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INSIDE: Our movers and shakers revealed
Wednesday, November 30, 2016
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Who are area’s movers and shakers? HERE you go, the long-awaited Power 50 list for 2016. These people and their companies or organisations are seen as some of the most influential and powerful in South Devon. They are the movers and shakers who can make a difference, and are making a difference, to secure a healthy and prosperous future for the area. Some people have gone up in the rankings. Others have gone down — but are just as important. Others are making their debut on the list, drawn up in partnership between the Herald Express and local solicitors Kitsons. We have a new, outright number one in Jeremy Christophers, the leader of the district council in Teignbridge where regeneration projects, investment, new homes and new jobs have been right at the top of the agenda. Torbay mayor Gordon Oliver is down to No 4 as the council heads towards a new way of running the town hall in 2019 but he is still key to a new future for the English Riviera and working with partners like Teignbridge. Investment is one of the main themes running through the list and so, too, is South Devon’s largest industry — tourism. The formation of a new English Riviera BID Company is still yet to be confirmed pending the result of an appeal against the ballot process which should be known before Christmas. If the appeal is lost, the company will take shape to
By JIM PARKER Herald Express editor email@example.com Twitter: @TQHeraldExpress drive Torbay’s tourism and hospitality sector with BID steering group chairman Laurence Murrell and tourism company chief executive Carolyn Custerson playing key roles. That’s why they come in at joint No 2. Investment in that tourism industry is also vital for a brighter future. That’s why you will see Andrew and Christina Brownsword in at No 3. They have just bought the Imperial Hotel and have pledged to spend money on restoring it to its former glory. Steve Furness, of Duchy Hotels, is also new at No 14 and fits the same bracket as he invests at the Palace, Paignton, Headland and Belgrave Sands hotels. Peter and Lana de Savary (joint No 15) are still ploughing more cash into their Cary Arms project while Richard Cuming, chairman of the English Riviera Attractions and owner of Bygones, makes his debut at No 20 as attractions are integral to the local tourism offer. Also new are Barry Young who leads Brixham Trawler Agents and Jim Portus, chief executive of the South Western Fish Producer Organisation. Our Nos 5 and 6 head up an industry worth millions to the local economy and have just had one of their best years on record. Former Torbay councillor and new Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime
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BARRY YOUNG, managing director at Brixham Trawler Agents: Barry’s Brixham Trawler Agents won the award of the UK’s Top Fishing Port 2015 in the Fishing News Awards. With its support of the fishing industry, it creates around 1,200 jobs locally within our industry and operates seven days a week. In October, the value of fish passing through Brixham market in one week has smashed through the £1million barrier for the first time. BTA is a private company with some 130 shareholders, mostly from the local fishing industry and operates the premier fish auction in England.
Commissioner Alison Hernandez is in at No 22. Making their debuts from the world of business are Chris Hicks, a key member of the team at accountants Francis Clark, and Jon Clyne, of property and commercial agents Charles Darrow. They are Nos 31 and 38 respectively. Chris Hart, chairman of the ERTC board and leading light at Wollen Michelmore, Torbay Business Forum chairman and Bishop Fleming man Tim Godfrey, South Devon College principal Stephen Criddle and Torbay Council chief executive and Torbay Development Agency chief executive Steve Parrock are there in the Top 10, all with key roles for that future prosperity. Well-known chefs and restaurant owners Mitch Tonks and Simon Hulstone represent the all-important food and drink sector. And we have wellknown names from the world of politics, health and education to hopefully give us that winning recipe. The list has a serious side to it. Kitsons boss James Cross has already announced that he plans to get the Top 20 or so names on the list together to see if they can champion and influence projects, initiatives and campaigns that can make a difference in South Devon. The list is also about having a bit of fun. It is not set in stone and is totally subjective. There are bound to be names you think should have been included and we may have left off. It is also about opinions and they will, no doubt, differ...
Here’s the list we for... the area’s 50 WELCOME to this year’s Power 50 for South Devon. This is the list we have all been waiting for of the 50 most influential people across the area today. There are some who have moved up and some who have moved down since last year. But the important thing to remember is that while it is all a bit of fun, these are the names of the people we believe will most influence whether South Devon itself goes up or down next year. And those named in the Power 50 2016 list could play a role as ambassadors for investment in South Devon. At a reception of movers and shakers who had featured in the 2015 Kitson/Herald Express Power 50 list, Herald Express editor Jim Parker said the Power 50 is all about recognising those who have invested or will invest in South Devon’s future or recognising those that have the influence to change things for the better. He cited the example of Steve Furness from Duchy Hotels which owns the Headland Hotel in Daddyhole Plain where the launch was held. The group also own the Palace Hotel and Queens Hotel in Paignton and has refurbished the former Kistor Hotel in Belgrave Road. Jim said: “Tourism is bound to play a part in the 2016 list especially with the coming of a new English Riviera BID company which, obviously, depends on the current appeal result.
