One of the bonuses of Stowmarket and District Chamber membership is that you can be featured in our new monthly spotlight, where you can tell people a bit more about you and your business.
If you would like to be included please email Alison Withers firstname.lastname@example.org or call her on 01473 743516 to arrange an interview.
Allan Scott - Member Spotlight March 2019
Our member in the spotlight for March 2019
Mill House Media
Telephone: 01449 740118
What do you do with a degree in medieval language and literature, majoring in Old Norse, with Christopher Tolkien as your tutor?
It’s obvious. You write epic fantasy…
Allan wrote his first novel at the age of 5, though it took him till 1984 to get one published (The Ice King, a supernatural thriller, co-written with his lifelong friend Michael Scott Rohan). The story predicted a narrow escape from the Norse apocalypse (still happening?) along with laptop computers, a worldwide internet, and a functional search engine.
Sadly they didn’t capitalise on those predictions but they did go on to deliver a pioneering digital service for publishers. They also published several more books including A Spell of Empire, best described as ‘a fantasy romp’ – in which two characters are their caricatures of each other.
Meanwhile, Allan’s first job as an award-winning audio-visual scriptwriter and producer led to many years of happy freelancing as a video scriptwriter and speechwriter. Clients included BAA, British Airways, British Gas, BT, BOC, and Biffa. (And that’s just the ‘B’s).
In 2006 he launched a new venture combining his experience in copywriting and design with some newly-acquired coding skills. His done-for-you email newsletter service is still available from Mill House Media. These days most of his work is to do with digital content (blogs, web page wording and, yes, newsletters), though he still writes speeches and scripts for clients who need them.
His speciality? Tight, accurate, readable words. (His very first freelance job involved writing very compact articles for a single-volume encyclopaedia.)
Passions and interests
Allan met his wife, Rosemary Muntus, through historical re-enactment, so it’s no surprise to find them in regular attendance as Tudor gentry at Kentwell Hall (recently in the roles of Nicholas Bacon, brother of the more famous Francis, and his wife Anne).
In and out of role, Allan plays a variety of medieval and renaissance wind instruments (including some that probably count as a noise nuisance) and has just taken up the clarinet. He also sings baritone in two choirs, an a capella group, ‘Motet’, and (occasionally) as a soloist in rock musicals.
Arm-twisting friends and colleagues have also persuaded him to chair the Stowmarket & District Chamber of Commerce and his village’s Parish Council. So far they haven’t let him stop.
MA (Oxon) – Course II Medieval Language and Literature
Fluent Danish speaker (thanks to having a Danish mother – which also helped with the Old Norse…)
Danny Cuff - Member Spotlight February 2019
Our member in the spotlight for February 2019
Gipping Press Ltd,
Units 1 and 2, Maitland Rd, Needham Market, Ipswich IP6 8NZ
Telephone: 01449 721599
Career and business history
After completing A levels at Northgate High School in Ipswich, Danny studied Journalism at Staffordshire University. Whilst writing was his first passion, as part of the course he studied the layout of publications and this became more of a passion than the actual writing side of journalism!
After completing his University degree in 2011, Danny worked with Icon Consultants in Ipswich before joining Gipping Press in December of the same year.
Danny is the second generation of his family to work in the business, which was founded by Mike Truscott in 1980 before his father, Bob, brought the company upon Mike’s retirement.
He is currently Customer Services Director and is responsible for estimating, enquiry handling and looking after customers.
Gipping Press has been in Needham Market for 39 years and throughout that time has invested heavily in staff and equipment to be able to offer a complete print service under its one roof.
As a result, it has become a specialist in a few areas and is a trade printer for many print companies across the area.
Danny is also Vice Chairman of Stowmarket and District Chamber of Commerce and the coordinator of our newest, successful venture, the Mid Suffolk Business Exhibition (MSBE), now in its second year.
Passions and interests
Danny’s main passion is the outdoors and wildlife and loves nothing more than spending time in his garden with his wife, Cyntia, and three-year-old son, Noah. This goes hand in hand with bird watching. Danny is a keen twitcher!
BA Hons in Journalism, member of the British Print Industry Federation and Vice-Chair of Stowmarket Chamber of Commerce.
Kate Kelly - Member Spotlight January 2019
Our member in the spotlight for January 2019
The Business Plumber
Telephone: 01359 240717
Career and business history
Following 20 years in varied industries, including household names like Black & Decker, Kate set up her own business in 1996 as a business consultant to large organisations.
