the company, with ranges of new products launched to meet the needs of strong emerging markets. Allett’s main export success has been achieved with their professional products for sports stadiums and training grounds, achieving increased sale with the USA, Russia, Germany, France, the Czech Republic and Spain leading their top ten markets in the past three years.

“We’re very honoured to receive the Queen’s Award,” says Austin Jarrett, Allett’s Managing Director, “it recognises our achievements and team efforts in bringing innovative developments in our mowing systems to meet challenges in overseas markets with large potential. We’re no longer confined to the seasonality of domestic sales cycles in the UK. Our mowers and turf maintenance systems are used throughout the world where they are maintaining sports surfaces and lawns to the highest standards.”

Allett was the major supplier to the host stadiums and contractors in Russia for the 2018 World Cup football tournament. The company concentrates on assisting a World Cup country for a period of three years to help attain the striking light green-dark green stripes in time for the main tournament. Markets with large potential such as the USA offer access to developments for sports such as American football and baseball as well as soccer. South America, where previously they have not had the financial resources, is now a developing market, says the company. Allett has placed its first mowing systems in China where there are great World Cup ambitions.

“The groundsmen in the UK are recognised as being the best in the world and they demand the highest standards from their equipment suppliers,” says Austin. “This demand drives our engineering team to improve and develop our mowing systems which consequently produce world class sports surfaces and garden lawns. We have benefitted from this and we are confident that we can deliver improved standards to the stadiums and lawns using our systems in the rest of the world. This is because of the help we get from our great customers in the UK. Every one of our machines proudly wears a Union Flag decal, and this really helps us in our export markets where the UK is revered for their lawns.

“We will be hosting Pitch Maintenance training seminars in China this year,” adds Austin, “to help set standards and expectations for the playing surfaces in this huge country which is growing rapidly as a footballing nation. Allett is more than just a machine. We’re strengthening our technical support and embarking on a plan of new product development to concentrate on a wider range of grass and sports turf maintenance products.”

Allett recently launched and continue to develop products powered by Lithium-ion battery, with the advantages of zero emissions at the point-of-use, low vibration for the operator and almost no noise. To accommodate the growth of the business Allett recently moved their Hixon, Staffordshire base to a new, larger factory. The company has an After-Sales team in place to support overseas national distributors and, as export sales grow, consider it is important to maintain the ‘brand value’ which has been a keystone to home market success. Allett say the recognition of achievement the Queen’s Award for Enterprise brings is a proud moment in its history, and one the company can bear as a premium standard into the export markets of the future.