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Burbage firm sponsors air ambulance mascot - now he needs a name

Simon Neate and Alison Cook from Soft Options Water Softeners Ltd with paramedics Louise Cox and Matt Baskerville, pilot Nicky Smith, and the as yet un-named mascotSimon Neate and Alison Cook from Soft Options Water Softeners Ltd with paramedics Louise Cox and Matt Baskerville, pilot Nicky Smith, and the as yet un-named mascotA new member of Wiltshire Air Ambulance’s fundraising team is looking forward to spreading the word about the work of the lifesaving service - but he or she needs a name.

The charity’s new recruit is a paramedic bear mascot and it will be at events all over the county promoting Wiltshire Air Ambulance, starting next week during national Air Ambulance Week.

The charity is seeking names for the mascot and will run an online competition starting at 6pm on Thursday, September 15 and closing at midnight on Sunday, September 18.

Entries can be made on the charity’s Facebook and Twitter links ( and

The winner will be invited to meet the mascot at the charity’s Operations Centre in Devizes.

The mascot is sponsored by Soft Options Water Softeners Ltd, a family run business based in Burbage. Soft Options supply and install water softening and drinking water filtration/purification products for both domestic and commercial use.

Rebecca de la Bedoyere, senior fundraising manager at WAA, said: “We are excited about having our own mascot and we’d like to thank Soft Options Water Softeners Ltd for kindly sponsoring it.

“Just like us, they are an organisation that is firmly rooted here in Wiltshire, and they have brought plenty of ideas and enthusiasm to the partnership.

“Our mascot is fun, eye-catching and will play a major role in the many fundraising and community events we attend across Wiltshire throughout the year.

“Its design is based on our paramedic teddy bear cuddly toy and paramedic key ring, which are popular items of our merchandise.

“Our mascot has its own diary, so if you are holding a fundraising event for Wiltshire Air Ambulance please contact us and, subject to availability, our mascot could be in attendance.

“But before our mascot can start work we need a name for it. If you’ve got an idea for a name, please enter our online competition.”

Alison Cook, director of Soft Options Water Softeners Ltd, said: “The mascot looks fantastic and we are proud to be sponsoring it.

“Having lived in Wiltshire all our lives we know of the good work and excellent service provided by Wiltshire Air Ambulance.

“We feel it is such a privilege to work with the charity and give something back to the community.”

The mascot’s first week of engagements will see it at street collections for WAA during Air Ambulance Week: Monday, September 19 at Wilton Shopping Village, Salisbury, 10am to 3pm; Tuesday, September 20 The Maltings, Salisbury, 8am to 4pm; Friday, September 23 at Calne Market, Phelps Parade, 9am to 1pm, and Sunday, September 25 at the Wiltshire Big Wheel cycle event on The Green, Devizes, 8am to 4pm.

Other appearances include at Salisbury Carnival on October 21.

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Striking deals - and golf balls - at networking event

Marlborough Golf ClubMarlborough Golf ClubThey say that more business is done on the nation’s golf courses than in its boardrooms.

Now, Marlborough bosses are being invited to network while enjoying a round at Marlborough Golf Club – and the taster session is free.

FORE Business is a growing national organisation and more than 14m pounds of business as been transacted between members to date.

Only business owners, partners and company directors are eligible for membership and many industries are represented.

The next Marlborough event starts at 7.20am on Thursday, August 18 with a light breakfast followed by 18 holes of golf and a short presentation of prizes, followed by further optional networking over lunch.

Members and guests range in golf handicaps so everyone can enjoy their round.

For more information, or to apply for a place, log on to


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Kennet Community Energy's new solar installation

Wiltshire's oldest Peugeot dealer, Fussell Wadham Limited, have provided roofs at their Hopton Park Industrial Estate premises for Kennet Community Energy Limited (KCEL) latest solar photovoltaic installation - their third major scheme in Devizes.