In 2011 Kate decided to refocus her business on SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) where she had the opportunity to work directly with the decision makers. At this stage, she realised that small businesses had no idea what she could do for them and. with the help of a real plumber, she created the Business Plumber metaphor – likening business processes to water pipes.
“People often assume if the work doesn’t work that the problem is with the people” she explains “but it may just be organised badly. My aunt lived in a house where it took ages for the hot water to travel from the tank in the loft to the kitchen tap. It wouldn’t matter how much you tried to motivate or incentivise the kitchen tap, what it needed was better pipework!”
Passions and interests
Kate is an avid reader and enjoys solving the Telegraph logic and number problems – leaving the crosswords to her engineer husband, Malcolm.
Kate has an MSc and was a founder member of the Deming Transformation Forum.
She has also been the Treasurer and Membership Coordinator of the Stowmarket Chamber since 2014.
Stowmarket and Area Food Bank - December 2018
Stowmarket and Area Food Bank
Our member in the spotlight for December 2018
Stowmarket and Area Food Bank
01449 774000 (9am – 1pm)
Stowmarket Community Centre, Hillside, Stowmarket, IP14 2BD
Opening hours: Tuesdays: 9 am – 1 pm, Wednesdays: 9 am – 1 pm, Thursdays: 9 am – 1 pm,
Fridays: 9 am – 1 pm
About the foodbank
The Foodbank has been the Chamber’s chosen charity for the last two years as we feel it plays an incredibly important role in the local community. The Foodbank manager is Mike Smith and the Centre is run entirely by volunteers. The Foodbank was founded in October 2012 by Stowmarket Churches Together. By October 2014 demand had risen by 140%, according to Stowmarket’s Citizens’ Advice Bureau, and still continues to increase.
The Foodbank works with Stowmarket Churches Together and other organisations to identify individuals and families who can benefit from the Foodbank’s services. The Stowmarket Citizens’ Advice Bureau is the main source of referrals to the Foodbank.
Parcels are delivered to the town and surrounding area, including Needham Market and several mid-Suffolk villages.
The Foodbank generally provides 1 or 3-day emergency food parcels. These contain dried and canned goods, plus tea and personal hygiene products. It has been delivering an average of 50 packages a month.
With the roll-out of Universal Credit this summer, demand for parcels has increased by 21% to 71 packages, an equivalent of two tonnes of food per month.
What is in a typical parcel?
Breakfast cereals, Soup, Pasta, Rice, Pasta sauce, Tinned beans, Tinned meat, Tinned vegetables, Tinned fruit, Tea or coffee, Sugar, Biscuits, Snacks.
At Christmas, when demand is at its highest, the Foodbank collects and includes seasonal items such as Christmas cake, mince pies, custard powder, fruit juices, Christmas Crackers and other items recipients might otherwise not be able to afford.
Where does the food come from?
All the food is donated. There are collection points at some of Stowmarket’s supermarkets; organisations, such as Scout groups, run special collections; Church Harvest Festivals are another source, and not forgetting the many individuals throughout the area also donate regularly as well as volunteering to run the Foodbank.
The Chamber has a special Christmas collection of seasonal food donations as well as providing food donations throughout the year. We will be running our Reverse Advent Calendar again this year asking people to buy an item per day to add to the stocks, which will be collected and handed over at our Christmas Lunch on 14 December.
Mike Drain - Member Spotlight November 2018
Our member in the spotlight for November 2018
Superb Travel Suffolk
Tel: 01449 507775
The Suffolk Foot Man
Tel: 01449 860338
Mike left school after failing his A-levels and worked on the shop floor at Boots, in Tavern Street, Ipswich, where he met his future wife, Margaret, following a family tradition that began with his parents.
From there, he moved to Ipswich Hospital to work as a theatre technician.
His next job was with Life Science Research (Essex and Suffolk), where he was to remain for 20 years working as a foetal pathologist studying the effects of drugs on the unborn and also gaining an Open University degree. Between 1997 and 1999, while still at LSR, he also retrained as a chiropodist which was to eventually lead to his setting up one of his two businesses.
