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Business

Solicitor joins Awdry Bailey team

Awdry Bailey and Douglas has welcomed David Kelshall as part of its private client team in its Marlborough office.

David’s experience and specialist skills lie in advising clients on Inheritance tax, wills, administration of estates, trusts and settlements and court of protection matters.

David said: “I am delighted to have joined Awdry Bailey & Douglas’s private client team, which has such a depth and breadth of experience.”

"I am looking forward to helping our clients make those important and often difficult decisions for themselves and their loved ones and to continue providing a service for our clients that is second to none.”

Head of the private client department, David Sutton, said: “David will play an important role in our private client team and we are delighted that he has joined us.”

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Businessman celebrates birthday with 86 mile run

Rather than using his breath to blow out the candles on his cake, businessman Phil Griffiths will give his lungs – and legs – a workout by running the entire length of the ancient Ridgeway to celebrate his 63rd birthday.

And along the way, Phil, a director of outplacement specialists Connect and a member of Marlborough Running Club, aims to raise money for research into prostate cancer.

The keen off-road runner will set off from Ivinghoe in Buckinghamshire on Saturday, July 9, arriving at Overton Hill, near Marlborough, some 86 miles and 20 hours later.

He will start at around 10pm so that the trickiest part of the track – the Liddington to Ogbourne section which has been heavily rutted by off-road drivers – can be tackled during daylight hours.

Phil has been a member of Marlborough Running Club for 15 years. He took part in the second London Marathon in 1982, but prefers off-road courses and has run the 194-mile-long Thames Path – which he completed over five days – and the 190-mile Wainwright´s Coast-to-Coast, which crosses the Yorkshire Dales and Moors.

He said of his run – the equivalent of more than three marathons – “It´s completely mad, of course, but as bits fall off me along the way I´ll know it´s in a good cause."

“I´m running for prostate cancer because it kills one man in the UK every hour, but just doesn´t get talked about enough – there´s a real stigma attached to it." 

“The Prostate Cancer Charity needs money to fund research and provide information and support to people affected by prostate cancer.” 

Anyone who wishes to sponsor Phil can do so at www.justgiving.com/phil-ridgeway-run For more information about Connect, log on to www.theconnectprogramme.com

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We need to work together, says new chamber president

We need to work together. That was the message from all quarters at a well-attended annual general meeting of Marlborough Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, June 16.

Following a tough year for the traders, the Chamber elected its first president from the retail community in over half a decade.

Paul Shimell, a Specsavers franchise holder, set up his High Street business last year and quickly cemented his reputation in the local business world, being nominated as a finalist in the Marlborough New Business of the Year competition the same year.

Mr Shimell (pictured above left) said all businesses, especially retailers, needed to work together to attract people back to the town.

“The roadworks – especially the closure of the Pewsey Road bridge – have led business to drop. The streets have been quiet. It has been rough, and we're going to have a tough time this year too.

“I want to bring Marlborough together; to create more of an atmosphere and get people into the town. To do this we need to bring more people, especially retailers, into the chamber. We need to put Marlborough back on the map.

“I want to encourage people to use local businesses, and encourage local businesses to use each other.”

Mr Shimell conveyed his thanks to Chris Birkett, the owner of Ducklings toyshop, who had championed the case of the retail community through successive roadworks projects before falling ill with cancer and putting his business up for sale.

His call for co-operation were echoed by guest speaker Robert Hiscox, chairman of Hiscox Insurance and newly-invested High Sheriff of Wiltshire.

Mr Hiscox (right) admitted that despite 46 years in business he was attending his first Chamber of Commerce meeting.

“Marlborough is an incredibly attractive town; we must work together to get things done. We want to attract people here,” he said.

And he had some rare words of support for the beleaguered chief executive of Wiltshire Council, Andrew Kerr, who was forced to decline a £6,000 pay rise – which would have brought his salary to £189,000 – after a public outcry.

“I've led the typical businessman's life – rushing to London. Being high sheriff has given me the opportunity to see the county in which I live,” said Mr Hiscox.