The new array consists of 112 panels supplied and installed by the Devizes company IDDEA.  The array is now fully operational and is expected to generate 27,100 kWh and save about sixteen metric tons of carbon a year. There are further details of the installation at KCEL's website.

Company director, Mark Wadham: "This is a great opportunity for Fussell Wadham to not only benefit from a financial saving on our electricity cost, but we are also reducing our carbon footprint."

KCEL have previously installed solar PV arrays at the Wadworth Brewery, Devizes School and the Trowbridge Civic Centre.

Fussell Wadman Limited's story goes back to the earliest years of the motor car - to the two separate garages of P. Fussell and Son in Chirton and W.H.F Wadman and Son in West Lavington.  They amalgamated in 1973.

KCEL is now known as a Community Benefit Society following the passing of the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014. 

Their vision is to build an enterprise owned by members of the community, developing renewable energy projects in the north and east of Wiltshire and the surrounding areas, which will make a major contribution to local, renewable energy generation.

As a community benefit social enterprise all surplus income is given back to the community via a community fund.   

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Famous but troubled canalside inn for sale

The Barge Inn for sale at 900,000The Barge Inn for sale at 900,000The Barge Inn at Honeystreet, near Pewsey, has been put on the market with commercial estate agents Savills with a guide price of £900,000.

Described as “a character pub with attractive, canal side beer garden”, the price tag includes a 60-seat restaurant, 3,500sq ft oak barn, one acre camping and caravan site, and the opportunity to create letting rooms.

The site also comes with planning permission for an observatory. The inn is a magnet for crop circle hunters and UFO spotters.

The Grade II listed inn was built in the early 1800s to cater for workers on the canals.

The inn has a troubled recent history. After Adrian and June Potts retired after 17 years behind the bar, the inn was taken over by a community group.

It reopened in April 2012 after a £430,000 refit paid for by the Big Lottery’s Village SOS fund.

But the Barge Inn Community Project Limited went bust in October 2012, and the Big Lottery was forced to write off nearly £380,000.

Until recently the current owner, Portella Estates, was marketing the pub – without the campsite, and tied to its own brewery – for £60,000 leasehold plus £48,000 rent per annum.

Adam Bullas, licensed leisure director at Savills, said: “This is an excellent opportunity to invest in a traditional public house, which combines plenty of character with a strong trading history.

"The popular camping and caravan site means potential new owners would benefit from multiple income streams.”

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The Bear reveals ambitious new chef

Iain Watson Steven Conner and Alex ArkelIain Watson Steven Conner and Alex ArkelThe Bear at Marlborough has taken on a new chef who is building the pub’s food offer to match the success of its bar and accommodation business.

Steven Connor, 40, who spent four years as a sous chef at nearby Silks on the Down, said: “I’m at the stage in my career when it’s time to run my own kitchen.

"The Bear at Marlborough is a fantastic town centre pub. Over the last two years the landlords Iain and liz Watson have transformed it and we’re planning to build on that success with a great new menu using local suppliers.”

It helps that The Bear is right next door to Marlborough’s best butchers, Andrews. “I visit the butchers almost daily to pick the meat I want to cook,” says Steven.

He also buys his vegetables from local supplier Arthur David.

Most chefs have a signature dish, but Steven just likes cooking good food. He began his career in Surrey before moving to the South West where he worked his way up to become a senior sous chef in a four star hotel.

His career also took him to Brazil for four years where he worked as a chef in Sao Paolo before returning to the UK and Wiltshire.

“My international experience has broadened my range and I’ve got a few favourite South American dishes which I’ll put on the menu from time to time,” he adds.

Landlord Iain Watson is delighted to have attracted Steven to The Bear. “Liz and I took over the pub around two years ago. The bar is busy and so is the accommodation. The icing on the cake for us will be a brilliant food menu too.”

Arkell’s Brewery, which owns The Bear, is also planning to refurbish the hotel’s bed and breakfast accommodation later in the year.

