People: Harrison Drury; Lambert Smith Hampton; Cassidy + Ashton; Orchard Care Homes; HCC Solicitors

Matthew Astley
X The Business Desk

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A Lancashire-based solicitor has been appointed to The Football Association’s National Serious Case Panel for the 2021-22 football season.

As part of the panel, Matthew Astley, head of the sports law team at Harrison Drury Solicitors, will adjudicate on all types of serious disciplinary cases within grassroots football.

The role involves ensuring that FA hearing procedures are correctly and fairly administered, and that disciplinary regulations are applied correctly.

Matt, who is also an associate solicitor within the firm’s dispute resolution team, said: “This role is all about ensuring the FA’s values and behaviour standards are, through independent adjudication, applied correctly and fairly across grassroots football.

“The panel plays a vital role in setting the standards for respectful behaviour across the game and ensuring football remains a game for everyone.”

He added: “I’m proud to be part of the National Serious Case Panel and to have been nominated as a chair, and I look forward to working alongside other individuals from across the UK who are part of the panel.”

As a panel member chair, Matt will assist County Football Associations across the country by independently adjudicating in serious disciplinary matters including those involving assaults on match officials and ‘aggravated’ cases involving discrimination.

Gaining a place on the panel involves an application process. Among the requirements, members must demonstrate a strong understanding of the disciplinary process in football and have experience of dealing with young people within a disciplinary setting.

Preston-based Harrison Drury’s sports law team deals with a wide range of matters including intellectual property and image rights, sports regulatory, disciplinary, safeguarding and anti-doping, sports contracts, employment matters, property in sport, and sports arbitration and litigation.


Property consultancy Lambert Smith Hampton (LSH) has appointed Helen Mansley to its planning, development and regeneration (PDR) team in the North West as the firm seeks to strengthen its position across the region.

The appointment will see Helen tasked with developing LSH’s retail capabilities throughout the region.

The move sees Helen join LSH’s Manchester office following a five-year spell at WYG where she oversaw the delivery of retail and town centre evidence base studies alongside planning applications for new foodstores and mixed use schemes.

Helen Mansley

This will add to LSH’s already established national planning offering, providing clients with technical and commercial expertise across the sector.

Helen Mansley said: “I am delighted to have joined Lambert Smith Hampton to grow our planning team and work with clients to provide them with the best in class service they have come to expect from us.

“The North West has enormous potential with LSH’s planning team already involved in a number of exciting, high profile projects across the region which I cannot wait to begin working on.”


Architectural, planning and building surveying practice, Cassidy + Ashton, has appointed two architectural technologists and a planning assistant to strengthen its Chester office.

Aimi Barnes joins the practice as senior architectural technologist from Chester-based Lovelock Mitchell Architects. She has an honour’s degree in Architectural Design Technology Wrexham Glyndwr University.

Aimi will be working alongside architectural technologist Anthony McCormick, who joins after graduating from Liverpool John Moores University with a First Class degree in Architectural Technology.

They will support the architectural and design team based in the Chester office.

Olivia Forde has also joined after graduating with a First Class degree in MPlan Town and Regional Planning from the University of Liverpool. She will work across the practice’s planning teams in its Chester and Preston offices.

From left: Aimi Barns, Guy Evans, Olivia Forde, Anthony McCormack

Director, Guy Evans, said: “While the past 12 months have been challenging for the construction industry, we are experiencing a strong level of new enquiries and committed projects across a variety of sectors.

“We are looking forward with confidence and investing in growing our team at Chester, combining professionals with a wealth of experience with those embarking on their careers in the industry. Aimi, Anthony and Olivia are hugely talented and have settled into the team very well.”

Cassidy + Ashton’s Chester team, located at Hunters Walk in the city, includes specialists across disciplines in architecture, planning and building surveying. The appointment of Aimi, Anthony and Olivia, brings the team to 13.

The Chester team has recently worked on a number of high profile built environment projects for clients such as Chester Zoo, Halton Borough Council, University of Liverpool, Airbus and Anwyl Partnerships.

Guy added: “In conjunction with the recent appointment of Dan Thorpe, as our new head of architecture at Chester, we are well placed to build upon our enviable reputation in North Wales and the North West, providing an A+ service to current and new clients.”


Orchard Care Homes, a provider of senior living in the UK with care homes in the North of England and the Midlands, has strengthened its leadership team with the appointment of Mark Laight as operations director, North West region.

Mark brings with him more than 27 years’ experience in the sector, working for MPS Care as operations director, where he provided regional operations support to 13 care homes in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. overseeing regulatory compliance and business management, before taking on the role of area quality director at HC-One.

Mark Laight

Mark will be responsible for the operation of Orchard’s five residences in the North West region, including Green Park Care Home and Three Bridges Nursing Home in Warrington, Langfield Care Home in Manchester, Penwortham Grange & Lodge Care Home in Preston and Thornton Hall & Lodge Care Home in Merseyside.

Hayden Knight, CEO at Orchard, welcomed Mark into the organisation, saying: “With his extensive background in the sector, Mark’s operational experience will prove essential as we move forward in what is a challenging environment and I am confident our North West region will benefit from this appointment.”

Mark said: “I am very excited to join Orchard Care Homes and I am looking forward to being a pivotal part of the organisation’s continuing drive forward to delivering outstanding care and support to the residents in our services.”


Serious injury specialist HCC Solicitors has announced senior promotions for four of its top lawyers.

Kelly Hutton has been promoted to partner from her role as associate partner. As part of the major trauma and serious injury (MTSI) team, Kelly handles high valued multi-track cases and is involved in business development initiatives for Manchester-based HCC.

From left: Vanessa Smith, Gill Cox, Kelly Hutton, Vicky Hewes

Gill Cox has transitioned from associate partner to partner. Working on the employers’ liability and public liability (EL/PL) team in both HCC and Law Together, Gill is involved in and supervises other fee earners dealing with multi-track employers’ liability and public liability cases.

Vanessa Smith (employers’ liability and public liability cases) and Vicky Hewes (clinical negligence) have been made associate partners. Both have been instrumental in the management and development of their teams and departments.

David Horwich, director at HCC Solicitors, said: “We are delighted to promote four outstanding members of the HCC team. Not only does it highlight the quality of our people, but it reinforces our commitment to progressing roles internally.

“We remain passionate about nurturing the careers of talented lawyers who are instrumental in helping us further expand our services across our three UK offices.”