People: No Brainer; Chester Race Company; Forbes Solicitors; Miller Homes; Frank Roberts & Sons; Harrison Drury

From left: Gary Jenkins, Karl Chevalier, Laura Rudd

Digital PR, content and SEO agency, No Brainer, has appointed Karl Chevalier as its new technical SEO manager.

Karl will work in collaboration with head of SEO and insights, Laura Rudd, as the Warrington-based agency expands its SEO offering in line with growing demand for the service. With 15 years’ experience working across B2B and B2C industries, Karl specialises in search engine marketing and optimisation.

The agency has enjoyed a period significant success, securing a digital PR and SEO brief for the UK’s biggest private personal alarms provider and receiving various industry accolades.

Karl said: “The biggest challenge currently facing the SEO industry isn’t algorithms, but user behaviour. Google doesn’t change its algorithm to manipulate user behaviour, but instead evolves with it. Getting ahead of and keeping up with these trends is the real skill in SEO and I can’t wait to get stuck into this with No Brainer’s fantastic range of clients.”

No Brainer’s head of SEO and insights, Laura Rudd, said: “Karl is a fantastic addition to the team and brings with him a wealth of experience and expertise. I’m thrilled to see No Brainer’s SEO arm continue to grow, and Karl will play a pivotal role in our planned expansion.”

No Brainer shapes SEO and content strategies for a range of brands across a huge variety of industries, including the HomeServe Foundation, the registered charity of FTSE-250 company HomeServe.


Chester Race Company said Steve Davies, currently operations director of Lancashire Cricket Club (Emirates Old Trafford) in Manchester, is joining as the new chief operating officer for Chester and Bangor Racecourses.

The role will work closely with chief executive, Louise Stewart to oversee operations of both racecourses and further develop the customer experience at both tracks.

Steve is a highly experienced and commercially-focused leisure, tourism, and events operator. As operations director of Emirates Old Trafford, Steve has helped guide Lancashire Cricket and the ECB to embed an all-round guest experience that enhances visits beyond just the game of cricket.

Prior to this, Steve spent 15 years working for Merlin Entertainments as general manager of Madame Tussauds and various other roles at Alton Towers and Chessington World of Adventures. He oversaw the openings of the first Merlin Go Ape franchise, The Smiler and CBeebies Land at Alton Towers and helped bring live music concerts back to the theme park.

Steve Davies

Louise Stewart, chief executive of Chester Race Company, said: “I am thrilled that Steve is joining us. His experience in the sports, leisure and tourism industry, combined with his passion for customer experience and leadership will help to strengthen our team.

“We already have a brilliant team in place and with Steve in this senior leadership position we can continue to expand our race day offer and develop the customer experience even further.

“Steve will bring a fresh and exciting perspective to our business, and he will be supported in his role by myself and the senior management team. Steve will join us in the first quarter of 2023 and will play a big role in getting us ready for the 2023 racing season at Chester and supporting the team at Bangor on Dee.”

Steve said: “I’m delighted to be given the opportunity to lead the operations for Chester Race Company, this is a really exciting new role for me. I look forward to working with the team that I’ve heard so much about and hope to impart my knowledge and experience of working in stadiums and attractions to enhance the customer experience at Chester and Bangor-on-Dee even further.”


Forbes Solicitors has unveiled its largest training programme to date, as it strives to create more opportunities for people to enter the legal profession and to help enhance diversity and inclusivity throughout the sector.

The firm, which has offices across Lancashire, Leeds, and Manchester, has embraced new qualification routes for solicitors, with its approach leading to its cohort of 17 trainees rising to 22 from September next year.

Training programme placements will be open to applicants taking the newer Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) route into law, Graduate Apprenticeships, and trainees studying the more traditional Legal Practice Course (LPC) qualification. SQEs were introduced by the Solicitors Regulation Authority in September last year to improve accessibility to the legal profession.

Forbes Solicitors graduate recruitment

Kella Bowers, a partner and the Graduate Training Principal at Forbes Solicitors, said: “SQEs and Graduate Apprenticeships open up the legal sector to people from different backgrounds and who may have previously thought the profession wasn’t for them. Less rigid and more flexible entry routes can really help improve diversity and inclusivity, and truly enrich the overall wealth of experience and expertise to benefit the development of the sector, innovation and services provided to clients.

“We’re excited to welcome such a large number of new trainees into the Forbes family and are confident we’ll be working together with future leaders of our firm.”