JEREMY CHRISTOPHERS, Conservative leader of Teignbridge Council: Jeremy continues to champion improvements in infrastructure and housing for local people, improving skills, nurturing business and promoting tourism. Teignbridge is working closely with Exeter City and East Devon councils on decision making on planning, housing, resources and infrastructure. They have worked together as Greater Exeter on economic development and tourism. Teignbridge and its leader are key to building relationships with Torbay Council– and vice versa – to take full advantage of the South Devon Highway. Jeremy has also championed better opportunities for young people to live, work and play in the district, including the unforgettable Radio One Big Weekend. The greatest challenge is getting people in their mid-20s into good homes and his work championing custom and self-build housing has been nationally recognised as ground-breaking.
JIM PORTUS, chief executive of the South Western Fish Producer Organisation since 1989: Jim is responsible for local management of fish quotas and fish marketing arrangements under the Common Fisheries Policy. He has the ear of fisheries ministers and has been able to extend the influence of the organisation and the SW fishing industry to the highest levels of national and European politics. He is a trustee of the Fishermen’s Mission, the charity that Fishstock Brixham supports through fund-raising. Jim has won an award personally for his work on Fishstock Brixham as well as the festival winning silver in the 2016 Herald Express South Devon and English Riviera Tourism Event of the Year Awards.
By TINA CROWSON firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @TinaCrowson “So, too, is regeneration and taking full advantage of that new South Devon Highway as well as recognising those people and firms who are hugely successful but just get on with it.” He said Kitsons are one of those companies and he thanked them and managing partner James Cross for their continued support of the Power 50. He added: “There is a serious side to the list because the people on it — whether you like it or not — do have the power and influence to have a major say in South Devon’s future. I keep being told that we have investors knocking in the door and keen to open their wallets. “Perhaps some of you in the room today would be willing to form a little task force group and meet some of these people to lure them across the finishing line. “I know it is something the Torbay Development Agency may welcome and I am sure mayor Gordon Oliver would be up for it. Please let me know if you are interested so we can start actually walking the walk instead of talking the talk. “All that said, the Power 50 is also about having a bit of fun. It is purely subjective and not written in stone and without any doubt
LAURENCE MURRELL, managing director of TLH Leisure Resort, the biggest independent hotel group in Torbay: A board member of the English Riviera Tourism Company, Laurence is chairman of the steering group which launched the campaign to establish a tourism only business improvement district in the Bay. Should it get the final go ahead, he is also chairman elect of the English Riviera BID Company hoped to be established in the new year. The £3million raised through the bid levy over five years will fund a new not-for-profit independent private sector-led company which campaigners say will deliver high quality destination marketing of the Bay both nationally and internationally. Laurence is also a lifetime achievement winner in the English Riviera and South Devon Tourism and Hospitality Awards. He is a great believer that what makes a business successful is its people.
CHRIS HART, chief executive at law firm Wollen and Michelmore and chairman of the award-winning English Riviera Tourism Company: Chris has championed the tourism industry in the process of replacing the ERTC with a new-not-for profit tourism-only Business Improvement District. He was lucky enough to be sent to the Rio Olympics as part of a team of official arbitrators. He is the honorary secretary of the Devon and Somerset Law Society and a past president of the Devon and Exeter Law Society. In March 2016, he was named leader/law manager of the year at the inaugural Devon and Somerset Law Society awards. He is the immediate past chairman of the Law Society’s law management section. Chris is a trustee of the Friends of South Devon College, executive member of the Torbay Business Forum, and a member of the Devon and Cornwall Committee of Somerset County Cricket Club.
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have all been waiting most-influential people LAUNCH: James Cross at the launch of this year’s Power 50 at the Headland Hotel on Daddyhole Plain ANDY UGLOW TQPT20161123A-16_C
‘Good fun but Power 50 has serious side’
people will have their own views and choices.” James Cross said while the Power 50 is fun it had a serious side as well. “It enables us to recognise the great deal of success we have in the Bay. There isn’t anybody here who I wouldn’t recommend, who I don’t respect, and I class you all as friends. We have some great talent in the Bay and that’s the good
thing abut the Power 50 as it exposes that talent. “We should be shouting about the successes which have come out of Torbay. “You need people, passion and power, and power to make a difference. Maybe through this bit of fun we can make a difference for Torbay which is well placed to kick on with the new road and the projects in the pipeline to really become a beacon for the South West.”
