People: Azets; Hydrock; Mercury Support; Napthens; Woodcocks Haworth and Nuttall Solicitors; Morris & Spottiswood

Laura Duggan

Accountancy firm Azets has appointed Laura Duggan as a tax partner to strengthen its corporate tax services offering in the North West. She is based in Azets’s Manchester office, covering the firm’s six offices in the region.

Laura, a Chartered Accountant and Chartered Tax Adviser with more than 18 years’ experience, has a tax advisory background built on experience working in both large regional and international accountancy firms. She brings expertise across a wide range of corporate and personal taxes for the owner managed business sector advising on all tax aspects from the company through to its shareholders and their personal taxes.

She is experienced in tax transaction advisory services such as group re-organisations and share sale agreements together with tax advisory in relation to shares incentives, succession planning, capital gains tax and R&D Tax Relief claims. As a result of her experience in both tax planning and compliance, she provides a comprehensive service to clients.

Laura brings with her a strong entrepreneurial spirit having most recently founded a tax team offering specialist add on services to many accountancy firms. This unique blend of experience assists in the delivery of a flexible client-focused approach understanding of the needs of an OMB from both an advisor and entrepreneurial owner perspective.

Laura said: “I’m excited to join the well regarded tax team at Azets at a time when the business is undergoing a rapid expansion and work with their varied client base. My experience in advising high-net worth individuals, SMEs, and owner-managed businesses will support Azets’s clients to navigate the current tax legislation.’’

Rob Wardle, head of tax at Azets in the North West, said: “Laura brings considerable expertise and a strong track record in advising companies, entrepreneurs, wealthy individuals and their families on all aspects of corporate tax, inheritance tax and other personal tax matters. Her experience as a founder and entrepreneur will be a great asset to our clients giving her a unique insight and understanding of the challenges they often face.”


Hydrock, the British-owned integrated engineering design, energy and sustainability consultancy, has named Danny Hope as its new regional director for the North West.

Danny originally joined Hydrock as a technical director in its national land quality and geotechnical division in 2015, establishing an office in Manchester city centre in the process.

Since then, he’s been the driving force in the growth of a multi-disciplinary team which includes specialists in acoustics and air quality, civil and structural engineering, energy and sustainability, fire safety, MEP, mobility analytics, nuclear safety, transport planning and water management.

Danny Hope

Brian McConnell, chief executive, said: “We’re delighted that Danny is taking the helm of our teams in Hale, Manchester and Stoke-on-Trent. We have trusted relationships with our clients in the North West of England, and we’re working with them on exciting urban regeneration projects like Middlewood Locks, Stretford Mall, Wigan Galleries and Wirral Waters.”

A familiar face to many, Danny is regularly seen across the North West property and construction market. Danny said: “Having effectively performed in this capacity for the last few years whilst also maintaining my technical position as the business grew at rapid pace, I’m now really looking forward to giving the regional director role my full attention. From a client perspective, nothing changes beyond the fact I’ll have more, dedicated time to understand their challenges and to build long lasting relationships.”

Flagship projects recently delivered across the region include Cotton Field Wharf, Islington Wharf, Lampwick, Logistics North, Mersey Reach and One Silk St.


Industry compliance provider, Mercury Support has extended its team and appointed Karen Featherstone as compliance manager.

The Warrington-based business has been steadily growing over the past couple of years, supporting groups such as The Alchemist and Duke Street Market as well as smaller independent operators and organisations like Manchester Metropolitan University.

Karen joins in the newly-created role where she will be responsible for policy development, auditing and assisting an array of clients in all matters of food, fire and safety compliance.

Karen Featherstone

Managing director, Dave Mansbridge, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to have Karen join our ever-growing team. Our aim as a company is to always have answers and solutions for our clients. We are here to support operators in every aspect of compliance and offer a no nonsense solution, Karen’s knowledge and experience will only add to our already well versed team.”

Karen has worked within the hospitality sector since the age of 17, holding management roles with leading operators like McDonalds and Brewers Fayre where she first became interested in food safety. In 2015, this interest saw her return to education where she qualified as an Environmental Health Practitioner and earnt her EHRB registration.

Following this, Karen moved to the private sector in a consulting role, advising on food, fire and health and safety issues. This led to her most recent role, working for the local authority as an Environmental Health Officer, where she was responsible for highlighting and enforcing actions to rectify breaches of FHS legislation.


North West law firm Napthens has appointed Elanor Findlay as a senior associate solicitor to its family law team. Elanor’s arrival follows a year of rapid growth for the firm where it added 34 people to its ranks in the second half of 2022.

