Latest News - Get Promotion

Suffolk Concert Band end 2014 on song!

The Bury St Edmunds Concert Band (BSECB) rounded off 2014 with another successful fundraising concert on behalf of SebertWoodSchool and Christ Church Moreton Hall.

The event, which saw the church packed to the rafters raised £700 taking the total amount raised by the band for a variety of local causes and organisations to almost £10,000 over the course of 2014.

BSECB’s Director of Music Rob Head commented: “It was a fine way to end the year and topped off a wonderful twelve months of fundraising concerts around Suffolk by the band. A number of different organisations have benefited including the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds.

“The concert at Moreton also featured the Sebert Singers, a choir that was only formed in September. They hit the high notes superbly with their renditions of “What a Wonderful Life” and “Supercalifragilisticexpealidocious”,” added Rob.

The Bury St Edmunds Concert Band, which features over 40 musicians of all ages, was founded in 1991 and regularly plays at major music venues across Suffolk and East Anglia.

For more information about the band and their future concerts please find them at


From here (deepest Beds) to Timbucktoo!

Fifty years in business is quite a milestone! From Potton in deepest Bedfordshire to Timbuktu in deepest Africa, Balaam Brothers has been fabricating and fencing for half a century.

The business has been run by Denis Balaam for the past 25 years but was established in 1964 by his father Edward and uncle Frederick.

Denis explained: “My father, who died in 1984, and Frederick were roofers at the time but, after finding out that fencing contractors earned more money without facing the risks associated with roofing, they decided to establish a fencing business down in Stevenage.

“Within eight years the business had relocated to a yard in the centre of Potton, near Sandy, and then relocated to larger premises in Potton. We’ve been here ever since,” added Denis.

Under Denis’s stewardship the business expanded into bespoke steel fabrication and construction complementing the fencing side of the business with a wide range of standard products as well as a capability to manufacture fully bespoke steelwork.

“As a fencing contractor we always had at least one welder at our yard so it made total sense to incorporate steel fabrication into what we can offer as a business,” said Denis.

The company’s ‘can do’ attitude is ably reflected in its strapline ‘simply contact us and you’re halfway there..we’ll do the rest’. It’s that ‘can do’ attitude that has recently led to an order for bespoke steelwork and gates for a tin mine in Timbuktu, Mali on the edge of the Sahara.

Sales Manager Colin Mayston, formerly Sales & Marketing Manager at Crowthorne, commented: “We live and breath fencing every day and whatever the customer query, we endeavour to answer ‘yes’! The order for Mali is a great example of that and we hope is the first of many as we bid to take the business forward. We’ve also had a recent enquiry from Senegal so we’re conquering Africa bit by bit!

“We have big ambitions to progress on the international sales front although the majority of our existing business, both fabricating and fencing installation, is in and around the Home Counties and East Anglia.

“We don’t pretend we can compete with the larger bulk producers on price but we can certainly provide the quality and level of flexibility to cater for the vast majority of customers’ needs,” added Colin.

Colin has been at Balaam Brothers for almost seven years. A recent addition to the senior management team is Project Manager Graham Almond whose appointment is viewed as a key piece of the jigsaw by Denis.

“We’ve got a great team in place in Colin, Graham and myself and I believe the three of us can really help this business progress. We all have decades of experience in the industry and know how to grow businesses.

“We currently have 16 full time staff and have been increasing our turnover at around 20% per year in recent times. That’s a steady, manageable increase that makes you realise we are on the right track.

“However we could easily double the size of the business in three years and that is one of our objectives,” added Denis who has been involved in the business since the age of 14, 42 years ago.

On the contracting front, Balaam Brothers’ fencing teams travel all over the south east fulfilling domestic, commercial and local authority contracts.

“With the flexibility and experience to match anybody. Balaam Brothers is clearly going places, including Timbuktu!” concluded Colin.


Harratts of Pontefract link up with hospice at Xmas Gala

There were mince pies, mulled wine, Christmas carols and truly distasteful festive knitwear in abundance recently as Harratt’s Nissan car dealership in Pontefract held a Christmas Gala day to launch a charity partnership with the Prince of Wales Hospice in the town.

The partnership between the hospice and the West Yorkshire wide group will see £500 for every new car sale made before December 19th go direct to the hospice's fundraising efforts.