In a complete change of direction when he left LSR, he set up his first business, initially called Mikey’s Travel. It has subsequently been re-branded as Superb Airport Transfers and most recently as Superb Travel Suffolk. It focuses on transporting people both locally, to family events, celebrations, weddings, hospital appointments and more, and long-distance to and from airports and cruise ship terminals.
In his other incarnation as The Suffolk Foot Man, Mike takes care of people’s feet, visiting elderly clients in their homes and also running a clinic on alternate Fridays at the Station Pharmacy in Elmswell.
Passions and interests
As if two businesses were not enough, Mike is also the FSB’s national councillor for the East of England and treasurer of the Stowmarket Methodist Church.
Apart from his obvious passion for his family, which includes his wife of 37 years, Margaret, and their three children, Tim, Julie and Robin, plus two grandchildren, Henry and Georgia, he has recently taken up both golf and running. He realised that in both his businesses he had a largely sedentary lifestyle and had always enjoyed swimming and walking.
Mike, who shares a birthday with his daughter Julie, is also “working on developing a taste for cruising” and the two are booked to take a birthday celebration cruise in July 2019 to Norway. He confesses that after many years of hanging around airports for hours waiting for clients he is not much interested in flying anywhere!
BA (Hons) in Biochemistry
Fully-trained and HCPC registered Chiropodist
Keely Taylor - Member Spotlight September/October 2018
Our member in the spotlight for September/October 2018
KTSS (Keely Taylor Support Services) http://ktss.co.uk/ Email: email@example.com Tel: 01449 770965 / 07711 186626 Taylor-Made Trees http://ktss.co.uk/family-history/ Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 01449 770965 / 07711 186626
In 2005 after 5 redundancies in a row, Keely decided she’d had enough of the corporate world and set up KTSS, providing admin support for small businesses. Her most recent venture is to turn a lifelong passion into a second business researching clients’ family history and producing family trees. In 1982 she started to draw a family tree at her grandparents’ golden wedding party, and she hasn’t stopped ancestor-hunting since. While she can’t promise to find royal ancestors, nor transport you to glamorous foreign locations, unlike a certain TV programme, she can provide focused, accurate research into your roots, and build a family tree for you to treasure. For those who have already had a go and got confused and discouraged, she can work with you on your family history, helping to ensure you’re on the right track. If you’re stuck on a particular brick wall, she can help you to break it down. If you’re a total beginner she can help you to get started. Keely is a highly experienced researcher and also offers talks, training and courses for groups and individuals.
Passions and interests
Not content with running two businesses Keely is also Secretary of Stowmarket and District Chamber of Commerce (aka “our lovely secretary”) and the author of our regular, somewhat quirky emails. She is also passionate about the theatre, was a member for many years of the Ipswich Operatic and Dramatic Society and has directed/choreographed several shows at the Stowmarket Regal, although these days she settles for being in the audience. She has recently taken up yoga and is equally passionate about her three cats and…. Cake, did we mention cake?
Dave Palmer - Member Spotlight August 2018
Our member in the spotlight for August 2018
Birds I Images / Drone Race Days
Call Dave on 07971 519729
Dave was born in Ipswich and originally worked in Suffolk, but moved to different areas of the country for work,
He eventually decided to return to home and commute, as “you can take the boy out of Suffolk but not the Suffolk out of the boy”.
He now lives in Barking with his partner Clare, and they have been together for 9 years.
After a career in IT for 29 years working for IT resellers, both locally and nationally (during which time he fulfilled roles in almost every aspect of the IT business), culminating by working for the largest IT reseller on the planet in their London offices, in November 2017 Dave took a chance to start his business doing something he loves, flying drones.
He was granted his licence to operate by the CAA in January 2018.
Birds I Images offers aerial photography and video, aerial surveys and inspections, aerial mapping, 3D modelling, outdoor and indoor panoramic views, and ground and pole mounted photography and video (for the places you just cannot fly a drone)
Drone Race Days is an events business that offers mobile indoor Drone racing and Drone based games, brought to your location at Exhibitions / Product Launches, Off Site Meetings, Customer Events, in your offices, Village Hall / Social Club or Parties.
Passions and interests
Dave’s particular passion is flying first-person view (FPV) racing drones around courses and obstacles (usually in muddy fields) at breakneck speeds, and mostly crashing and repairing them!
As well as racing FPV drones nationally, he is also chairman of the Suffolk FPV Racers club (www.suffolkfpvracers.wordpress.com).