Joining from Bendles’ Legal 500 family department, Elanor boasts 23-years’ experience in family law, where she advised parents and grandparents on arranging childcare, domestic and international relocation, safeguarding concerns, and also situations of domestic abuse.

Elanor also has extensive experience in financial settlements, working on complex business structures, inheritance claims, trust, and dealing with overseas assets.

Elanor Findlay

As part of the Napthens team, Elanor will complete its expertise at a senior level. She has a wealth of experience in all aspects of family law and will work primarily on resolving financial issues following divorce.

As well as bringing a host of legal expertise to Napthens’ family law team, the firm will also benefit from Elanor’s deep knowledge of the Cumbria legal landscape, having spent her career across several firms in the region such as Livingston Solicitors and Poole Townsend.

Elanor said: “Family law is not just about legal expertise, but also about compassion and understanding. I know that the team and Napthens practises this ethos day-in-day-out and I’m excited to work alongside them, providing the best possible legal representation for our clients. Cumbria is fantastic part of the UK to be placed.”

Helen Lucking, head of family at Napthens, said: “Elanor’s arrival is a fantastic addition to our team and will also strengthen our regional expertise in Cumbria. Napthens has been growing strongly over the last year and Elanor’s appointment is a sure sign of more growth and opportunities for the firm in 2023.”


A solicitor with more than 50 years’ experience advising clients across the Manchester area has joined Greater Manchester and Lancashire law firm Woodcocks Haworth and Nuttall Solicitors (WHN) as senior consultant.

Phil Bellamy has joined WHN following roles at Rowlands Solicitors, where he held a variety of positions between 1971 and 2011, including senior partner. His career experience also includes 11 years at Linder Myers where he was principal lawyer.

He will be based at WHN’s Bury office, supporting the firm’s growing commercial property client base across Greater Manchester and Lancashire and also advising the firm’s private client portfolio.

Phil will also use his knowledge and experience to help WHN develop new client relationships in the Greater Manchester commercial property sector.

Daniel Long, head of commercial, WHN, said: “Phil’s career history speaks for itself. As a company we were familiar with his excellent reputation advising clients across the Manchester area on a wide range of complex issues.

Phil Bellamy

“Phil’s other strength is his significant network of senior contacts, particularly in the commercial property industry, which he is now using to help WHN forge new quality client partnerships, supporting our continued growth in Greater Manchester.”

WHN Solicitors has eight offices across Lancashire and Greater Manchester. The firm employs around 110 staff and advises businesses, individuals and families across the North on a full range of legal matters.

Phil Bellamy said: “During my time in law, our profession has been transformed almost beyond recognition. There have been so many milestones, including the freedom to advertise our services, to incorporate our law firms, to form Alternative Business Structures and to invite investment publicly and privately from the marketplace.

“This has all happened against a background of advancing technology which has commoditised many routine legal services. Despite all these changes, a thread of continuity remains. There are still so many clients who seek and relish the lasting bond of trust and confidence developed by direct personal communication with advisers who take the time to talk to them, listen to them and who are prepared to go the extra mile.”


To support its recent appointment to a number of public sector frameworks servicing the North of England, Morris & Spottiswood has appointed Sarah Rathburn as a framework manager in its public sector team in its Warrington office.

This key appointment aims to ensure a client-focused delivery strategy, with Sarah providing support, guidance and a consistent point of contact to framework clients, while also supporting the Morris & Spottiswood preconstruction and construction teams to ensure delivery exceeds clients’ expectations.

Sarah brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the team, having worked across a number of key public sector frameworks. With extensive history working for local authorities in both design and project management roles, she has a particular specialism in project delivery in the education sector.

Sarah Rathburn

Her initial role will be to lead Morris & Spottiswood’s recent appointment to the Yorbuild Framework, ensuring client engagement and successful project delivery, while also growing and developing the wider team to understand all of the framework’s key drivers and target outcomes.

Matthew Wall, public sector leader at Morris & Spottiswood, said: “We’re happy to welcome Sarah to our team, especially as our public sector work now forms a significant portion of the business. Our strategy over the last few years has included a focus on securing public sector frameworks that align with our values and mission at Morris & Spottiswood. Appointing Sarah as framework manager will support our continued provision of a true end to end delivery, from architectural support to M&E engineering across a broad range of projects.”

Sarah said: “This is a unique opportunity to join the team at a senior level and use my experience to help shape the business’s future. And on a personal level, it also offers flexible working, which is something that I really value. It has been a busy period for the business but there is so much more we can continue to do to build on the foundations that have been laid, and I can’t wait to see what the next year brings.”

Founded in Glasgow in 1925, Morris & Spottiswood operates across the UK in fit-out, M&E, and housing, with offices in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Livingston, Warrington, and Leeds.

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