Arkell’s managing director, George Arkell, said: “The Bear has flourished under Iain and Liz’s management and we’re looking forward to tasting Steven’s food. With a new menu, and updated hotel accommodation later this year, the pub will have a lot more than just the ‘bear’ necessities of life.”

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Solicitor joins Withy King's private client team

Tom BrittenTom BrittenA solicitor specialising in wills, powers of attorney, inheritance disputes and claims for financial provision has joined the team at Withy King in Marlborough.

Tom Britten joins law firm's private client and inheritance and disputes teams from Charles Russell Speechlys in Guildford.

“I’m very pleased to be joining a dynamic firm with such a well-regarded private client practice,” said Tom.

“This area of the law is a sensitive one as we are often dealing with emotive issues around Wills, disputes over inheritance and applications for greater financial provision following the death of a family member.

“We also advise and support people who are interested in setting up and registering powers of attorney.”

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All change at Marlborough supermarket… again

My Local at 134 135 High Street will close on TuesdayMy Local at 134 135 High Street will close on TuesdayMy Local, the convenience store which has occupied premises at 134-135 High Street for less than a year, is to close on Tuesday after its parent company went into administration.

Shelves were stripped bare at the weekend after the owners posted notices on the window advising of price reduction of fifty, then seventy, percent on perishable goods.

My Local began trading in September last year after supermarket giant Morrisons sold 140 of its M Local convenience stores to entrepreneur Mike Greene for £25m.

Last week – and down to 120 stores – the management called in the administrators.

134-135 High Street has a chequered history. For 30 years the premises were occupied by Somerfield.

The shop was sold, along with a number of other sites owned by the chain, to Marks & Spencer, two years before Somerfield merged with The Co-operative.

M&S opened a Simply Food concession in 2007, but found that competition from Waitrose, directly across the road, was too great. The shop closed in 2009.

Clothing store M & Co provided a break from bread and milk until 2013, when it vacated the premises and Morrisons moved in, as part of a roll-out of convenience stores aimed at grabbing larger share of the UK market.

The three storey Grade II listed building was purchased by property investment manager Charities Property Fund from W M Morrison in February last year. It commands a rent of £140,000 per year.

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Brewin’s Chelsea garden wins silver with first-time designer

Rosy Hardy with her Chelsea Flower Show gardenRosy Hardy with her Chelsea Flower Show gardenWealth management company Brewin Dolphin has won a Silver medal at the Chelsea Flower Show with its garden Forever Freefolk, the Show debut from designer Rosy Hardy.

Her garden design was based on the chalk streams that dominate the landscape around Marlborough, where Brewin Dolphin is based, and the River Test, home to her Hampshire nursery.

The garden takes the visitor up a dried-up riverbed and through a metal ‘ocolith’ sculpture, based on the structure of Jurassic sea fossils, which was made in Trowbridge.

“The Brewin Dolphin garden allows everyone to explore and experience the fragility and unique nature of these streams by walking through a dried up chalk stream bed, past lush planting onwards towards the source,” explained Rosy.

“The garden references the changing context and form of the landscape, the sense of loss for the stream is balanced in part by the potential for renewal and the chance to turn back and contemplate the garden.

“It is also an opportunity to remind us of what water offers given that chalk aquifers supply 70 percent of Southern England’s water.”

Stephen Ford, head of Brewin Dolphin’s wealth management, said, “In keeping with our years at Chelsea RHS we are proud to be associated with Rosy, another inspiring and challenging designer.

“That Rosy Hardy is, for the first time, designing a Show garden, is testament to our mutual commitment to welcome, inspire and engage all our visitors.”

Although it was the first time Rosy had designed a garden for Chelsea, she was already the recipient of 20 gold medals for her pavilion displays. This is the fifth consecutive year that Brewin Dolphin has sponsored a garden at Chelsea.