Pauline Rigby, managing partner of Forbes Solicitors, joined the firm as a trainee 20 years ago. She said: “Growing our trainee cohort is a strong strategic move by our Graduate Recruitment Team and is symptomatic of the firm’s continued growth and positive attitude to change within the landscape we operate.”


Miller Homes has promoted a new interim sales manager for its North West developments.

After maintaining a long term role as development sales manager for the builder, Carrie Leather been promoted to her new role. Before joining Miller Homes, Carrie held sales roles at Bellway, Barratt and David McClean.

She joined in 2019 and was a part of the team that finalised the successful Woodville Place development in Warrington, before moving over to one of Miller’s newer sites, Sonnet Gate in Prescot.

Carrie Leather

Carrie is now responsible for several Miller Homes developments within the North West region including: Blackfield Green in Warton, Wilbury Park in Halewood, The Calders in Cliviger, Montague Place in Clitheroe and Sonnet Gate in Prescot.

She said: “I am naturally over the moon to be recognised for this promotion and I am even happier to accept this position. It’s presented me with a a fantastic opportunity to be able to further my career with Miller Homes and I am very eager to begin my role and working closely with the rest of the team.”

Sales director for the North West, Clare Noakes, said: “I am extremely fortunate to work with very talented people across the business. Carrie’s promotion has been extremely well deserved and I look forward to seeing her help to continue our successes across the region.”


Frank Roberts & Sons, in Cheshire, has appointed Bill Thurston as managing director to work with the family and senior management team to grow the business.

Bill’s focus will be on creating more added value products under the Roberts Bakery brand and developing the firm’s own label business, maintaining a commitment to innovation and the bakery’s long standing reputation for superior quality.

Frank Roberts & Sons has a turnover in excess of £90m, with bakeries in Cheshire and Derbyshire, employing more than 750 people, serving a mix of national branded retail, own label, food to-go and food service customers.

Bill Thurston

Bill has more than 30 years’ experience in the food industry and a large number in the bakery sector. He was managing director for Dawn Foods and senior vice president for CSM Ingredients, managing both national and international businesses in family-owned and publicly-listed arenas.

He said: “I want to share the good practices I have learnt and capitalise on the experiences I have had.

“Roberts is proud to be a highly respected fourth generation family-owned business with over 130 years of baking heritage. We want to build on that heritage and take it to a wider customer base across the UK, while maintaining and developing our heartland customers.”

Speaking of the recently secured £18m cash injection, Bill recognised the support from the Roberts family and financial backers, saying: “We now have the necessary funds to invest in additional equipment to meet our growth plans and improve existing site and plant capabilities.”

Mike Roberts, deputy chairman, welcomed Bill to the post, and said: “His experience in the bakery and wider food industry will help us achieve greater stability and growth in these challenging times.”


North West law firm Harrison Drury has bolstered its property team with the appointment of two residential property solicitors.

Rebecca Hardee joins Harrison Drury as an associate solicitor based in Garstang, while solicitor Hazel Jones joins the firm’s Kendal office.

Originally from Wales, Rebecca trained and qualified in London before taking up several senior legal roles in the North West. She has extensive experience in residential property transactions as well as managing re-mortgages, equity transfers and releases.

From left: Hazel Jones, Duncan Rawlinson, Rebecca Hardee

Hazel qualified as a solicitor in 2018 and has gone on to specialise in the sale and purchase of freehold and leasehold residential properties, as well as re-mortgaging work, registered and unregistered land ownership and equity release.

Duncan Rawlinson, partner and head of the residential property team at Harrison Drury, said: “We continue to grow our talented team to meet the demand for our residential property services across the North West.

“With local experience and excellent customer facing skills, Rebecca and Hazel are ideally placed to help us continue making it possible for our clients.”

Rebecca said: “Harrison Drury is known for the quality of advice it delivers to clients who are buying and selling residential property, particularly in high value and complex transactions. I’m proud to be joining the team.”

Hazel, who is originally from Carnforth and grew up on a sheep and cattle farm, said: “I love helping people complete what can often be the most important transactions of their life, such as buying a first home or downsizing after retirement. I’m looking forward to continuing to develop my career as part of the Harrison Drury team.”

Harrison Drury’s 16-strong residential conveyancing team includes 10 conveyancing professionals backed by a support team of six.

The firm has conveyancing solicitors based in Preston, Kendal, Lancaster, Clitheroe and Garstang.