People: Avison Young; Bear Metals Ltd; Rinew Legal; and more

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Effective from 1 January 2022, Claire Paraskeva will be handing over her position of leading the Avison Young office in Leeds to Chris Cheap, MD UK Regions, to focus on her principal role within the firm’s Business Rates team.

Paraskeva has led the 50-strong Leeds office for three years. She will now concentrate on her national role as public sector lead for Avison Young’s Business Rates team.

As a business rates mitigation expert for key clients in the public sector, she has spent more than 25 years with the firm, working principally with Police, Fire, Ambulance and NHS bodies throughout the UK.

Her detailed knowledge of the issues affecting the rating valuation of specialist classes of property such as Hospitals, Surgeries and Police Stations, will be of increasing importance in the run-up to the 2023 Rating Revaluation.

As managing director UK Regions, and regional managing director of Avison Young’s Manchester office, Cheap’s in-depth knowledge of the Northern markets and strong regional network will further support synergies between the firm’s regional offices.

With over 20 years’ experience, he has been at the forefront of some of the North West’s largest office transactions and high-profile developments. The appointment will see him split his time between Manchester and Leeds.

Paraskeva said: “I have been immensely proud of my regional colleagues’ achievements, especially of the hard work and strong team culture that has allowed us to continue collaborating, learning and serving clients throughout the pandemic.

Chris Cheap

“I am now looking forward to focusing my attention on the area that originally attracted me to work in real estate, and further enhancing the Business Rates services we provide on a national level.”

Cheap said: “While I continue to be based in Manchester and advise clients locally, I am excited at the opportunity to further join up thinking across our northern offices and underpin Avison Young’s commitment to the UK regions.

“Both Leeds and Manchester have distinctive personalities and strengths, and it is a privilege to be leading the teams in each city to deliver development, attract investment and contribute to the potential of their respective built environments through our work with clients.”

Jason Sibthorpe, principal and UK president, Avison Young, said: “I’d like to thank Claire for the hard work and dedication she has brought to her role as regional managing director.

“Her leadership has provided incredible support throughout a challenging time and we’re privileged Claire will remain part of the Avison Young team.”

“My congratulations go to Chris, who I know will bring tremendous drive to this position.”


Leeds and Bradford-based balcony and balustrade manufacturer and installer, Bear Metals Ltd has strengthened its management team with two new hires.

Marc Parker has been appointed as general manager with Ryan Nolan joining the team as IT manager.

Parker joins from Novaglaze Gardner & Newton Ltd, where he spent a decade in a variety of management roles from quantity engineer to operations and technical manager.

He brings a wealth of experience and will oversee the day-to-day business operations from sales to transport and customer relations. He will also support the MD in developing growth strategies and manage staff.

Nolan founded his own company, RN Development, in 2012 providing turnkey web solutions to the commercial market.

Bear Metals partnered with him in 2017 to provide web solutions for the company’s expanding operations.

Nolan now joins the Bear Metals team full time and he will be responsible for co-ordinating, planning and leading computer-related activities across the business.

Founded by young entrepreneur Simon Mitchell in 2017 the company has seen rapid growth since launch and these latest appointments support its ongoing development strategy.

Mitchell said: “We are delighted to welcome Marc and Ryan to our growing team. We have ambitious plans to expand both our domestic business and secure more commercial contracts, so these latest appointments will support this continued strategy.

“Marc and Ryan bring both expertise and a breadth of experience to the business at an exciting time in the company’s development.”


Millie Brown is the newest face to join Leeds-based Rinew Legal, taking on a post as the firm’s administrative assistant.

Looking to provide a helping hand to the team’s daily administrative tasks, Brown will also be working with litigation executive, Emma Roberts, to strategise and perfect the company’s marketing activities.

Brown will be combining her new role with her studies for a BSc (Hons) Degree in Sports Coaching at Leeds Beckett University, with a particular focus on netball.

She said: “I’m looking forward to getting stuck into my work with Rinew and am delighted to be providing an all-important new opinion on processes.

“I’m used to working in pressurised environments at a fast-pace, skills that I’m hoping to utilise in my new role.

“I feel really fortunate to have been given this working opportunity by Rinew who have tailored the role to accommodate my studies towards my undergraduate degree.”

Richard Newstead, Rinew’s managing director, said: “I’m delighted to welcome Millie to our ever-growing Rinew Legal team.

“She is a much-needed additional resource and is already proving herself to be a very valuable asset to both colleagues and clients.”


Vertu Motors has appointed experienced motor retail professionals, Darren Binge and Stuart Porter, to senior positions at its Harrogate Volkswagen dealership, based at St James Retail Park, Knaresborough.

Binge, 44, who lives locally and has worked in the motor trade in Yorkshire for 19 years, has joined the dealership as its head of business.

During the pandemic, he decided to invest in his career and undertook a Postgraduate Certificate in Automotive Management with Loughborough University, achieving a distinction.

Porter, also 44, begun his motor trade career in 2013 as a technician with Bristol Street Motors, which is part of the wider Vertu Motors plc group.

As recently appointed service manager at Vertu Harrogate Volkswagen, he has now joined the Group’s Vertu Motors retail brand.

The Volkswagen site was acquired by Vertu Motors plc in January 2020, as part of a substantial deal to take up leasehold dealerships in Leeds, Huddersfield, Harrogate and Skipton, to expand the Group’s portfolio.

Binge said: “Having spent time getting to know colleagues from across the Group, it’s clear why Vertu Motors plc is so successful. There is a brilliant team of engaged colleagues, with the customer at the heart of everything we do.

“I feel that large businesses, such as Vertu Motors, have a responsibility to support those less fortunate in our communities, so I am in talks with a number of local good causes to see how we can work together.

“There’s been some great ideas from my new colleagues and I’m looking forward to getting initiatives underway.”

Robert Forrester, chief executive, said: “It’s great to have Darren and Stuart on board. Both come to the dealership with a wealth of experience, a strong knowledge of the local area and a clear drive to build the team.

“I look forward to working with them as we continue to develop our business.”