Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Susie Freeman Travel helps the Soldiers' Charity to reach £1m.

An Inkpen-based tour operator has helped to raise an incredible £150,000 for The Soldiers' Charity by organising this year’s Lord Mayor’s Big Curry Lunch and donating a trip to Mauritius.

Susie Freeman, who runs a specialist travel agency offering bespoke holidays to the island of Mauritius, has raised £860,000 since the charity’s inception in 2008.

Hosted by the Rt Hon The Lord Mayor Alderman Roger Gifford, this year’s event took place recently at the Guildhall. As well as senior officers in the British Army, it was attended by city professionals, business leaders, members of the Houses of Parliament and other dignitaries.

Susie Freeman pictured with the Duke of Kent at the recent Lord Mayor’s Big Curry Lunch at the Guildhall.

The Soldiers' Charity helps soldiers who serve or who have served in Afghanistan and Iraq. Mrs Freeman has been closely involved for the past few years as her husband is a member of the Royal Dragoon Guards.

She said: “This is a charity very close to my heart and that of my family as my husband’s regiment is currently deployed in Afghanistan. We really wanted to raise as much money as possible this year and break through the grand total of £1m this year, so I donated a fantastic trip to Mauritius as a raffle prize.

“It’s a fantastic event which attracts the great and good of the city. As I am celebrating my 15th year of offering bespoke holidays to Mauritius it seemed fitting to offer a trip there to one lucky attendee.”


Monday, 29 April 2013

County Contractors goes for Renault fleet again!


A healthy order book and continued success has led to one of the country’s leading commercial refurbishment contractors taking delivery of its second fleet of Renault vans.

County Contractors, based in Weston-super-Mare, has taken delivery of 14 Renault Trafic vans and two Kangoo vans with the latest “13” plate.

Pic caption:
County Contractors take delivery of 14 Renault Trafic Vans and Renault Kangoo Vans on the beach at Weston-super-Mare. From left: Andy Durban of Platinum Renault; Ray Heathman, Director County Contractors and Stephen Longley, Area Manager, Business Sales for Renault UK.

County Contractors specialises in the refurbishment, fit out and maintenance of business premises, particularly the hospitality and retail sector.

The business, which was formed in 1976, took delivery of their first Renault fleet of 14 vehicles 18 months ago. County Contractors were so pleased with the practicality and value-for-money of the Renault brand, coupled with rapid expansion in their sector, that they recently returned for another 16 vehicles. The investment represents the second phase of a replacement programme designed to update the company’s remaining commercial vehicles.

Kevin Lee, Director at County Contractors, said: “Our decision to continue with Renault for the second phase was based on the excellent value-for-money and high level of standard specification that we hope will prove invaluable to our employees who travel the length and breadth of the country. Combine this with the good fuel economy and lower CO2 emission achieved by the Renault Trafic van as well as our experience of our initial purchases and it all made our choice of manufacturer a relatively simple decision.”

Stephen Longley, Area Manager, Business Sales for Renault UK, who handed over the keys for the latest set of Renault vans, said: “We’re delighted to deliver 16 more Renault vans to County Contactors amidst the famous setting of the beach at Weston-super-Mare.

“The Renault van range has long been a favourite of businesses across Europe who appreciate the range for its proven safety features, driver comfort, practicality and frugality. We wish County Contractors well and look forward to seeing them again in another two years!”

For more information, on County Contractors visit www.countycontractors.co.uk and for more on the Renault Trafic van, click onto www.renault.co.uk


Tuesday, 23 April 2013

May's speakers for the Athena Network, West Berkshire

Local businesswomen are invited to learn how decluttering can help their business at the Hungerford meeting of The Athena Network.

Suzi Davis from Pink Spaghetti PA Services will be speaking to the group at the Bear Hotel on Friday, 17th May about eliminating clutter of all kinds and ensuring it isn't a time-stealer.

Meanwhile, Niki Schäfer interior designer, lifestyle coach and author will be offering motivation, ideas and tips for would-be authors and bloggers in ‘How to Write for Business’ at the Newbury north meeting on Wednesday, 8th May at the Donnington Valley Hotel.

Newbury designer Clare Sheffield of S & T Design will be discussing what makes a successful brand identity at the Newbury South meeting at the Hilton Hotel, Pinchington Lane on Wednesday, 15th May and Karen Garley of HR Vision will be engaging the Thatcham group in an exercise to see if they really are creating the first impression they intend, at the Regency Park Hotel on Tuesday 21st May.

Debbie Miles, regional director for West Berkshire said: “The Athena Network has three main aims; support, alliances and training, all resulting in personal and business development. Each month members talk on a different business topic and May’s selection ranges from making the most of your time to branding to writing for business.”

Each meeting takes place from 12pm to 2pm and visitors are always welcome. For more information, contact Debbie Miles on 07891 503225 or Debbie.miles@theathenanetwork.com.


Tuesday, 2 April 2013


Center Parcs once again proved its green credentials when the short-break operator took delivery of 22 new all-electric Renault Kangoo Maxi Van Z.E. models.

The new models were handed over recently at Sherwood Forest and will be used across Center Parcs' other UK villages including, Elveden Forest, Longleat Forest and Whinfell Forest and its forthcoming fifth village, Woburn Forest, due to open Spring 2014.

The new electric vehicles form part of a fleet of 150 vehicles and will be used by the technical services and maintenance division and the "Dining-In" takeaway delivery operation which transports food and beverages to guests.

The Kangoo Vans were chosen after a rigorous selection process with Center Parcs keen to ensure its vehicle fleet is as green as possible, in keeping with its overall sustainability ethos. The Kangoo vans beat competition based on a range of factors including running costs,reliability , practicality, pay-load and purchase price.

(Left) Andy Heiron, Head of Electric Vehicle Programme, pictured with Paul Kent, Center Parcs Operations and Development Director.

Center Parcs Operations and Development Director, Paul Kent said: "It is important for us to ensure that Center Parcs' commercial vehicle fleet is the most efficient and least polluting option possible. The new Kangoo vans take this ethos to the next level, bringing non-polluting electric vehicles to each Center Parcs village. We're delighted to be continuing our committment to ensure Center Parcs reduces its impact on the environment."

Andy Heiron, Head of Electric Vehicle Programme at Renault UK handed over the keys to the vans at Center Parcs this week. He said: "It is wonderful to see the vans in use at such a fantastic location as Center Parcs.

"As well as being one of the best known names in the leisure and tourism industry, Center Parcs also leads the way in ensuring that their day-to-day operations are environmentally friendly, making the Kangoo Van Z.E. a great choice for their fleet needs.

"The Kangoo Van Z.E. and our electric range as a whole offer a winning combination of practicality and reliability, plus they are respectful of the environment with no tailpipe emissions at all. We are delighted that Center Parcs have chosen our Z.E. range for their fleet requirements and know that their staff will appreciate the vans' comfort and ergonomics."