Shelli Moyes - Member Spotlight July 2018
Our member in the spotlight for July 2018
MPM Computer Consultancy
Email Shelli on: email@example.com
Or call: 01449 770704 | 07733 262116
Shelli is a self-confessed fixer of puzzles.
Her training has taken place via many mediums to keep up to date with all that technology has to throw at us. From the classroom to residential courses learning Novell, Unix, Microsoft server and Microsoft Office application software and moving on to BT Meridian telephone systems, she has gained various IT qualifications (see below for the full list).
Technology changes fast, so learning is an ongoing process. She says: “Computers are all a puzzle and the software we use just adds that extra bit of spice to the mix”.
Shelli started her IT career as a Civil Servant working locally.
Later she moved on to the private sector, still keeping up her IT knowledge and progressing through several company acquisitions before deciding in 2003 to start her own company and give back the knowledge she had gained to micro businesses and the community. This year MPMIT is celebrating its fifteenth year in business.
Hobbies and interests
Shelli loves to play golf, likes nature walking, live music concerts and theatre shows, reading crime novels, thrillers and general girly stuff plus generally socialising – with or without alcohol!
NCVQ Use and Support of Information Technology Level 3
European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL)
Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) Administrator
SNOW certified professional (SCP)
Other qualifications that give Shelli an all-round business mix are:
Certificate in IT Training – Institute of IT Training
D32 and D33 – London Chamber Commerce Industry Education Trust
Certificate in Management Studies (CMS) – Nottingham Trent University
Diploma in Management Studies (DMS) – Nottingham Trent University
Master of Science (MSc) in Human Resource Management – Anglia Polytechnic University.
Steve Stoddart - Member Spotlight June 2018
Our member in the spotlight for June 2018
Wandering River Stills and Video Production
email Steve at: firstname.lastname@example.org
or call: 07984 017832
Steve was born in Japan in 1957. He soon developed abilities which were very different from the rest of his family. They all had an intensely artistic leaning. Languages and art were to the fore with them and all could “draw exquisitely”. Steve would develop a mind full of wizard industries and all things engineering and spent 35 years in electronic engineering and IT system design.
Steve learned his engineering skills on the job and in the early years in engineering had a great employer who bundled him off to college. That eventually lead to an HNC in Electronic Engineering. Some years later, Steve started his dream job working for a company that designed recording and stereo equipment. Sadly, it lasted only three weeks before the company went bust. Not the best choice of employers, it would seem!
Fortunately, he was offered another job in the oil and gas industry designing equipment to run compressor installations. It was to take him to many amazing parts of the world, including North West Canada, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Spain and the USA. He then moved to another company, where he stayed for 14 years and this one took him to Saudi Arabia to work on military aircraft and reconnaissance equipment.
In 2011, the threat of redundancy was to rear its head. Although he describes himself as very “risk averse”, he saw this as an opportunity to start his own business in photography and video production.
Although the company he had been working for was about to make him redundant, he held them in high esteem. Through their encouragement, he had become a Chartered Engineer. Also, over the past years, he had gathered significant experience in product photography and his engineering background would prove very useful in not only understanding the subject matter but also how to plan and carry out a shoot.
Steve says he knew nothing about running a business before starting Wandering River. Most of what he has learned, he picked up “by the seat of the pants”, by making mistakes and by the generosity of the business folk he has met at networking groups.
Where does “Wandering River” come from?
Years before, his oil and gas work would take Steve to the northern reaches of Canada – usually in the depth of Winter. On one occasion, a flight from one compressor station to another took him over the Athabasca River, 2000 feet below. Its meandering path through the frozen wilderness immediately gave Steve the idea of a name – should he ever work for himself. “Wandering River” – a frozen river seen from 2000 feet.
How Stills and Video entered the picture
While engineering was (and still is) a mainstay, there lurked beneath the surface a small flame of an artistic leaning. He had discovered old monochrome photographs taken by his Mother and was drawn to them. So, encouraged by both Mum and Dad, Steve was given his first camera when he was 12 and to begin with he concentrated on taking pictures of first his own family, then other folk.
The start of a working life relegated photography to an intermittent hobby for a while but eventually opportunities popped up to provide product stills for the various companies Steve worked for.
So now, Steve combines Stills and Video Production with Engineering activities. Both involve some travel, but so far all within the shores of the UK!
The furthest afield he has worked is Oxford for a video project and Glasgow for an ongoing engineering task.