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Office greenery firm scoops top industry award

The Nature at Work teamThe Nature at Work teamA Marlborough company that brings a splash of colour to business premises across the south of England has won its first major industry award.

Nature at Work was awarded the European Federation of Interior Greenery Silver Leaf Award for its interior landscaping work for the new HQ of a global biopharmaceutical company in Staines, Surrey.

The office design incorporated a scheme of built-in planters on cabinet tops over two floors of the office. Nature at Work then planted more than 750 plants throughout the two floors.

“Efig sets a quality standard for our industry so it’s an honour to receive this Award, said David Snell, managing director of Nature at Work.

“This Silver Leaf award recognises a well-designed office that promotes green planting and staff health & wellbeing.

“It’s really refreshing to see an office design which prioritises greenery over other, more functional office equipment, like photocopiers, printers and recycling bins,” said David. “But not enough companies get their priorities right, in my view”.

Nature at Work’s plant technician Stella Money, who looks after the new plant displays, said their client was thrilled with the scheme.

“Visitors are impressed by the displays when they arrive at reception and it’s great to have greenery throughout the whole office that all staff members can appreciate and enjoy”.

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Garage aims to create the right environment at school

Jon Horsley presents a cheque to Nicky EdmondsonJon Horsley presents a cheque to Nicky EdmondsonA garage based in the heart of the Savernake Forest has donated £1,000 to St John’s Academy - so that trees can be planted around the new sixth form study centre.

Jon Horsley, owner of Cadley Garage, has pledged to plant one tree for every vehicle serviced by his company, in a bid to reduce the impact of cars on the environment.

Along with donations from other benefactors, the grant will be used to carry out planting and landscaping around the new school building.

Mr Horsley said: “St John’s is an important part of our local community and I am very pleased to be able to support the school and its students.

“I also wanted our business to be able to help offset the impact our customers vehicles have on the environment, so we plant a tree - usually at St John’s- for every vehicle service we carry out.”

St John’s principal Nicky Edmondson said: “We are very grateful for the support of Cadley Garage.

“Building relationships with local businesses is very important to us, as they can offer a range of opportunities to our students. To also receive financial support is wonderful.”

Cadley Garage is looking to further enrich the lives of young people in Marlborough by offering apprenticeship schemes. Any school leaver interested in training to be a mechanic should contact the business.

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Sarah moves to Withy King's property team

Sarah Thomson of Withy KingSarah Thomson of Withy KingSarah Thomson is the latest solicitor to join Withy King’s expanding residential property team in Wiltshire.

Sarah, who has 16 years’ experience working as a residential property solicitor, has joined Withy King’s Marlborough office as an associate from Awdry Bailey & Douglas, based in Chippenham.

Sarah’s appointment marks a period of continuing growth for Withy King’s residential property team which now employs a team of 15 in Swindon and Marlborough, dealing with the conveyancing requirements of those buying and selling new build houses, flats and period properties as well as the more complex issues often associated with larger properties and agricultural estates.

Partner Robert Collins, who heads Withy King’s residential property team in Marlborough, said: “We are delighted to have Sarah on board. She has extensive experience of property law as well as an excellent knowledge of the local market. She is friendly and approachable too so it’s little wonder she’s already making her mark.”

He continued: “This is an exciting time for Withy King’s property team which has doubled in size in recent years, partly due to improving economic conditions and renewed market confidence – and partly due to the new relationships we have forged with estate agents and their clients as well as investors, developers and house builders.

“The appetite for homes in Wiltshire’s market towns as well as larger properties in its more rural corners continues to grow, and our expansion reflects this.”

Commenting on her appointment, Sarah said: “Residential property work has many dimensions which makes it interesting, but what really motivates me is the human element which stems from the strong and ongoing relationships I develop with my clients.

“Withy King has an excellent reputation for its property expertise and in-depth knowledge of the Wiltshire market and I look forward to playing a role in its continuing success.”

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