People: World Options; TLT; Sambro International; Napthens; Harrison Drury; Hillsgreen

Sarah Tomkins

Sarah Tomkins has joined the team at the World Options office in Leigh, Greater Manchester, as a Customer Support Executive.

Part of MBE Worldwide, World Options says it is the largest retail group of franchised shipping services companies in the UK.

Mick Sherlock and Nick Daley launched the World Options franchise in Leigh in January 2021. Sarah said: “I am very excited to have joined the team at World Options.”

World Options Holdings Ltd manages three brands in the UK: Mail Boxes Etc, PACK & SEND and World Options, providing ecommerce, fulfilment, shipping, virtual office, marketing and print solutions to SMEs and consumers.


Matthew Johnson

TLT has continued to grow its real estate offering with the appointment of Matthew Johnson as legal director in its housing and regeneration team in Manchester.

Matthew is a real estate expert with more than a decade of experience, including advising public sector bodies, local authorities, affordable housing providers, developers and funders, corporate occupiers and landowners.

As well as supporting the growth of TLT’s national real estate team, Matthew’s appointment will significantly add to TLT’s public sector, affordable housing and real estate capabilities in the North West.

Sarah Hale, partner in TLT’s housing and regeneration team, said: “Matthew is a highly experienced and talented addition to our team and his considerable body of work with organisations such as Homes England will greatly benefit our practice.

“The current housing crisis has expedited the need for professionals who understand the challenges faced by our public sector clients. Matthew’s breadth of knowledge and experience will be hugely beneficial to helping prepare our clients for what comes next.”

Matthew said: “I’m looking forward to working alongside my new colleagues to support the ongoing growth of its real estate practice in the North West and nationally.”


Marian van der Oord

Global toy supplier Sambro International has appointed Marian van der Oord as European Account Director, to support its ongoing pan-European growth strategy.

The newly created role will support the expansion of Bury-based Sambro’s European sales team and Marian will work closely with the European Managing Director, Michiel Das, to build Sambro’s presence in key European markets, and to grow relationships with new and existing licensors and retailers. Marian’s main-focus will be on four key customers: Action, A.S Watson, Lidl, & Aldi.

Marian said: “With Sambro really looking to focus and push EU operations to new heights this year, it’s a very exciting time to join the team, with so many amazing products set to launch for 2024. The coming months will provide the pivotal moments to establish best working practices and create strong relationships with my customers. I am super excited to be joining the team and the business as it continues to evolve and professionalise.”

Michiel Das said: “Marian offers a hugely in-depth knowledge of the European toy market, including good knowledge of our strategic accounts and has a highly strategic skillset which will be an asset to the Sambro team as we look to continue our extensive growth throughout this year and beyond.”


Top, from left: Rhianna Bateson, Helen Gaskell, Craig Whittingham, Makhala Kirwan. Bottom row: Liam Ockleshaw, Natalie Maher Clare Smith, Michael Truman

Growth at North West law firm Napthens continues at pace, with the arrival of 14 new hires across the business.

The burgeoning corporate team is boosted with the arrival of two solicitors, a senior associate solicitor and a legal director, who will support the department’s development across its Liverpool, Blackburn and Preston offices.

Specialist tax lawyer, Clare Smith, arrives as legal director, bringing more than 25 years’ experience in private practice and industry.

Craig Whittingham also joins the corporate department as a senior associate solicitor, while Makhala Kirwan and Michael Truman arrive as solicitors to support the team’s increasing deal volume.

Head of corporate, Keith Melling, said: “We’ve made fantastic progress over recent years, as businesses are looking to us as the smart alternative to the national law firms and this allows us to continue to enjoy sustained steady growth.”

In addition, Napthens’ private client team adds three new hires, with Helen Gaskell rejoining the firm as legal director, after a 13-year absence. Helen was previously in the wills and estate planning department and will be focused on Napthens’ Fylde Coast and Lancashire regions.

Joining Helen are senior associate solicitor Rhianna Bateson and legal assistant Janine Mercer.

