February 2017 breakfast: Food for thought at February’s breakfast

At our February 2017 breakfast, we welcomed visitors Richard Wakeling and Mark Cole, of Pitkin and Ruddock refrigeration and heating. They would be interested in being connected to reliable subcontractors, such as plumbers.

Nice to see Bob Scott, of Niche Cocktails, again and to hear that his wholesalers’ catalogue contains 2,756 wines, 1,756 spirits, including 282 varieties of gin, 234 varieties of rum, 215 whiskies, 67 Bourbons and even 15 Poteens (legal ones!). So, anyone wanting something “a little bit different” knows where to go.

February 2017 Stowmarket Chamber Networking BreakfastIt was also nice to see Sammy Teather of Wow Website Graphics (part of Teather Creative Design), graphic designer providing creative graphics for websites.  Sammy has been unable to come to breakfasts for a while as she has been training on Fridays around Bury St Edmunds.

Mike Drain, of Superb Airport Transfers, reminded us that his business is also on hand for local journeys. Those times when people can’t or don’t want to drive.  His service truly is “Suffolk to anywhere”.

David Baker, of Performance Plus, emphasised the need for online password security and has a free, handy guide available.

Venitia Billings, of Syrinx Systems, has a new persona.  She is now re-christened “Lady Vader” by a client who called her in to help them fix some IT software processes they said had never worked.  They did after Venitia took a look!

Kevin Kent, of Kevin Kent Wealth Management, reminded people that it is the start of the ISA season. Chairman Allan Scott, of Mill House Media, illustrated how he is building his local team and being helped to improve his business by Business Plumber, Kate Kelly, by Venitia Billings, and by Keely Taylor, of KTSS.


Membership renewals and a new SloganStowmarket & District Chamber of Commerce

Kate Kelly reminded members that membership renewal notifications have gone out, but emphasised that visitors will always be welcome.  She also spoke of our new slogan: “Connecting local business in the heart of Suffolk”.


Rachel Cornish on her long journey to becoming an ordained priest

Rachel Cornish at Stowmarket Chamber February 2017 BreakfastRachel’s career began with shorthand typing via agencies until she joined the John Lewis Partnership, initially selling fitted kitchens and eventually moving into personnel and looking after staff.

After 22 years she left and for a time worked as a PA. Then “a gobsmacking Road to Damascus experience” took her in a completely new direction, working in a night shelter for the homeless in Cambridge for four years. The 27 homeless men she was helping were some of the nicest people she had met in her life, she said.  Sadly, when she went back there a few years later she found that 90% of those she had known had since died.

However, working in the shelter became her main interest and she moved to Suffolk, hoping to open a night shelter in Ipswich, but eventually was taken on to work in a community resource centre.

Throughout all this time, Rachel said, she had been receiving regular “pokes” from God, and although she had kept trying to avoid it, eventually she accepted that she was being called to explore and ask questions.

However, it was to be a long road to being accepted for training for ordination.  It turned out that having divorced her first husband and become involved with a new partner meant that she could not be accepted, without first being married and secondly having been married for at least three years.  So in the meantime, she trained as a lay Reader.

However, as she still wanted to become a priest she and her partner married.  Sadly, her second husband died.  She was then told that she could not be accepted for ordination for a further two years to allow her to recover from the grieving process.

Finally, she was able to achieve her goal and become an ordained priest.  Throughout this time she had continued to work at the community resource centre in Ipswich.  But shortly after her ordination, the centre’s trustees changed the way it was operated.  They were changes Rachel said she could not work with and so, having become a priest, she was suddenly without an income.

Eventually, she sold her home in Felixstowe, which provided some income to live on. She moved to Stowmarket 19 months ago.


Tell us what you want

Chairman Allan Scott is happy to receive any suggestions for what members want to see the Chamber doing in the future. Please send your ideas (and your want lists) to [email protected].


Dates for your diary:

March Coffee Morning March Breakfast
Needham Market Community Centre The Mix, Stowmarket 
Friday, 3 March Friday, 17 March
10am-noon Starting at 6.45am

For more information contact Keely Taylor

phone: 01449 770965

e-mail: [email protected]


Anyone who has a story to publicise should contact marketing officer Alison Withers:

[email protected]

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