People on the Move: Together; Champion Accountants; Next Generation Travel; Avison Young

Corporate team: Abigail Wiles, Andrew Fouli, Sonia Mann, Andrew Charnley, Geoff Walton, Kathy Murphy Hunter, Michael Allison, Aimee Everton

Specialist lender Together is focusing on growth in the corporate lending market by significantly expanding its corporate relationships team with a series of senior appointments.

The Cheadle business has more than doubled the size of the team with two additional corporate relationship directors and two corporate relationship support managers in response to fast-growing demand for its flexible secured lending products.

Their appointments come just six months after the creation of a new role of head of corporate relationships in November when Andrew Charnley joined Together from Lloyds Banking Group where he was head of asset-based lending (SME).

The new appointments include Sonia Mann and Andrew Fouli who join as corporate relationship directors in the Midlands and London, respectively.

Sonia brings more than 20 years’ experience in business development – most recently with Santander’s asset finance arm having also worked for RBS and Barclays in the past.

Andrew, whose banking career spans more than 30 years, joins from Cynergy Bank – formerly Bank of Cyprus UK – where he worked as a banking support manager.

Geoff Walton and Kathy Murphy Hunter have been appointed support managers as the business continues with its ambitious growth strategy. Both Geoff and Kathy join Together from Lloyds Banking Group, where Geoff was previously associate relationship director, and Kathy was the commercial finance regional manager’s assistant.

They will all report to Andrew Charnley, who said: “I am delighted to welcome Sonia, Andrew, Geoff and Kathy to the team.

“They bring with them exceptional experience, knowledge, ambition and drive to help us deliver our aspirations to be the number one choice for corporate finance in this market.

“Their appointments clearly signal our intentions to grow the business even more in the near future and to support businesses and their advisers with lending solutions tailored to their needs and delivered in an efficient and timely manner.”

The team’s key areas of expansion are the North West, Midlands and London, focusing on attracting property investors, developers, entrepreneurs, individuals and companies seeking a non-bank-style lending approach.


Chester accountancy firm, Champion Accountants, has laid the foundation for further growth of its specialist trust and estate tax service following the promotion of Claire Lightowler.

Claire’s remit as trust and estate tax manager is to act as the key point of contact between trustees, executors, solicitors and HMRC.

Her responsibilities within the new role span specialist tax compliance matters for a growing portfolio of trusts and estates, including registering new trusts and estates, completing trust & estate tax returns and accounts, personal tax returns, and providing advice around inheritance tax and tax matters generally.

First joining Champion Accountants’ practice on Watergate Row as a tax trainee in 2008, Claire, 36, from Chester, has since gained her ATT and Chartered Tax Adviser qualifications.

Claire Lightowler

She said: “Champion has always provided me with exciting opportunities to progress in my career and reaching a management position is another one of those milestones.

“Trusts and estates is a particularly complex area of taxation, and one that can feature a lot of emotion from clients. My role is to simplify these complexities and ensure that our clients benefit from the best possible advice and service.”

Sue Harris, director at Champion Accountants, added: “Claire’s had an exceptional career here. As a business, we’re committed to promoting from within and rewarding those with a continued ambition and drive to deliver quality service.

“Trust and estate tax is a specialism that’s increasingly requested among our client base and Claire’s background and expertise makes her perfectly suited to drive this area of the business forward to service our existing clients and new enquiries.”


Specialist educational travel company, Next Generation Travel (NGT), has strengthened its executive board by bringing Maria Whiteman, currently managing director of Saga Holidays, on board as managing director designate

The firm, which is headquartered in Blackpool and has several sites throughout the South of England, has appointed Maria to steer the rapidly-growing business towards achieving its vision of becoming the UK’s number one educational travel group by 2023.

Current managing director, Deborah Beckett, will continue to head up strategic projects and acquisitions

Maria brings more than 15 years’ board experience working within the travel industry adding to NGT’s heritage of in excess of 100 years’ sector expertise.

NGT Board: Sarah Foden, Deborah Beckett, David Craven, Sian Belfield, Dave Finch

Following a series of recent acquisitions, the company now employs more than 100 people and arranges educational visits for in excess of 75,000 passengers each year.

Established in 2010, NGT includes the WST Travel, FHT Travel, Anglia Tours, Study Experiences, Sport Experiences and Remembrance Travel brands.

The innovative parent company is the driving force behind six of the UK’s fastest-growing educational travel brands and offers immersive tours to young people from 10-21 years, which are designed to offer unique and empowering learning experiences outside of the classroom.

Deborah Beckett, said: “Maria will help us on our journey to becoming the UK’s top educational travel group.

“Our reputation for providing high levels of customer experience and curriculum-focused tours will be in safe hands. Bringing in outside experience adds to the breadth of experience in our boardroom and allows us to divert more energy into the acquisition process, which is a key part of our vision.”


Avison Young has made 16 senior promotions across its Manchester and Liverpool offices.

In Manchester, Russ Cairns and Ian Lane in the building team, Andrew Johnston and Conor Vallelly in the planning team and Adam Wildig in investment are now all in director roles.

Fellow Manchester colleagues Philip Grant, Elizabeth McFadyean, Paul Nellist, Alice Routledge and Rhian Smith in the planning team, Daniel Shields in building consultancy and Rhys Evans in the offices team have all been appointed to associate positions.

Meanwhile in Liverpool’s energy and natural resources team, Olivia Harker is now a director and Alex Chambers is an associate within lease consultancy.

Jack Nield and Ben Woodcock have both been promoted to senior surveyors in the energy and natural resources and land and development teams, respectively.

The Avison Young promotions

Principal and managing director of Avison Young’s Manchester office, Mark Williams, said: “I am delighted to announce a significant number of promotions within the Manchester office of Avison Young which are all well-deserved and I offer my congratulations to them all.

“Following the acquisition of GVA by Avison Young in January, the combined Manchester office now numbers nearly 200, offering a wide range of market-leading services to clients.

“These promotions demonstrate our commitment to the development and expansion of Avison Young in the UK in particular, through the personal development of our primary resource, our staff.”

Stephen Cowperthwaite, principal and managing director of the Liverpool office, said: “The promotions of Olivia and Alex are recognition of their hard work and dedication, as well as a reflection of the breadth of experience within our wider team.

“For Ben and Jack, it is fantastic to see their career progressing and a reflection of the important investment that we make in our emerging talent.

“I have no doubt that in their new roles they all will continue to support the growth of the Liverpool office as we embark on an exciting period for the city region and our business as a whole.”