Steve finds both avenues of endeavour fulfilling… The stills and video has allowed what was always a nascent artistic characteristic to finally come to the fore and is great for the heart (and the head) and the engineering is great to keep his analytical mind on its toes.
On a personal note
Steve and Annya met in Berkshire, where they were both living back in 1983. They moved to Suffolk in 1986 and have been married for 31 years.
Hobbies include woodwork and, a recent discovery, a graphics tablet with a stylus. He uses these to edit natural world photographs into something more akin to “artwork”.
He also enjoys creative writing. It arose out of being plagued at one time with “screaming nightmares” that he learned to defuse by writing about them. They are now forming the basis of a book that, said with a sideways smile, “might be worth a read”.
We can’t wait!
G. Tydeman Jewellers - Member Spotlight May 2018
G. Tydeman Jewellers – Les Basham
Our member in the spotlight for May 2018
G. Tydeman Jewellers
01449 612510, 1-3 Bury Street, Stowmarket
G. Tydeman Jewellers has been serving the people of Stowmarket and the surrounding area since 1790.
The shop was founded by George Tydeman, originally as a clock-makers before moving into retail jewellery.
The shop stayed in the Tydeman family until the 1950s, when it was taken over by former employees who ran it until 1970 when the business was bought by John and Florrie Heller. John learnt his trade as a jeweller and watchmaker in London’s West End.
The business has remained in the family ever since and current MD Leslie J Basham is the son-in-law of John and Florrie, with a third generation of the family also in the company.
G. Tydeman Jewellers is a member of the National Association of Jewellers and of the Company of Master Jewellers, which gives the company access to the many UK and International suppliers enabling it to select the best in contemporary and traditional designs.
They offer a bespoke service, creating exquisite pieces customers will be able to treasure forever, as well as a full repair service for watches and jewellery.
Mr Basham believes the business owes a great deal to being an independent, family-run business that prides itself on the care it takes with its service, especially when asked to repair treasured family heirlooms.
He is equally passionate about preserving and promoting the town centre and its retailers. He says during their time in Stowmarket they have seen both footfall and catchment area increasing, partly due to the additional housing that has been built around the town.
The business has been involved with Stowmarket Chamber for many years and was involved in setting up its previous incarnation.
Sammy Teather - Member Spotlight April 2018
Our member in the spotlight for April 2018
Teather Creative Design
Be Your Own Graphic Designer
Email Sammy on: email@example.com
Or call: 07501 104696
A self-confessed drawing addict from an early age, Sammy was born and raised in Ipswich.
She began her formal art training in Ipswich in the days when, she said: “Art and graphic design training was definitely old school hands-on with no computers in sight. Every day at Ipswich art school started with a one-hour life-drawing or still-life class which really does hone your skills over two years.”
When graphics moved online Sammy moved with it: “I now draw and illustrate directly onto the screen which I think separates me from other graphic designers who rely on typefaces and clip-art. I design one-off bespoke characters and graphics for individuals.”
Sammy started her graphic design career in central London, where she worked in at a very ‘yuppy’ branding and packaging agency, specialising in retail product design for the big multiples such as Sainsbury’s, Tesco, and M&S.
After gaining a post-grad qualification she then worked for six years as the Marketing Manager for a large food company, which took her travelling regularly to Germany and France.
In 2000, marriage and the birth of her daughter, Fern, brought Sammy back to Suffolk, this time to Needham Market. A career move into teaching Art, Design and Technology, enabled her to combine work with being a mother.
Hobbies and interests
Sammy freely admits to having no musical ability, unlike her husband and daughter, a singer-songwriter playing Acoustic Folk-rock with an Americana twist. Sammy does, however, greatly enjoy a great deal of both live and recorded music with her many musical friends.
Other hobbies and interests include various crafts, crochet and knitting being current winter favourites, although she claims to be not very good at either! In warmer weather, she loves to walk and is often inspired to draw and paint watercolours. She also went through a phase of designing and making real stained-glass panels which are now all over her house!
Any other passions?
“I also have two rescue cats, Belle and Cleo, whom I love very much.”
Sammy has an impressive list of qualifications, including:
An Art School OND, an HND in Graphic Design, a BA hons (1st class) in Design Technology & Sociology, an ACIM DipM post-grad in Marketing, and a teaching qualification (QTS).