People: Northern Gritstone; Bowker Motor Group; Morris & Spottiswood; Fletchers Solicitors; Sambro Intl; WHN Solicitors

Claire Blackburn

Northern Gritstone, the investment business focused on science and technology-enabled businesses in the North of England, has appointed Claire Blackburn as its Company Secretary & Compliance Officer.

Claire has advised Northern Gritstone since its inception while working in her previous role as Director of Governance Services at Indigo Independent Governance. She will be based full-time at Northern Gritstone’s office in Manchester, where the company has recently invested in AssetCool, Silveray and Re:course AI.

Claire is a Fellow of the Chartered Governance Institute and currently chairs the North West branch of the Institute. She has advised large publicly listed and private equity backed corporations on their governance and compliance requirements for nearly two decades, including working at Eversheds Sutherland and KPMG.

Duncan Johnson, Northern Gritstone CEO, said: “Claire has provided vital support to Northern Gritstone since its launch in 2021, offering expert advice on all aspects of governance and compliance. As we look to increase our investment activity, we are delighted to welcome her onto the team on a full time basis and work with her to ensure the smooth running of our processes going forwards.”


Paul Hattersley

Bowker Motor Group in Blackburn and Preston has appointed a new Group Buyer.

Paul Hattersley, from Bolton, joins with buying responsibilities for BMW and MINI centres. Paul will source pre-owned BMWs and MINIs.

Paul joins Bowker Motor Group from Swansway Group, where he has been the Used Car Sales Manager since 2019. He brings almost 20 years of experience to the role at Bowker with an automotive retail career spanning several key positions. Paul has enjoyed key sales and management roles at Perrys Peugeot, Williams MINI Bolton and Marshall Mercedes in Bolton.

He said: “I am thrilled to join Bowker Motor Group as the Used Car Group Buyer for Bowker BMW and MINI. I live locally and know all about the well known Bowker family from working in the automotive sector for so long. It’s an exciting new chapter in my career, and I’m looking forward to working alongside the Bowker team.”

Bowker director, Chris Eccles, said: “Paul has an exciting new role. We have already seen the benefits of creating group roles in car sales. With Paul’s expert lead, we now expect to streamline our buying processes and maximise value for the group.”


Katy Higham

Morris & Spottiswood has appointed Katy Higham as framework manager to support its current growth in the food and drink manufacturing sector.

Katy’s key appointment supports a client-focused delivery strategy, and she will act as a consistent point of contact for clients, providing expert guidance, coordination, and efficient service.

Based in Warrington, Katy brings a decade of food and drink and pharmaceuticals experience to the team. She has worked as a project engineer, project manager, and design manager for leading manufacturers, both through in-house roles and as a consultant.

Spencer Lee, Director of Production & Manufacturing at Morris & Spottiswood, said: “We have been steadily growing our P&M business over the last few years and are currently focusing on opportunities in food and drink, building our team and expertise to expand this offering and meet market demand. In addition to continuously upskilling our team, we are also excited to bring in Katy, who has years of experience in the sector and invaluable client-side understanding. As we also branch out to Ireland for the first time, Katy’s pharmaceuticals expertise will be an asset for further growth in that region.”

Katy said: “I’m excited to join Morris & Spottiswood during this key period of growth. With extensive experience in the food and drink and pharmaceuticals sectors, I have a thorough understanding of the complexities of working in live environments. And with in-house experience, I also understand the requirements of our clients and the efficiency, cost-effectiveness, sustainability, and certainty they expect from us.”


Amy Moylan and Vicki Capper

Fletchers Solicitors has appointed two senior lawyers into its Clinical Negligence team.

Both Vicki Capper and Amy Moylan come from the defendant firm, Hill Dickinson.

They began their new roles at the beginning of November, and according to Alison Flaherty, Partner and Head of Clinical Negligence Serious Injury, their arrival emphasises the ongoing success of Fletchers in attracting lawyers from leading national firms, both from the defendant and claimant side.

Alison said: “We are determined to look across the whole sector to find the best talent for our clients. The more lawyers within the group, the more diverse service we can offer our clients, and it is great news that two such experienced lawyers are joining our clinical negligence team.”

Vicki Capper, who specialises in brain and spinal cord clinical negligence injuries, said: “It’s an exciting time to be joining the business and I’m really looking forward to making my mark here.”