“I've seen especially how local government works. Business is easy; I've had good fun building a business. Councils and politicians have to do all that we don't want to do. The chief executive of Wiltshire Council has a much more difficult job than most people running a £300 million business.”

There was also a call for co-operation from town councillors Richard Pitts and Guy Loosmore, who represent Marlborough Town Council on the chamber committee.

Cllr Pitts (left) said: “Marlborough Town Council is a £400,000 business with a property portfolio turning over £100,000 a year. This year, we have managed a neutral council tax precept thanks to careful management.

“We too want to bring the town forward. That's why we are putting so much investment into the town hall.

“It will help to support businesses and create a community environment. We will be hosting more community and business events. I hope the council will support everything the chamber wants to do.”

  Councillor Loosmore was keen to show off the fruits of that £1 million investment, which included a new sound system and rear projection cinema screen, smart new steps at the front of the building, and better access for people with mobility issues.

“We are trying to make modern technology work in an old building; to make this building come alive again,” he said.

“With the new equipment, the town hall can be used for business conferences and training.

“We will be showing films and live feeds via satellite from events like Wimbledon and the Olympics and we are talking about a film festival, and we are working with hotels and restaurants to offer meal deals.”

The AGM returned its current committee with the exception of Debbie Cooper, from Lloyd's Bank, and Peter Berridge, of Wessex Print Centre, both of whom stepped down after many years service.

Rachel Atkins of David Owen accountants was elected treasurer and retiring president Victoria Lara, who could not be at the meeting due to ill health, was thanked by Rob Collins of Withy King solicitors, who chaired the meeting in her stead.

A discussion about the future of Marlborough's Christmas lights display can be read here. 

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Tiger Tiger burns bright at awards

After a decade of doing a roaring trade, Marlborough gift and homewares outlet Tiger Tiger has earned its stripes – being named the best gift retailer in the region.

At the prestigious Greats Awards – sponsored by Progressive Gifts and Home magazine – the business was named Gift Retailer of the Year in the South West and Wales.

Founder Allison Brook was at the awards ceremony, at The Lancaster, London, to collect the award, which this week took pride of place in the window of her Hughenden Yard shop.

And there was a double reason for celebration after creative merchandiser Tracey Godding – who is responsible for how Tiger Tiger's eclectic range of stock is displayed – made the top five in the UK Independent Retail Employee of the Year category.

“We're over the moon,” said Allison this week. “Our table was furthest from the stage, and we were sitting with people who had been finalists before, so I thought 'that's it, we haven't won'. I nearly fell off my chair when our name was announced.”

Allison's loyal customers – a mix of local, national and international clients - have been helping staff celebrate all week. “We've had cards, calls and flowers; it's been fantastic.”

“Retail has been through the mill in the last few years and this award shows we're doing the right thing. The stock is constantly changing, because we buy limited numbers from mainly small and independent suppliers. We like to buy from designers who are just starting out, so pieces are affordable and you won't find them in high street stores.”

“Accessories and fashion in particular have been flying out of the door this season – we had one dress that sold 20 units in a day; I've ordered more but I doubt I'll get as many as I know I could sell. Customers can't get enough of them.”

Tiger Tiger has two outlets and sells online. The firm started by party selling from a warehouse in Hungerford in 2000. The first retail outlet opened in Newbury in 2002, and the Marlborough branch opened in 2005. In 2006 the Newbury outlet moved to a central High Street location.

Greats Awards finalists are nominated by customers and suppliers, and visited by a mystery shopper from Progressive Gifts and Home magazine. Other 2011 winners included Marks & Spencer and Clinton Cards.

To see Tiger Tiger's range of products, log on to www.tigertigershop.co.uk 

Allison Brooks of Tiger Tiger, named Gift Retailer of the Year in the South West and Wales

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'Treasure trove' to open to public

A Marlborough-based importer of Indian crafts is to hold its first ever open weekend at its huge furniture warehouse on Saturday and Sunday, June 4 and 5.

The opening, at Honeystreet - between Pewsey and Devizes -  will give visitors an opportunity to view and select exquisite Indian furniture from hundreds of unusual pieces.