CAROLYN CUSTERSON, chief executive of the English Riviera Tourism Company and former chairman of Visit Devon: The ERTC is now heavily involved in the delicate task of creating a new tourism only business improvement district in the Bay. Meanwhile, the tourism industry is continuing to gain strength as the profile of the English Riviera has been raised by the company’s efforts, particularly on line. The resort has reported one of its best summers in years, helped by the weather and the weakness of the pound. Steady progress is being made towards reversing the downward visitor trend, restoring the English Riviera’s role as a premier destination and introducing the resort to a new generation of visitors and producing new video advertising.
TIM GODFREY, partner at Bishop Fleming chartered accountants, head of its care home sector: Tim joined Bishop Fleming in 1994. Providing advice and support to a large number of his local business community, Tim is a recognised expert in advising the professional fishing industry. His client portfolio also includes many of the tourism and leisure businesses in the area. He is passionate about the regeneration of Torbay both physically and in the business sense. Tim is trustee of Torbay Advice Network, a charity providing training to frontline advisors to those trying to access the benefits system. He is also chairman of the increasingly influential Torbay Business Forum which has more than 700 business contacts.
POWER 50: Jeremy Christophers, leader of Teignbridge Council, at the launch of the Power 50, main picture ANDY UGLOW
ANDREW AND CHRISTINA BROWNSWORD, the multi-millionaire new owners of Torquay’s Imperial Hotel: Andrew and Christina Brownsword have pledged to embark on a ‘sympathetic restoration and refurbishment’ project. The couple’s vision is to restore the hotel to its previous position as not only one of the finest hotels on the English Riviera but in the South West. If they succeed this should be a major boost for the image and attractiveness of the area. But they have a lot on their plate at the moment as they also own Exeter’s fire wrecked Royal Clarence hotel which they are also planning to rebuild. The Andrew Brownsword Hotels group has become a byword for quality and excellence and includes the highly rated Gidleigh Park Hotel at Chagford. Andrew Brownsword Hotels has recently also bought The Old Swan & Minster Mill in Oxfordshire which was sold by the de Savary family which owns the Cary Arms at Babbacombe.
STEPHEN CRIDDLE, principal at South Devon College: South Devon College is an establishment not known for resting on its laurels. At Newton Abbot, it has opened the new University Technical College — another example of how it is always forging ahead creating new educational opportunities for young people in South Devon. A new Education Innovation Hub will open in February, under the Fujitsu Education Ambassador Programme. In addition, the Higher Education Funding Council for England has awarded £1million towards a new Hi-Tech and Digital Centre. The college is one of Devon’s four principal further and higher education colleges who have launched a unique collaboration that will benefit learners and employers across the county. It is now the third largest employer in the area with 700 staff.
THE South Devon Power 50 may bit a fun, but it has a serious message about the large number of talented and successful people working in the area. And the hope is it will show the next generation of Power 50 candidates they don’t have to leave South Devon to find a worthwhile and rewarding career. James Cross, managing partner of Power 50 sponsors Kitsons solicitors, explained: “It is good fun but there is a serious side because it shows we have some exceptional people and some great businesses. “I think it is good to remind ourselves that we have this talent because it is easy to think
the grass is greener on the other side. “But with the Power 50 we can see how many good people we have and what potential there is for the future. “The Power 50 can push and nudge and influence make sure South Devon reaches that potential whatever it is, in terms of education and training our young people, developing our talent and ensuring the South Devon has a succession and can offer drive and enthusiasm. “If you dig into these people’s their achievements are quite incredible, hopefully it will show that you don’t have to brain drain, you can stay here and reach your potential.”
GORDON OLIVER, Conservative Mayor of Torbay: Notable achievements include securing an investment package of £7million for the Bay, including millions of pounds of road improvements, helping 17 companies create more than 300 new jobs through his new £1million Growth Fund, the opening of the Palm, Court/Abbey Sands complex, securing City Deal with Plymouth, including Plymouth University, taking on the former Astra Zeneca site at Brixham. Unemployment is at its lowest rate in the Bay for decaders. The biggest challenge in the next few years is reshaping the way Torbay Council works in the face of further multimillion Government cutbacks. He needs the council and, especially, his own Tory group on side to get through some increasingly tough times ahead.