Andrea Beer, Fundraising and Marketing Manager at The Prince of Wales Hospice said, “We’re delighted that Harratts have chosen to support the Hospice. The Hospice only receives funding for around 30% of its costs from statutory authorities and we rely on the general public and the support of local businesses like Harratts to enable us to provide much needed support to families in the community and especially at this time of year which can be very difficult for many.”

Harratts Group Marketing Manager Danny Holden explained: "It's vital that established local businesses such as ours give something back to the local community especially during this festive period.

"We have adopted the hospice as our nominated charity for the next 12 months and will be running a range of promotions throughout the year. We hope we can raise a significant amount over the next year and the link up was launched at our Christmas Gala Day.

“I would like to apologise to customers and members of the public who dropped in on the day for the frankly awful array of Christmas jumpers on show from our sales team! It was all in a good cause!” added Danny.

The Harratts Group operates dealerships across West Yorkshire from its base in HQ in Wakefield. For more details visit and


British Asian Rugby Association celebrates ten year anniversary

The British Asian Rugby Association (BARA) recently celebrated its tenth anniversary with a reception at the House of Commons.

Established in 2004 by dual code international Ikram Butt (England Rugby League and Pakistan Rugby Union), BARA has been a force for good in terms of promoting community cohesion across the UK through both codes of the oval ball game.

The House of Commons event, made possible through the sponsorship of Greg Mulholland MP, featured a host of keynote speakers including former professional footballer and Football Association anti-racism champion Paul Elliott CBE and Mark Pawsey MP, Chair of the Commons and Lords Rugby Club.

In addition Seema Malhotra MP, Shadow Minister for Preventing Violence against women and girls, was present to talk about the White Ribbon Campaign that was recently adopted as a cause by BARA. National Sport England board member Hanif Malik of the Leeds-based Hamara centre and Qari Asim MBE, Imam at Leeds Makkah Mosque also delivered speeches.

Paul Elliott said: “It’s important that young people have the opportunity to thrive by getting involved in sport. BARA is an organisation that makes sport fun and free of prejudice and that can only contribute towards bringing everyone together.”

Qari Asim MBE added: “BARA is an association that works in communities and with communities and has played an instrumental role in bringing people together particularly after events such as the 7/7 bombing in London.”

Ikram Butt commented: “We’ve come a very long way in the past decade with many effective initiatives and projects delivered within communities across the nation that seek to build bridges and cement community relations through sport.

“Both codes of rugby represent excellent vehicles for promoting social progress and I would like to put on record my hearth felt thanks to each and every individual and organisation that has supported our efforts since 2004 especially Greg Mulholland MP whose support made this event possible.

“Now, more than ever, we need to promote positive messages about anti-racism, discrimination and domestic violence and BARA will continue to keep banging the drum for progressive initiatives such as these.

“I look forward to BARA celebrating 20 years of success in 2024!” added Ikram who was the first player of Asian heritage to represent England at either code of rugby and starred for Leeds, Featherstone Rovers and London Broncos. He went on to play for Pakistan’s rugby union team and is widely recognised as one of the most influential British Asian role models after picking up a number of awards for his work with BARA.

The House of Commons event was supported by Stradbrokes Solicitors, My Lahore restaurant, Malik Halis student accommodation, the Hamara Centre in Leeds, the British Asian Trust and AIS accountants.

For more details visit 


Swim and gym success for Norfolk Special Olympics athletes

Swimmers and gymnasts from Special Olympics Norfolk have returned from recent competitions weighed down with a veritable glut of gold, silver and bronze medals.

Four gymnasts took part in a recent Special Olympics Suffolk Waveney Open Gymnastics Competition at Waveney Gymnastics Club in Lowestoft. Both Norwich-based Shane Baxter and Mary Jane Kitching from Newton Flotman won gold in each of their events, notching six and four gold medals respectively.

Evie Rodwell of Diss, facing stiff competition, claimed two golds and two silvers, while Alex Eley from Harleston took home a silver and three bronze medals. The Special Olympics gymnasts train with the Long Stratton Gymnastics Club under the skilled coaching of Alf Dyer, Tina Wenden and Natasha Pretty.

In the pool, a team of six swimmers performed heroically at the recent Thetford Lions Disabled Swimming Gala. The team, coached by Raphael Sanelli, comprised Natasha Burrows (Attleborough), Christopher Spinks (Hethersett), Lydia Browne (Attleborough), Keziah Baxter (Norwich), Shane Baxter (Norwich) and Katherine Russell (Hethersett). 