Anne Wyles, director of The India Shop said: “We have a wonderful new collection of beautiful handmade and recycled furniture. These are real investment pieces.”

Stored in the warehouse are hundreds of pieces of furniture, from storage boxes, beds, screens, cupboards, mirrors to tables and chairs.

Each piece is hand made, and each is recycled or new and no rainforest were destroyed in their making.

There will also be a traditional Indian wedding marquee full of gifts, and end-of-line retail bargains, all at special warehouse prices.

The India Shop started in 1987, after Anne visited India for the first time. She saw the wonderful handicrafts that came from all over India - and she also saw the poverty.

At the time there weren’t many Indian lifestyle products available in the UK market: Liberty’s sold high-end goods and cheesecloth market traders sold at the low end. Anne helped Indian artisans by opening a  shop selling their handicrafts to everyone. 

She set out to sell products with three qualities:  handmade, from India and fairly traded. Fair Trade didn’t exist as a structured concept then, but she followed her heart, which made for an ethical approach to business.

“We trade with family firms and co-operatives, aiming to develop strong business relationships with them and aid continuous employment,” explained Anne.

“There is nothing mass-produced about the furniture and gifts we buy,” she adds. “Our furniture is sourced from local contacts and traders.  All goods and gifts are also handmade and we aim, through fair trade, to provide much-needed employment, particularly in rural areas and keeping alive traditional crafts and skills.”

All workers involved in making and packing products are treated with respect, in reasonable working conditions and paid fair wages. No child is exploited and goods and production techniques are environmentally friendly. Behind every product are local people driving their local economy.  

The India Shop has three outlets in Wantage, Marlborough and Salisbury and sells on-line at www.theindiashop.co.uk

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Hills Homes in line for award

housing development by Marlborough-based Hills Homes has been selected as a finalist for the West of England Local Authority Building Control Award’s 2011 in the category ‘Best Housing – Large Developer’.

Smith’s Court in Purton, a development of 13 cottage style homes set in the heart of Purton, will be judged alongside a number of other housing developments with the winner announced at an awards ceremony to be held at the Bristol Marriott Royal Hotel on Friday, June 24.

Regional winners go through to the LABC National finals to be held later in the year in London.

Last year, Hills Homes won the LABC West of England and National ‘Best small housing development’ Award for its seven exclusive homes at the Old Dairy, in Castle Combe, near Chippenham.

Nick King, group director Hills Property said, “It is an honour to be selected as a regional finalist two years in a row. We bring the same quality and care to all our developments and believe Smith’s Court has a real chance of making us double winners.”

At the time of going to press only five homes remain available for sale in the development.

The LABC West of England Building Excellence Awards recognise and reward the best quality, design, construction and project management across every class of building from domestic extensions, social housing, private housing, schools, hospitals, commercial and retail to industrial properties.

The regional finalists are acknowledged as amongst the best projects in England and Wales.

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It's the chop for royal couple

A third Marlborough connection to last month's royal wedding has been revealed this week. 

Following the much-publicised link between Marlborough College and Kate Middleton, then the revelation that the bridesmaids dresses had been designed and manufactured in the town,  we can now reveal that a wedding gift to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge from a friend of the Middleton family was handmade by a Marlborough company.
 
While 470 years ago chopping blocks and royal brides were a bad mix, William and Kate are understood to be delighted with their hand carved Wiltshire oak chopping board.
 
The board, carved from FSC certified oak from Wootton Bassett, was inscribed with the date of the wedding and the initials W and C on one edge, and Made in Wiltshire by Sticks and Stones on the opposite side.
 
Sticks and Stones, which manufactures and sells kitchenware products, was established by Garp and Liis Flack in 1999. Pieces were made in Wiltshire and sold at London's Portobello and Spitalfields markets.
 
The couple set up shop at Woodborough Garden Centre, near Pewsey, three years ago and opened a second outlet at Old Hughenden Yard in Marlborough last year. 
 
The chopping board, which is slightly tapered to allow juices from meat to run off into a draining trough is not the first royal commission the firm – which traded for several years from Marlborough's charter market – has received. 
 