STEVE PARROCK, Torbay Council chief executive and Torbay Development Agency chief executive: Steve has already helped deliver major regeneration projects in the Bay including Brixham Fish Quay, White Rock business park, the Torre Abbey and Cockington Court regeneration. He has the tricky task of steering a new Oldway Mansion project to success as well as other town centre regeneration projects aiming to create new jobs and boost the economy. The council has already restructured and lost about one third of its workforce, but has to find a further £21.5 million by 2020, having already scraped the barrel and now digging into the barrel itself. At the helm as the council works more closely with other organisations for example in public health, adult services and children’s social care.
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NICOLA BULBECK, chief executive of Teignbridge District Council: Nicola is an energetic and enthusiastic ambassador for public service and has been leading the Teignbridge team since February, 2006. She combines a passion for empowerment style management with a keen focus on value for money and customer focus. Nicola has worked with elected members, voluntary and community organisations, local businesses, residents and staff to develop a 10-year strategy for Teignbridge that is delivering on a vision of prosperity, growth, a first-class environment and quality communities. A Peer Challenge in March 2016 praised Teignbridge for its strong political and managerial leadership, entrepreneurial ‘can do’ approach and excellent member-officer relationships. The council has also won regional and national awards for work ranging from self-build opportunities to delivering Radio 1 Big Weekend.
MAIREAD MCALINDEN, chief executive of Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust: Mairead has been chief executive of Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust since April 2015. She was at the helm for the setting up of the pioneering and integrated health and social care trust last autumn which now looks after both the acute care at Torbay Hospital and community care and adult social care. The organisation is going through a challenging period with increasing financial constraints, rising demand and a proposed shakeup in both community and acute services.
JAMES CROSS, managing partner and head of litigation at Kitsons Solicitors: James specialises in commercial litigation, ranging from debt recovery to complex multi-party disputes and has significant experience in acting on property litigation arising from both commercial and residential property. James is a member of the Property Litigation Association and has handled a wide range of disputes relating to property for individuals as well as companies of all sizes. He is also a well-known figure in Torbay’s business community including past chairman of Torquay Chamber of Trade.
DEREK ELLIOTT, managing director of Kay Elliott: Derek’s company is now an international design studio, employing more than 35 staff and operating in 24 countries on four continents. He oversees all the projects in the office but takes a special interest in the attractions and leisure sector work and regularly travels between the international project sites. Projects include more than 100 hotels but also a new African Savannah Zoo for Paignton Zoo, and luxury spa hotel for Nicolas James Group at Tides Reach, Salcombe, Kay Elliott Architects designed the award-winning Abbey Sands project and has submitted plans for the Torquay regeneration projects Torwood Street development and for Torquay Pavilion and Marina car park, again for the Nicolas James Group.
MITCH TONKS, Brixham-based celebrity chef and restaurant owner: Mitch continued to expand his empire and spread his influence in the past year. Former Herald Express columnist Mitch, who runs the Seahorse and the Rockfish restaurants in Dartmouth and Plymouth, Torquay and Brixham is now expanding into Exmouth. He is a passionate ambassador for the quality of Brixham and South Devon seafish and inspired the English Riviera Tourism Company’s England’s Seafood Coast campaign which aims to put the area on the national food/tourism map. Mentors local youngsters not only through the Mitch Tonks Academy for future seafood chefs at South Devon College but through recruitment to his establishments. Received an honorary doctorate from Plymouth University.
VINCE FLOWER, managing director of Shearings Hotels Ltd which operates 50 hotels in the UK: Vince is chairman of governors at Torquay Community College and serves on the boards of the Torbay Economic Development Company and the English Riviera Tourism Company. Shearings Hotels operates 50 hotels in the UK, which together accommodate almost two million bed nights, and the group employs almost 3,000, some 1,900 in the hotels division. Shearings bring around 5,000 tourists to the English Riviera each year.
CRIS BOYCE, a partner at solicitors Boyce Hatton: Cris, the head of the firm’s commercial department, has been advising clients throughout the West Country on commercial issues, including the buying and selling of firms for years. Former vice-chairman of the board at the Riviera International Conference Centre, he was also part of the trio who were all part of the consortium that saved Torquay United Football Club from disaster some years ago but is no longer officially involved with the club but is still an avid supporter. Cris is one of a handful of lawyers specialising in healthcare matters. He acts for a number of doctors and dentists.
