People: Wake Smith Solicitors; Begbies Traynor; Aldwark Arms; and more

Sheffield law firm Wake Smith Solicitors has added experienced associate Sherelle O’Brien to its growing team of legal experts and support staff.

She joins the eight-strong private client team headed by Suzanne Porter, who has also been shortlisted as one of five national finalists in the Lawyer of the Year – Wills & Probate category at the 2023 Modern Law Private Client Awards.

O’Brien has worked in the region’s legal sector since 2013 and prior to moving to Wake Smith worked at a Sheffield practice where she spent the last year and a half advising clients with estate administration, Inheritance Tax Planning, Wills and Powers of Attorney matters, having previously practiced at a number of law firms in the city and Doncaster.

O’Brien, who has more than eight year’s experience working within the private client sector, said: “I am excited to be part of such a dynamic team and look forward to helping them maintain their amazing reputation.”

Head of private client, Suzanne Porter, said: “We welcome Sherelle to the Wake Smith team. We are excited to be welcoming such great new talent to our team, as well as continuing to invest in the ongoing development and training of our people at every level.”


Louise Longley and Ian Royle have been promoted to the position of partner in the Yorkshire region by rescue and recovery specialist Begbies Traynor.

Having joined the company’s Leeds office in 2004 as an insolvency administrator, Longley qualified as an insolvency practitioner in 2011 and rose to the position of senior insolvency manager in 2016. She was promoted to insolvency director three years ago.

During her 19 years with the business, she has undertaken an 18-month formal secondment in the firm’s compliance and technical department with a focus on preparing the firm for the 2016 insolvency changes.

Based in Leeds, she has also spent time working across other company offices.

She has over 20 years’ experience in insolvency and restructuring and has dealt with all aspects of personal and corporate insolvency, working in  a variety of sectors. She has a strong record in bank-led administrations and more complex insolvencies.

Royle has also specialised in insolvency for more than 20 years, having started his career with Wilson Pitts in Leeds in 2000, prior to the firm joining Begbies Traynor Group in 2006.

He passed the Certificate of Proficiency in Insolvency (CPI) in 2005 and the JIEB exams in 2008 to become a licensed Insolvency Practitioner.

He has extensive experience in corporate insolvency with specific experience in the SME market, working across a range of sectors.

Royle also has excellent knowledge of bank-driven restructuring, recovery and insolvency having spent two years on secondment with a major clearing bank where he was responsible for accelerating the disposal of distressed properties.

He was promoted to director in 2016 and heads the firm’s Teesside office.

Julian Pitts, managing partner for the business in Yorkshire, said: “It is always genuinely gratifying to see talented, hardworking members of the team rise through the firm and progress their careers with us.

“This is a brilliant achievement and testimony to Louise and Ian’s dedication.”

Longley said: “After a period working as a legal secretary in a specialist insolvency department, I joined Begbies Traynor almost 20 years ago, and the firm has helped me to develop my skills, providing training, support and varied hands-on experience to enable me to rise to the position of partner.

“I am looking forward to continuing to work with our talented team to build our presence across Yorkshire and the North East.”

Royle added: “Having stumbled across insolvency over 23 years ago as a fresh-faced, 17-year-old office junior, I feel extremely privileged to have been able to forge a career with one of the UK’s leading professional services firms.

“I would like to pay tribute to Begbies Traynor which has enabled my progress on a clear career path and also to partner Dave Broadbent and regional managing partner, Julian Pitts, who have supported me every step of the way.


The owners of the Aldwark Arms, near Easingwold, have hired a talented chef.

Warren and Sue Taylor, who took over the premises in May 2021, have taken on Paul Murphy.

Warren Taylor said: “Paul’s appointment is crucially important for the future of the Aldwark Arms. He has a superb reputation, gained over a number of years, and we are in no doubt that he will take our lovely dining pub to a completely new level in terms of the quality of our food.”

Murphy’s previous experience includes building up the acclaimed Timble Inn near Otley into five-star hotel from scratch and working with chef Frances Atkins at the Michelin-starred Yorke Arms near Pateley Bridge.

More recently, he has won many admirers when he was head chef at the Crown at Roecliffe and the Wild Swan at Minskip.

He said: “I am determined to give Aldwark and the surrounding district a pub restaurant to be proud of. I am completely revamping the menu and am determined to create enjoyable and imaginative food at competitive prices.

“I haven’t been here long, but the reaction so far has been brilliant.

“I am aiming to replicate the success I had at the Timble Inn, which my wife and I ran from 2009 to 2014.

“Like the Timble, the Aldwark Arms has immense potential. This is a fabulous opportunity. Warren and Sue have given me a blank canvas.

“They simply want the Aldwark Arms to be at the heart of the village community and to be loved and treasured by villagers.”

The Taylors, who are originally from Johannesburg, came over to the UK so their eldest daughter could go to university here.

Sue Taylor said: “Being brutally honest, it hasn’t been the easiest of times since we arrived. The combination of Covid, the war in Ukraine and the cost-of-living crisis was challenging, while the recent closure of Aldwark Bridge has cut off the most popular route into our village.

“But we are nothing if not optimists and – with Paul on board – the future looks extremely bright.”


Leeds-based TransUnion, a global information and insights company and credit reference agency, has appointed James Robinson as managing director of consumer interactive in the UK.

As part of the UK executive team, Robinson will lead TransUnion’s regional consumer business, helping businesses to deliver streamlined customer journeys and supporting financial inclusion through credit education and consumer empowerment.

He said: “Our consumer business plays a crucial role in helping millions of people across the UK to access and understand their credit information.

“I’m thrilled to join the UK executive team at such an exciting time as we continue to build our network of partners and advance our mission to ensure consumers have the tools to monitor, understand and improve their financial wellbeing.”

Having joined TransUnion more than 15 years ago, he has an in-depth knowledge of the company’s consumer operations and was previously director of product and presales for the consumer team.

Satrajit “Satty” Saha, CEO of TransUnion in the UK, added: “The consumer is at the heart of all that we do and our consumer team is dedicated to delivering the best outcomes for consumers, working closely with our many partners.

“With his extensive knowledge of our business and the evolving consumer credit market, James brings a wealth of expertise to support our aim of using information for good and I’m delighted to welcome him to our leadership team.”

Robinson succeeds Kelli Fielding, who has been named head of consumer interactive internationally, where she will be responsible for strategy and performance for the consumer business across all TransUnion’s international markets.