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, has a cheeseboard measuring almost two metres in length.  Other famous clients include Jamie Oliver, Sophie Dahl and Anthony Worrall-Thompson.
 
Chopping boards similar to the one made for William and Kate – no two are the same – are priced at £135. For more information, log on to www.uksticksandstones.com

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Businesses to help shape future of town

Business leaders in Marlborough are being given the chance to shape the future of their town.

Marlborough Area Development Trust has been commissioned to review and update the Marlborough Area Plan, which includes issues, targets and opportunities relating to employment and the local economy.

Working with people in businesses large and small, new and established from across the Marlborough Community Area, MADT is seeking feedback and ideas to make the updated plan a working document that can be related to by everyone.

Businesses are being asked how to achieve and maintain a vibrant business economy, improving prospects, encouraging new start-ups and much more.

Issues will be discussed at a business networking lunch on Tuesday, May 31 at St John’s School. Tickets are £10 each to include lunch and refreshments.

Bookings should be made to executive officer Gill McIntyre at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or on 01672 515715.

Meanwhile, the Marlborough Community Area website has been set up to get feedback on a range of topics, and businesses are urged to give their input. Log on to the website at www.marlborougharea.org

The current (2004-2014) Marlborough Plan can be downloaded from the Wiltshire Council website by clicking on www.wiltshire.gov.uk/marlboroughcommunityplan.pdf

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Chamber calls for haulage and holiday traffic diversion

Marlborough Chamber of Commerce has called for unnecessary haulage and holiday traffic to be diverted away from the town during the summer months.

The A346, which goes north to south through the town provides a direct link between the south coast ports and the Midlands and North.

However, a series of roadworks are scheduled for May and June, with the works in the latter months taking place at weekends.

Last summer's gas main works brought the centre of town to a stand-still, and commuters reported tailbacks of up to two hours to reach the centre while shops reported a massive drop in trade.

Now the Chamber of Commerce has called for traffic to be diverted via the M4 and A34 Newbury bypass, pointing out that neither holiday-makers nor lorry drivers will want to be stuck in roadworks traffic, and that freeing up the roads will make travel easier for residents and local businesses.

In a letter to councillor Dick Tonge, portfolio holder for transport and highways at Wiltshire Council, the Chamber wrote: “As you are no doubt aware, roadworks on and around the A346 Salisbury Road have, in previous years, caused absolute havoc, with tailbacks of up to two hours being reported by motorists.

“This chaos is exacerbated by unnecessary freight and holiday traffic using the A346 to travel between the south coast and the M4 at Swindon.

“On behalf of the businesses of Marlborough, and the workers who commute into and out of town on a daily basis, we would request that signs be erected north and south of the A346 advising commercial and leisure drivers of the roadworks, and recommending they use the A34 Newbury bypass as an alternative route.”

The A346 is a popular route with hauliers, who can shave three miles from their 64-mile journey from Southampton Docks to Junction 15 of the M4 at Swindon by following the country roads through Tidworth and the Collingbournes, over the narrow double bridges at Burbage Wharf, through the centre of Marlborough and through Ogbourne St Andrew and Chiseldon.

According to the AA, the average drive time from the docks at Southampton to Junction 15 of the M4 via the is A338 / A346, a total of 61 miles, takes around an hour and a half.

The alternative route – via the A34 Newbury bypass and the M4, which was designated the main route in the early 1990s – is 64 miles but is about 15 minutes quicker.

According to Wiltshire Council figures, an average of 7,000 vehicles use the A338 / A346 corridor every day, rising to 16,000 between Swindon and Marlborough.

The corridor has a higher than average accident rate, with 205 accidents in five years, resulting in 343 casualties, including 8 fatalities and 75 serious injuries.

A working party headed by Wiltshire councillors has been looking at de-priming the A346, which would allow the imposition of weight limits on the road, prevent hauliers not delivering locally from using the route, and force satellite navigation and online mapping companies to remove the A338 / A346 as the default route.  

Read our original story about the May / June roadworks here

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