It was the first competition for the newly formed Special Olympics Norfolk team, with every single swimmer notching at least one medal in a haul of three golds, three silvers and three bronzes.

Special Olympics volunteer Nicola Baxter, mother of Kizzy and Shane who competed in both events, commented: "We are all very proud of both the gymnasts and the swimmers who have been training hard for these events. Special Olympics gives training and competition opportunities to people with intellectual disabilities no matter what level of skill they start with. The athletes gain so much in self confidence, fitness and friendship but winning medals is always a highlight."

Special Olympics Norfolk runs a range of sports for people with intellectual disability across the county, including skiing, swimming, gymnastics, athletics, tennis, cricket and boccia. 

For more information about competing or volunteering contact Linda Shiner on 07415894700 or visit Special Olympics Norfolk's Facebook page.


Suffolk chemistry firm hits 150 published papers landmark

Flow chemistry systems designed and manufactured by Suffolk (UK) based Vapourtec have recently reached the impressive milestone of having been cited in 150 peer review publications.

By way of a comparison Vapourtec's two closest competitors in flow chemistry technology have been mentioned in 51 and 40 publications respectively.

Recent published breakthroughs using Vapourtec’s pioneering E-Series system include the Continuous Synthesis of Organozinc Halides Coupled to Negishi Reactions¹ (Advanced Synthesis and Catalysis), Continuous flow-processing of organometallic reagents using an advanced peristaltic pumping system and the telescoped flow synthesis of (E/Z)-tamoxifen² (Organic Process Research and Development) and Continuous Flow Magnesiation of Functionalized Heterocycles and Acrylates with the Knochel-Hauser base (TMPMgClLiCl)³ (Angewandte Chemie International Edition).

Vapourtec founder and MD Duncan Guthrie commented: “The real world applications of continuous flow chemistry continue to grow with an ever increasing number of research breakthroughs and it is humbling to know that our technologies are playing their part in this progress.

“It’s a very exciting time to be involved in flow chemistry with positive implications for the pharma, industrial and education sectors and we are very pleased to see our systems operating at the cutting edge of research in laboratories across the world,” added Duncan.

Vapourtec design and manufacture flow chemistry systems for a wide variety of sectors across the globe including education, pharmaceutical and industry with their technologies used by all of the major pharmaceutical brands.

Established in 2003, Vapourtec has developed a flourishing international market for its technology with sales across much of the world including USA, China, Japan, Singapore and India.

To view Vapourtec’s current list of publications visit

¹Research carried out by the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Florida State University (USA) in conjunction with Janssen Research and Development (Toledo, Spain) and the Facultad de Química (Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, Spain) describes the continuous formation of organozinc halides using the rarely used, yet powerful, Negishi cross coupling bond forming reaction.

²The Group of Prof Steven V. Ley, Department of Chemistry (University of Cambridge, UK) has outlined a possible breakthrough for the manufacture of breast cancer drug Tamoxifen using an advanced peristaltic pumping system that enables the processing of organometallic reagents.The paper also describes a range of organometallic reactions that can run continuously using the advanced Vapourtec V-3 pumps.

³Researchers from the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitat Munchen have shown a procedure for functionalizing a range of heterocycles and various sensitive acrylates using the strong, non-nucleotide Knochel-Hauser base TMPMgCl.LiCl and the subsequent quenching with various electrophiles. The ability of the V-3 pump to continuously process reagents of this type allows for the multi-gram scale-up of these reactions previously limited to small scale. The magnesiation of pyridines, pyrimidines, thiophenes, thiazoles and functionalized acrylates are described in excellent yields.


Leeds businessman on Supa Santa quest

David Moon is a man on a mission!

The Leeds businessman wants free and fair access to Santa Claus for all children and, to that end, he’s installed a festive grotto, complete with the real Father Christmas, at his sofa showroom on Clarence Road in Leeds.

David, who founded Supa Sofa in 2012, explained: “I was hearing from friends and family about how they had been charged to see Santa at various locations around Leeds. I’ve always believed that all children should have free access to him.

“That’s why I’ve put together a grotto within our showroom with Santa on hand to give out free pressies to every child who visits. It’s not a gimmick or a sales promotion but an open invitation to anyone and everyone to bring their children down to experience the magic of meeting Santa Claus before Christmas.