Amy Moylan, who was recognised in the Legal 500 2024 as a ‘key lawyer’, explained that she had been considering a transfer across from defendant to claimant work for some time and chose Fletchers because “like Vicki, I’ve been impressed by the management’s commitment to social purpose and its workforce.”

Alison Flaherty added: “We expect to continue to invest our resources in people and technology. Our renewed AI partnership with the University of Liverpool is expected to help us take on more work in the ever-developing clinical negligence environment and to provide access to justice for injured people.”


Angie Goosen and Robin Dent

Sambro International, the global supplier of licensed toys, has further strengthened its commercial sales team with several new hires and internal moves to help boost the company’s UK sales operations.

Richard Dinham, who joined Bury-based Sambro earlier this year as Business Development Director, has been promoted to UK Sales Director and will now head up the UK national account management team, providing new direction, focus and strategy.

His role will include driving Sambro’s ambitious plans to increase domestic trading in the UK by working collaboratively with retail partners and licensors, aligning closely with their key sales and promotional periods.

In support of Sambro’s UK growth plans, the business has recently appointed Robin Dent and Angie Goosen as Senior National Account Manager and National Account Manager, respectively, who will support the delivery and growth of key client accounts.

Senior National Account Manager Robin has more than 15 years of experience in the toy sector, having previously worked for Rubies, Hornby and Mattel.

Robin will predominantly look after key retailer partnerships such as B&M, Home Bargains and Smyths and will use his expertise to harness expansion opportunities with existing and new client relationships.

New hire Angie Goosen has stepped across from Buyer to National Account Manager after spending 15 years at Blue Diamond Group and Mr Price in South Africa in various buying roles.

Angie brings a wealth of experience from her previous positions and has started to forge strong relationships with clients, such as The Works, CDS, Card Factory and Very.

Robin and Angie will support fellow Senior National Account Manager Ben Bridgen, and their addition will strengthen the strategic skillset of the sales team, helping deliver tangible results for UK retail partners.

UK Sales Director, Richard, said: “These new hires will bolster our already successful UK sales team. Robin and Angie have already hit the ground running for some of our key retail partners, proving they share the same hunger drive and tenacity as the wider team. We now have a diverse team in place who have fully bought into the new direction that we are taking Sambro in the UK.”


Michael Shroot, centre, with Paul Matthews, Katie Hall, Catherine Hamilton, Julie Sutherland

North West law firm Woodcocks Haworth and Nuttall (WHN) Solicitors has made six senior promotions across its team including the appointment of two associate directors.

Paul Matthews, head of WHN’s corporate and commercial team and Julie Sutherland, who leads WHN’s marketing and business development activities, have both been promoted to associate director.

Eleanor Longworth, who was recently recognised in the prestigious national Legal 500 guide as a rising star in the property litigation sector, has been promoted to senior associate. Eleanor supports WHN’s commercial property clients and as part of her role oversees the firm’s long leasehold dispute resolution team.

Commercial property transaction specialist Katie Hall as well as wills, trusts and probate experts Catherine Hamilton and Holly Simpson have all been promoted to associate.

In addition to Eleanor’s recognition, Katie was personally recommended in the recent Legal 500 guide as part of WHN’s ‘professional’ and ‘knowledgeable’ commercial property team. Paul was recognised for his work in mergers and acquisitions and supporting SME businesses in both the Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners guides this year.

CEO, Michael Shroot, said: “WHN is deeply embedded in the communities we operate and as a firm we are committed to giving a high-quality personal service to every client.

“A key part of this is providing opportunities for our staff members to grow and develop within the firm so they can forge meaningful long-term client relationships. As an example, Catherine and Holly both joined the firm as trainees and have been with WHN for a combined 40 years.

“Our promoted colleagues are each primarily based at one of our office locations, but all work with clients across the region, supporting the firm’s growth throughout the North West.”

Paul, Julie and Eleanor are all based at WHN’s Bury office. Katie is based at WHN’s Blackburn office and specialises in commercial property transactions, acting on behalf of individuals and companies, as well as charities and business partnerships.

Catherine and Holly are both part of WHN’s private client team, supporting clients with the preparation of wills, dealing with probate, lasting powers of attorney and managing Court of Protection deputyship matters. Holly also specialises in residential conveyancing and helps clients who are buying and selling their homes. Catherine is based at WHN’s Haslingden office while Holly is based in Bury.

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