KEVIN FOSTER, Conservative MP for Torbay: Kevin is regularly seen on television on the Government’s front bench of seats in the House of Commons. Is gaining in influence in the corridors of power but has not given up pounding the streets to deliver party leaflets. Kevin is regularly seen at Bay functions supporting both charities and business. Kevin is working closely with other West Country Tory MPs to ensure that the Conservative focus does not move away from the region.
SIMON HULSTONE, Michelin star chef and restaurant owner: Simon continues to win accolades both for his cooking at The Elephant on Beacon Hill and in professional competitions. He is putting Torquay on the culinary map with his series of evenings at the restaurant with some of the country’s top chefs. He expanded, taking over the running of Burridge’s Cafe Tearooms in partnership with his father, Roger. Runs a 69 acres farm, rearing free range pigs, sheep, hens and turkeys as well as growing seasonal fruit, herbs, flowers and vegetables used in the restaurant.
ALISON HERNANDEZ, police and crime commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly: The former Torbay councillor and Torbay Conservative election agent, Alison has pledged to put policing at the heart of communities both on our streets and online and that a visible uniformed presence will never be lost during her term of office. Alison has the power to hold Devon and Cornwall Police to account over the way they operate, to make sure they are accountable to the people they serve.
SIMON TONGE, chief executive of the Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust and executive director of Paignton Zoo: Paignton has become one of the country’s top tourist attractions and a world leader in conservation. After the success of its gorilla public art project, this year it launched the Great Big Rhino Project. The aim of the initiative is to raise money for the zoo’s work in Zimbabwe as well as that of Save the Rhino International and the recent auction raised a staggering £123,000. The zoo is now planning a new 6.5-hectare African Savannah area. A former zoo keeper, Simon studied accountancy and became curator at London Zoo. He boasts invaluable mixture of animal experience, conservation knowledge and financial affairs. The Whitley Trust also owns Living Coasts and Newquay Zoo.
BRUCE ROBERTSON, managing director of Trago Mills: The son of Trago founder Mike Robertson, Bruce has a firm hand at the tiller of three thriving stores at Newton Abbot, Falmouth and Liskeard. Newton Abbot is the largest of the three and includes the Trago Family Fun park. Construction has started on a £3million expansion plans at Newton Abbot store.
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STEPHEN FURNESS, owner of the Duchy Hotel Group: Stephen’s group, which owns the Palace and Queens hotels in Paignton, and the Headland Hotel in Torquay, is currently investing £2million in completely reinventing the Kistor Hotel in Belgrave Road. The hotel had 64 letting bedrooms in total, all with en-suite facilities and was on the market after being closed for more than a year. This is on top of the £3million improvements for the Palace Hotel and the Headland Hotel including £2million improvements and extensions to its Palace Hotel on the Esplande over two years and £1million at the Headland Hotel in Daddyhole Plain. The company is thriving thanks to the quality of its investment.
ANNE MARIE MORRIS, Newton Abbot MP: Anne Marie remains at the forefront of the battle to secure the future of the Dawlish railway line, and helped get the partnership off the ground which opened the South Devon University Technical College in Newton Abbot. She is a strong champion for businesses, and cochaired the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Micro Businesses. Her priorities are improved infrastructure, education, elderly healthcare, superfast broadband, democracy in planning, and small business.
KEITH RICHARDSON, owner of Richardson Hotels: Millionaire Keith is the owner of a growing portfolio of West Country hotels which includes the Grand Hotel in Torquay and also owner of Britain’s best known TV hotel, the Grosvenor which has been completely refurbished. Keith can regularly be seen in the skies over Torbay, and has become famous for travelling between them by helicopter. Richardson Hotels regularly sees turnover increases, despite the economic downturn which has put many other hotels under pressure. Keith is a supporter of the English Riviera tourism BID.
KEVIN MOWAT, executive head for business services at Torbay Council: Kevin, former director of marine services for Tor Bay Harbour Authority, is at the coal face of the work of Torbay Council. He is been responsible for one of the most business-like sections of Torbay Council, responsible for such contentious issues such as parking. He is also responsible for the strategic management of the TOR2 contract, including highway maintenance, waste, cleaning and street scene management. His portfolio also includes the strategic delivery of tourism services and he still retains overall management responsibility for Tor Bay Harbour and the enclosed harbours of Brixham, Torquay and Paignton.
LANA AND PETER DE SAVARY, entrepreneurs and hoteliers: Described as ‘The Riviera Reborn’ since the family took on the Cary Arms in Babbacombe, Lana and Peter have transformed it into a headlinegrabbing, award-winning, away-from-it-all boutique hotel. Their latest project were six new luxury double-decker beach huts, two of them suites, with views out over Lyme Bay — described by some national newspaper journalists as possibly the best beach huts in Britain. It has attracted widespread publicity for the Bay, won several awards and put the English Riviera firmly on the quality map.