“We still live in austere times with many parents struggling to make ends meet. Taking your children to see Santa should never cost anything and I’d like to encourage other retailers and businesses across West Yorkshire to capture the Christmas spirit!

“Maybe one day all Santas will be free!” concluded David who is busy preparing for Christmas as well as masterminding the expansion of Supa Sofa with two new showrooms set to open in Wakefield and Pontefract in 2015 creating around ten new jobs.

For more details visit


Thetford Singers provide festive cheer

Thetford Singers will be providing some rhythmic festive cheer at Thetford’s Guildhall on Wednesday 17th December with their traditional, annual Christmas concert.

The 40 strong community choir will be performing a number of English carols from days gone by including a number of songs requiring audience participation.

The group, which draws in singing enthusiasts from across East Anglia, will be joined by the ‘Minstrels Gallery’, a Norwich-based duo who specialise in playing a wide range of Elizabethan musical instruments.

Liz Hosegood of Thetford Singers explained: “We will be providing some real Christmas cheer with a range of classic seasonal songs that everyone will recognise.”

Tickets for the performance cost £6 (£5 concessions) and includes seasonal refreshments. They are available in advance from the Leaping Hare, King Street, Thetford (01842 751975).

For more details visit


A Day of Love at Eurovision

A team of talented pan-European singers and musicians, the Earth Singers, have got together to record "A Day for Love" for the Eurovision Song Contest 2015.

Arguably one of the most profound and enlightened songs to ever grace the competition, it carries a strong message of hope for humanity in an increasingly uncertain and violent world.

The song has been entered into the Swiss national contest through the Swiss broadcaster SRF (Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen), and is open to a public internet vote from anywhere in the world. The Earth Singers are encouraging everybody to get behind their bid at:

(Deadline for voting is November 17th).

The track has been composed by accomplished Irish musician Colin Turner and features vocalists Fiachra Shanks (Ireland), Anna Folkesson (Sweden), Nancy Owens (US), Pina Kollars (Austria) and Viktor Krstevski (Macedonia).

“It's been an amazing project to be part of,” Colin commented “and I'm enjoying every minute of working with such amazingly talented people and we're especially excited about the message of this song. We are presenting a much-needed vision of hope for the future of humanity in an increasingly uncertain world through the simple power of song.

“It doesn't take a genius to see that our species is on a collision course with itself and with nature and there's not a whole lot of hope out there in the mainstream to make people feel positive about their future or their childrens’ future.

“A Day Of Love foretells of a future day when we are all truly free of the chains and limits that we have imposed on ourselves. The restrictions of economics and borders greatly inhibit our potential as a species to achieve the kind of loving, sharing and technologically advanced world that we could all create just by thinking a bit differently.

“Our song is essentially an ode to love and the overwhelming power of love to overcome fear. We are all in this together, so let's work together to make all our lives - and this world – amazing,” added Colin.

A professional musician and songwriter for over 20 years, Colin, who writes and records under the name Remuziq, is well known among the songwriting fraternity in Dublin for his Songworks recording studio, where he co-composed and produced some 1000 tracks for songwriters from all over the world during the 90s.

The Earth Singers also feature Pina Kollars from Austria, already an established artist in her own right and signed to Peter Gabriel's Real World Records.


Laughs guaranteed in King's Lynn

One of the rising stars from the recent Edinburgh comedy festival will be headlining a night of stand up at Reffley Community Hall in Kings Lynn on Friday 14th November.

Abi Roberts and her big hair exploded onto the stand-up comedy scene in 2011, after a number of years as a musical and cabaret performer. She is a regular comedian at the UK's biggest comedy clubs and has supported the likes of Sarah Millican, Jack Whitehall and Michael McIntyre.

MC for the night is the accomplished Kirsty Hudson who runs her own regular comedy night in Bury St Edmunds. Up and coming musical comedian Gwuilam Argos is the support act with an additional four budding local acts delivering a 5 minute set each as part of a competition to win a £50 prize.

Members of the audience will get the chance to vote for their favourite from the four open mic acts.

Tickets for the night are priced at £6. To book call 07882707142



UK enters is one of a growing number of “green” retail websites focused on satisfying an ever increasing demand from UK households for cost effective, energy efficient products and solutions.