The firm’s commercial litigation team also sees the arrival of solicitors Liam Ockleshaw, Solaman Naveed and legal assistant Sophie Smith. All will be under the guidance of experienced litigators and David Bailey and John Whittingslow.

In addition, Napthens’ residential conveyancing team is boosted with the arrival of legal assistant Wendy Blakely in the Cumbrian team where Lauren Barnes also returns, and Demi Mason joins the Liverpool team as the department continues to grow under the stewardship of Sarah Barnes.

The firm has also recruited a number of roles within the business support services, to ensure all fee earners and departments receive the required levels of support. This includes Aaisha Ibrahim who joins the people and HR team, and Stuart Game who bolsters the technology and projects team.

Jamie Allison, partner, said: “We finished 2023 with a raft of new hires, and to continue that recruitment across a number of services within the business in early 2024, clearly demonstrates true and sustainable growth across the firm.

“Clare’s experience is a vital addition to the corporate team, while Helen’s return to the firm clearly demonstrates the credibility of Napthens to attract ambitious and experienced professionals. However, our recruitment drive is not finished and we’re expecting further hires in the coming months.”


Rick Life, left, and Sean Williams

North West law firm, Harrison Drury, has appointed a former regional banking head to help support its plans for growth.

Sean Williams will act as a consultant and advisor to the firm, supporting the growth of its Manchester office which launched in January.

Sean was most recently head of professional sector for specialist mortgage and loans provider Together. Prior to this he spent more than three decades with Yorkshire Bank, including seven years as head of regional business and private banking in Manchester.

John Chesworth, executive chairman of Harrison Drury, said: “I’ve known Sean going back to his early days at Yorkshire Bank. He’s incredibly passionate about helping businesses develop and grow and it was no surprise to see him going on to lead the bank’s regional operations in Manchester.

“Sean has since become one of the leading figures in the professional services community in the North West and someone who will be a great ambassador for us, helping us create opportunities and forge new relationships.”

Sean said: “Harrison Drury is an ambitious firm with a strong relationship ethos and commitment to deliver for clients. John and the team have made it a serious player in the North West legal sector with a great reputation for supporting SMEs and their leaders. The Manchester office is an exciting next chapter and one I really wanted to be part of.”

Harrison Drury launched its Manchester office, based at the Tootal Buildings, after recruiting two of the region’s top corporate lawyers Rick Life and Mark Traynor.

This was followed by the appointments of senior lawyers Jenny Potts and Roshni Valabhai, with further recruitment planned.

Rick Life said: “Our team in Manchester is growing quickly and we’re excited to have made another quality addition in Sean. I’m sure his commercial acumen, financial sector experience and relationships will prove to be invaluable in supporting our growth.”


From left: Granit Zeneli, Laura Murray Willis, Tom Robinson

Hillsgreen, the Cheshire-based digital marketing agency dedicated to agriculture, has expanded its team with three new members.

The company welcomes Laura Murray Willis as Head of Digital and Creative, Tom Robinson as Account Manager, and Granit Zeneli as Senior Account Manager.

Laura brings more than two decades of digital marketing experience, having worked at with renowned brands such as Sony Music, Eurotunnel, and Amazon. Tom brings a wealth of marketing expertise from the finance industry, while Granit complements the team with his skills and extensive experience, collaborating with renowned brands such as Philips, Adidas, Ford, Public Health England, and the NHS, as well as marketing agencies such as APS Group and Rhino Group.

Managing director, Andy Venables, said: “I’m thrilled with the recent expansion of our team by three exceptional individuals. The addition of such seasoned professionals not only enhances the value we deliver to our clients but also increases our ability to cultivate growth through digital marketing and continue to champion British farming.

“Laura, with her extensive digital marketing background and proficiency in creative and digital marketing, has a proven track record of leading teams that consistently exceed client expectations. Both Tom and Granit, equipped with their broad marketing and agency experience, bring a fresh and insightful perspective to client briefs.”

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