SARAH WOLLASTON MP for Totnes: Sarah is the chairman of the all-party Parliamentary health select committee, a role appointed by MPs not the government. This was perhaps because of her willingness to speak her mind, on health and other issues for which she is increasingly in demand for radio and television interviews. It’s a stance for which she is well respected in both her constituency and in Parliament which resulted in her being named as backbencher of the year. As a keen cyclist, she was also on the all-party parliamentary cycling group.
GWYN GIBBONS, manager Imperial Hotel, Torquay: The first ever female general manager at the landmark hotel, recently taken over by the Brownsword Hotels group. Gwyn’s personal mission is to restore it to the affections of people locally as well as visitors. She has extensive hospitality and management consultancy experience, including working at Bovey Castle when entrepreneur Peter de Savary bought it and was sales and marketing manager at Wentworth Golf Club.
ALAN DENBY, director of economic strategy and performance at Torbay Development Agency: Among Alan’s achievements is establishing the TDA as a growing provider of business advice services not only in the Bay but as far away as Somerset particularly for ICT exploitation and start-ups. He is a member of the Institute of Economic Development and of the Chief Economic Development Officers’ Society and sits on the executive group of the Heart of the South West enterprise partnership.
SIR RICHARD IBBOTSON, chairman of South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust: Sir Richard was appointed shortly after retiring as vice admiral in the Royal Navy. His naval career included periods as commodore of Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, Commander British Forces Falkland Islands and, most recently, Deputy Commander-in-Chief Fleet. He is also a deputy Lord Lieutenant for Devon, governor of Plymouth University and chairman of the Royal Navy Royal Marines’ Charity. He is steering the pioneering trust through challenging times with both financial constraints, rising demand and a proposed shakeup of both community and acute services on the horizon.
RICHARD CUMING, owner of Bygones: Richard runs the Bygones attraction in St Marychurch with his family. He is chairman of the increasingly influential English Riviera Attractions Partnership. This brings together all the major attractions in the area. The partnership has been working closely with the English Riviera Tourism Company for example on the successful Attractions Passport for visitors. Richard is a director of the ERYC board and also chairs the judging panel for the Herald Express South Devon Tourism and Hospitality annual awards, seen as the annual Oscars for the local industry. Those with a long memory might remember he used to be Conservative leader of Torbay Council so he has a good insight into the authority’s workings.
ALEX ROWE, former joint managing director of CLS: Alex was a nonexecutive director on the board of Jelf Group PLC. He is a trustee of the Whitley Wildlife Trust which runs three nature reserves and three environmental parks Paignton Zoo, Living Coasts and Newquay Zoo.
CHRIS HICKS, of Francis Clark: Chris acts as audit partner to some of the firm’s largest corporate clients and has experience in acting for many educational and not for profit bodies. His strengths lie in getting to know his clients’ objectives, and giving all the support they need to achieve those objectives. He believes strongly in providing a high level of client care, and ensuring that his clients receive a truly partner led service. Chris is a member of Francis Clark’s executive management board and outside of work he has wide experience in the not for profit sector. He was a school governor at a state school for many years and has recently joined the board of trustees of Rowcroft Hospice.
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DAVID THOMAS, leader of the Conservative group on Torbay Council: Former deputy mayor to Gordon Oliver, Cllr Thomas retained his role as Tory group leader following the election. As the electorate voted to replace the mayor with a Cabinet and leader system, being group leader is an increasingly important role if the Conservatives are to retain their control of the council, whatever their differences in the council chamber.
GRAHAM BROWN, managing director of Pavey Group: Graham Brown is managing director of Pavey Group at Edginswell Business Park which has been providing personal and commercial insurance, risk management and financial advice since being founded by Michael Pavey in 1971. The group, which has offices in Torquay, Exeter and Holsworthy, and employs 90 people, has bought Buddens Westinsure, as part of its ongoing growth strategy.
DR NICK SMITH, head teacher at Torquay Girls’ Grammar School: TGGS once again cemented its position as a national leader for Alevel provision with this summer’s results. Overall, 82 per cent of grades were awarded at A* to B, with 31 students achieving three or more A grades and 43 students awarded at least one A* grade.
CHRIS LEWIS, Preston councillor: Chris was deputy mayor to former mayor Nick Bye. He has now been appointed by his colleagues to chair the overview and scrutiny board of Torbay Council which has a key role in challenging proposals and decisions and holding the council, and particularly the mayor and his executive group, to account.