With a clear ethos that supports a well established zeitgeist for ‘greening’ up our homes, one of the founders of, James Alcock, explained their thinking: “We want to help people save energy. That is our number one aim.

“As the company continues to grow, hopefully it will pay a large part in helping to reduce energy demand in the UK. Through our two core business streams, the energy saving shop and our consultancy, we speak to thousands of customers each month providing impartial advice that works for them.

“It also helps that we have an excellent team around us including our business partners who all share this common aim. It is great to know that by simply doing what we do, we also lower our clients’ carbon footprints.

“The only cost effective way to keep the lights on here in the UK will be massive energy saving schemes and we want to help lead those in the years to come!

“I personally think this is incredibly important and more action needs to be taken by governments concerning this,” added James who founded the site with business partner Nick Miles.

“Nick and I worked at IBM and were both working on energy clients at the time. It became apparent that energy efficiency and energy saving was going to be absolutely key to the UK moving forward as energy capacity drops. 

James went on “We decided there was far more to life than sitting down plugging away at spreadsheets! We made the jump a couple of years ago to do TheGreenAge full time and we haven’t looked back since!” added James. 

With major competitors such as, it’s imperative that James and Nick continually seek to incorporate the latest ‘green’ products and advice however they view the competition with a great deal of respect.

“Nigelsecostore does a great job. The energy saving sector in the UK is far bigger than any one company could tackle on their own so we are all working towards a common aim that will improve the quality of life for everybody. It’s about the bigger picture,” explained James.

As regards a typical customer profile, James is clear that times are changing: “It’s no longer the archetypal eco warrior kind of character who wants to improve the environmental efficiency of their home.

“We get all sorts of customers from all sorts of backgrounds such as those who are looking for a quick and simple thing to help with a certain problem area, such as chimney balloons, or folks looking to retrofit their home with a complete intelligent heating system. We are not picky. We want to help everyone!”

The vast range of products sold by covers a myriad applications, all aimed at making home life more environmentally friendly.

“We sell a lot of Ecoease, our magnetic secondary glazing solution especially during the winter months. Our Infrared heating panels also always sell well especially during colder spells and the sheep wool insulation also proves really popular. It’s a premium product but lovely to work with compared to that mineral wool!

“Ecoease secondary glazing is a made to measure product that works really in combating condensation, lowering noise and helping heat retention. At a fraction of the cost of double glazing and even permanent secondary glazing this is an absolute winner.

“When people call us we always tell them to order one to test. Ninety nine per cent of the time they return a couple of weeks later to order the rest. Our one tip when ordering is to measure to the very extremes of the internal window frame so the panel covers the entire frame. You can barely notice it!

“The Infrared heating is relatively new to the UK, although has been popular in Germany and Austria for decades. Unlike a radiator or storage heater that heat the air via convection heating, these panels get warm in about a minute and then start emitting infrared. This infrared travels unimpeded through the air until it hits solid objects which absorb and warm up. It is a really effective form of space heating and we are seeing more and more people replace their old storage heaters in their home with these infrared heaters. 

“As for our sheep wool insulation, imported from Ireland, it is a little known fact that only white sheep wool is normally used in clothing. It gets bleached and then dyed to the appropriate colour. This means that darker wool is rarely used so we now use it to insulate peoples’ homes!

“The wool is first treated to stop rodents and insects making it their homes and then it is good to go. It is an absolute doddle to work with too. Gone are the days of itchy insulation!” added James.

As for the future, James is positive and upbeat: “I think the UK is becoming greener. I know there is opposition but we are seeing more and more renewables being installed. Over half a million homes have solar PV installed on the roof and it was announced recently that wind power provided more electricity to the UK over a 24 hour period than our nuclear power plants. That is some feat when you think about it! 

“People are becoming far more aware of the cost of energy so they are taking the necessary steps to limit the impact on themselves, be that through insulation, new heating systems or low energy lighting. 

“The majority of things we talk about and sell through our site are very easy to implement and will make genuine energy savings. Being from a financial background, we feel the energy saving part is very important to people, but obviously in doing this we are also lowering carbon footprints along the way which is a really nice by product for any business!” concluded James.

Maybe, just maybe, UK households really are entering The Green Age!

More Articles...
Get Promotion Footer Twitter Click to email
Follow us on Twitter