Member Spotlight

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 or call her on 01473 743516 to arrange an interview.

Steve Stoddart - Member Spotlight June 2018

Steve Stoddart

Steve Stoddart

Our member in the spotlight for June 2018


Current businesses:

Wandering River Stills and Video Production

email Steve at:

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.


Present Day

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

Les Basham - G. Tydeman Jewellers

Our member in the spotlight for May 2018


Current businesses:

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

Sammy Teather

Sammy Teather - Member Spotlight for April 2018

Our member in the spotlight for April 2018


Current businesses:

Teather Creative Design

Be Your Own Graphic Designer

Email Sammy on:

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.”


Career history

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).