NICK BYE, former Torbay Mayor now a Wellswood Conservative councillor: Nick has an in depth knowledge of the inner workings of Torbay Council. He is also chairman of the Torbay Conservatives and also Wellswood Conservative Association, which boasts one of the largest memberships in the country.
JON CLYNE, of Charles Darrow: Jon is a highly successful commercial property specialist who has been actively involved in the transfer, sale and acquisition of property within the South West for over a decade. He has a wide-ranging understanding of the commercial property market and previously specialised in the licence trade with an international property agency, forging close contacts with all the major national and regional pub operators. Having decided to launch Charles Darrow with co-director Paul in late-2013, Jon is enjoying the challenge of running his own business and making Charles Darrow the commercial property agent of choice in the South West. Jon is a keen supporter of Wooden Spoon, a children’s rugby charity.
PETER TISDALE, of the property development company THAT Group: Peter’s THAT Group will be hoping, though the years are passing with little to see on the ground, that the planned work on Torwood Street will finally swing into action in the next few months. The proposed plans, which have sparked interest from the Hilton Hotel group, will also bring three restaurants, three offices and a gym to Torwood Street, creating between 320 to 410 new jobs.
MARTIN FOULGER H i - Te c h F o r u m chairman and division managing director of Spirent Communications: The Paignton-based Positioning Technology Unit has received the Duke of Edinburgh’s Navigation Award for Technical Achievement 2016. Under Martin’s chairm a n s h i p, t h e H i - T e c h Forum is increasingly raising the profile of the successful sector of national and international hi-tech companies which is attracting more such businesses, developing Torbay into a thriving centre of excellence for the hi-tech market.
STEVE COLLINS, senior partner at Francis Clark accountants: Steve heads the firm’s private client sector group. Having specialised in tax for more than 30 years, he brings a wealth of experience to businesses, entrepreneurs and private individuals. A major part of his role is helping to grow and protect family wealth by providing imaginative and practical tax advice. Steve established the firm’s tax consultancy, which now advises more than 400 firms of accountants on specialist tax matters.
NICK POWE, owner of Kents Cavern, Torquay: Nick is the fifth-generation owner of the important prehistoric caves. He was also champion of Torbay’s successful bid for ‘Global Geopark’ status, is chairman of its management group and spearheaded the hugely successful International Conference on UNESCO Global Geoparks recently in Torquay which attracted delegates from all round the world. His next ambitious project is to create a National Centre for Prehistory and Geology — at Kents Cavern.
ANGELA GEORGE of IMS Marketing: Angela George is an experienced international business manager, brand and marketing manager, business mentor and career consultant. Angela was appointed the first woman chairman of the Torbay branch of the Federation of Small Businesses in 2013. A Brixham Chamber of Commerce member, she has played an important part improving trade and conditions in Brixham. She combines this with many voluntary roles. She is also a founder member of Brixham Means Business.
WENDY BENNETT, Princess Theatre general manager: Wendy has been influential in bringing star names to Torquay. She has transformed the Princess from a seaside summer show venue into an award-winning theatre which now attracts top West End shows. Shows coming in 2017 include Bill Kenwright’s award-winning stage adaptation of Ghost, Remembering Fred, Dirty Dancing and Wonderland starring West End actress Wendi Peters. Top comedians, singers and dancer playing at the venue next year include Sam Bailey, Jimmy Carr, Ross Noble and Brendan Cole.
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ALAN ARCHER, founder and managing director of the expanding Select Group of Companies Ltd and former chairman of Torbay Business Forum: Alan Archer founded his own business in Brixham at the age of 19. Select Group has now developed the world’s first instrument which can detect airborne asbestos fibres in real time. It recently launched a £1million crowd-funding target and has already attracted around 60 per cent of the funds needed to fast track its global market launch, create new jobs in the area and begin research and development on new industry specific models. Alan is a non executive director of Torbay Development Agency.
PETE LAWRENCE, principal of Torquay Boys’ Grammar School: Pete Lawrence is principal at Torquay Boys’ Grammar School which goes from strength to strength with more outstanding A-level results with Year 13 students achieving an impressive 75.2 per cent A* to B. A-level students achieved 3.97 passes per candidate as well as a 100 per cent pass rate. The school is also heavily involved in the South West Academic Trust partnership which works with Exeter University to raise achievement and aspiration in grammar schools. Through the multi-academy trust, it also supports Torquay Academy.
RICHARD BARR, managing director of the Centrax group, Newton Abbot, along with his brother Robert: In 2014, Richard was awarded an MBE by the Queen, alongside his brother for services to the power generation industry and exports from the UK. Centrax makes aircraft components for companies such as Rolls-Royce and Airbus as well as gas turbine equipment for power generation. In April, the Centrax Turbine Components division was taken over and now operates as MB Aerospace Newton Abbot on the same site. The Centrax Group retains the Gas Turbines Division which specialises in the manufacture and lifetime support of distributed power supply systems.
SALLY HENLEY, Newton Abbot town development manager: Town development manager of Newton Abbot since 2008, Sally has worked hard to help lead the development of the town. Sally is responsible for business promotion within the pedestrianised areas of the town centre. She also deals with busking and performance queries, new events, town centre facilities and provides support to new business ventures within Newton Abbot. Sally also acts as town development ambassador where she helps to voice opinions of both businesses as well as the council for the future objectives and plans for the town.
THE CAVANNA FAMILY: Founded in 1923 by Philip Cavanna, the Cavanna Group of companies which are more than 90 years old, has a multi-million pound turnover, a major building programme and is now recognised as the largest independent house builder in the region. Third generation Cavannas — Jeremy, his brother Jonathan and their cousin Martin — have taken executive roles. Recently highlighted as number seven in the Fast Growth 75 rankings of the region’s top business success stories, up from number 10 the previous year. Cavanna now employs 113 staff from its headquarters in Torquay and a further 300 contractors on sites across the region, almost double the contracted workforce in 2013.
STEVE MARGETTS, principal at Torquay Academy: When he started, Steve Margetts laid out his ‘Vision 2020’ a clear plan to make the academy an inspiring place to be taught. The turnaround at the school continues to inspire and by all accounts, the number of parents who want to sent their children there continues to rise. Recently the school was listed for the first time among the top five schools in the West Country for the outstanding achievements of its pupils. It came top in the Bay under the government’s new assessment criteria which assesses how much a pupil’s performance improves across their time in secondary school.
BRONWEN HEWITT, chief executive of the Dame Hannah Rogers Trust: Hannahs at Seale-Hayne goes from strength to strength and has been praised for the way it has worked with adults with disabilities but also created support. It is a place where art, music, food, wellbeing and social enterprise meet in an inclusive and sustainable environment for the whole community across South Devon.
JOHN COUCH, John Couch the Estate Agents: John has been a major player in South Devon’s property world for decades, with serious knowledge of the property market, particularly the upper end. The estate agents in Wellswood has held the keys to some of the most beautiful and expensive properties in the Bay, as well as selling some million pound properties to the rich and famous. John Couch is handling the sale of the luxury apartments in the Abbey Sands development.
THE BETTESWORTH FAMILY: The family of Bernard and Maureen Bettesworth — who founded Bettesworths Estate Agents commercial and licensed property agents — continue to expand the business. The company handles millions of pounds worth of commercial property sales including, hotels, pubs and retail. The directors today are Matt Bettesworth, Stephen Lofthouse and Paul Bettesworth.
MATTHEW SHANKS, executive headteacher Coombeshead Academy: Matthew is credited with turning around a failing Coombeshead College when he took over in 2010. The college has been highlighted by education inspectors for the rapid improvements it made. Coombeshead joined forces with Christow Community School, Rydon Primary School and Teign School as the Templer Academy Trust of which Matthew is now the executive headteacher.
PAT MASTERSON, managing director of Newton Abbot Racecourse: Award-winning Newton Abbot Racecourse celebrated its 150th anniversary this year, and events included 18 great race fixtures as well as a host of events such as car boot sales, antiques fairs and an 80s Gold summer concert. Pat is also chairman of Independent Racecourses Limited, a group of nine independent racecourses, which are Hexham, Ripon, Taunton, Fakenham, Leicester, Stratford, Plumpton, Towcester and Newton Abbot. Pat is also director of the RCA, the trade association of all racecourse.
JANE ENGLISH, principal Paignton Community and Sports Academy: Jane has earned more awards for her mantlepiece this year. She recently collected one of the national ‘Oscars of the teaching world’ a Gold Plato Award in the UK Pearson Teaching Award for Lifetime Achievement. In June, Jane was recognised as one of just 52 Silver Teaching Award winners in the UK, winning her award in the category for lifetime achievement. Then the Herald Express special award of the year in the South Devon Community Awards also went to Jane as the longest-serving headteacher in Torbay. Her enthusiasm for her work and the people she works with is undimmed after 35 years at the college.
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