Woking Business

The Woking-based, multi-million pound, international IT distributor Nuvias, has appointed Simon England as its new CEO. He has been tasked with taking Nuvias into the next phase of its development, leveraging the service-led and solution-rich platform and completing the vision to become Europe’s leading High-Value distributor, accelerating growth and impact for partners.

Simon England

Simon takes full operational control as chief executive from 1 April. His experience in developing and leading businesses in the value added distribution space for almost 30 years includes his most recent role as senior vice president at Next Generation Technologies.

The Nuvias Group, which has a turnover in excess of $500million, has brought together award-winning channel businesses across Cybersecurity, Advanced Networking and Unified Communications. The initial phase, integrating these acquisitions as a group, has been led by Paul Eccleston, who will take the position of Executive Chairman of Nuvias Group, retaining responsibility for vendor and corporate Strategy.

He said: “This is a very exciting step in the development of Nuvias and will enable us to move forward under Simon’s leadership to fully realise the enormous opportunity for Nuvias over the months and years to come.” 

Simon said: “Nuvias is exceptionally well positioned in a market which continues to grow strongly and is transforming how IT Services are securely delivered and consumed. Nuvias has a unique set of assets, from its expertise and reputation to its partner network and portfolio of market-leading vendors and services. I am excited about the opportunity to build on these foundations”.

THE Woking-based digital intranet software company Invotra hosted a visit by Anne Milton, the   Apprenticeships and Skills Minister.

The visit marked Apprenticeship Week and also International Women’s Day. Mrs Milton was formerly Minister for Women and met several female apprentices at the Chertsey Road offices.

MPs Anne Milton and Jonathan Lord with Alison Galvin, far right, and other staff and apprentices at Invotra

Andrew Doyle, a former Apprentice of the Year, and Leonie Watson led a session demonstrating Invotra’s enABLE laboratory, which helps to improve the accessibility of computer equipment and software.

Mrs Milton used several sets of special glasses, which simulate different forms of visual impairments, so she could experience what this was like and how different products and designs could be used to improve accessibility.

The visit was organised by Alison Galvin, the Invotra HR director, who met Mrs Milton, who is also MP for Guildford, at an International Women’s Day event last year.

During the visit on Friday the minister saw a session led by Chelsea Cadd, who has completed a level 4 cyber security apprenticeship, that included a live cross-site scripting attack involving apprentices Shona McClarence in the Newcastle office, and Georgia Ashby.

The day included visits by Keith Smith, the director of apprenticeships at the Education and Skills Funding Agency, and Jonathan Lord, the Woking MP.

Alison said the visit went very well.

“It was wonderful – beyond what we thought it would be,” she said. “It has put Woking on the map.”

Alison said that Invotra software was used in more than half of all government offices and having apprentices had helped the business to succeed.

“Many of them are now heading up their areas of business and several are now part of our management.

“We have put a lot of investment into apprentices; its very multifaceted.”

WOKING-BASED Harvey Water Softeners has been presented with the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation by the Duke of Kent, who visited the Hipley Street factory and offices.

The Duke was given a demonstration of the company’s products and then taken on a tour of the factory and production line where thousands of domestic water softeners are made each year.

He presented the trophy to company founder Harvey Bowden and Martin Hurworth, the managing director.


Harvey Bowden, the Duke of Kent, and Martin Hurworth

Harvey was chosen as a winner of The Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation for 2018 for its invention of the first compact, non-electric block salt water softener.

Guests included Michael More-Molyneux, the Lord Lieutenant of Surrey, Jonathan Lord, the MP for Woking, Jeannie Satchell from the Local Enterprise Partnership Enterprise M3 and John Pearce, CEO of the manufacturing organisation Made in Britain, of which Harvey is a member. Also, in attendance were Beryl Hunwick, the deputy Mayor of Woking, and Louise Morales, the borough councillor for the area around the Harvey.

Mr Hurworth said: “We’re really pleased to have won this award and it’s great that our team has been able to take Harvey Bowden’s original idea and grow this business into the success it is today – so well in fact that we now need to move to larger premises to keep that growth going.”

Mr Lord said: “What a great Woking business success story we have here. What began as one man with a dream is now the largest water softening company in Europe with 300 staff in Woking alone.

“It only goes to show what can be achieved when you develop the best product and have the drive and ambition to go out and sell it to the rest of the world.

“Harvey Water Softeners is an amazing example for local businesses.”

The compact twin-cylinder water softener was invented by Mr Bowden and was the first to fit under a kitchen sink with two cylinders that allowed for continuous softening. It solves the problem of limescale build-up for hard water areas.

Harvey sells thousands of water softeners every year to households across the UK and around the world. The company hopes to move from its Old Woking site to Fairoaks Garden Village, where it would create a further 150 new jobs in 2023.

The company, which turns over more than £30 million a year, posted record sales last year, with a quarter of that coming from exports, after recent multi-million-pound investments helped to increase factory output by 28%.

John Pearce, CEO of Made in Britain, said: “Everywhere you look at Harvey you see exemplary business practice. It’s a truly unique business that, after 40 years, isn’t defined by just surviving but rather by turning its long legacy into a strong strategic future. That’s often what we see in manufacturers across our other 50 product sectors.

“At Made in Britain, we champion this manufacturers mindset that Harvey demonstrates; that ability to cope with changing economic or political uncertainty far better than many other non-manufacturing sectors.”

Churchill Retirement Living voted 2nd Best Company to Work For in the UK and wins special Wellbeing Award

Byfleet housebuilder Churchill Retirement Living has been named in the Top 100 Best Companies to work for in the UK by the Sunday Times, achieving its highest ever position of 2nd place. The Company also won a special ‘Wellbeing Award’ in recognition of its leading approach to looking after Colleagues’ health and wellbeing – from regular social events to free health checks, a day off on your birthday, and a confidential Colleague support line.

“To be named the second best company in the country to work for is a fantastic accolade and something every single member of the team can be proud of,” said Spencer McCarthy,  chairman and chief executive officer of Churchill Retirement Living.

RUNNERS-UP – Some of the Byfleet team celebrating their success

I’ve always believed in the importance of looking after my team and treating them well, so it was great to have that recognised with a special award for wellbeing. The culture of any company is its lifeblood, and I believe that happy and motivated Colleagues are the key to Churchill’s continued success.”

Jonathan Austin, Founder and CEO of Best Companies, added: “I would like to congratulate Spencer, Clinton and the Churchill team on their achievement. Best Companies have been producing the Accreditation standard since 2006 to acknowledge excellence in the workplace. Organisations like Churchill have continued to focus on their Colleagues and have been rewarded with an engaged workforce who tell us that this is a best company to work for.”

The Sunday Times Best Companies survey has been produced and published annually since 2001

A RADIO Woking presenter has developed an app that helps learner drivers through the practical side of getting a licence.

Keith Woodhouse, who helped to set up the online station that is based at The Winston Churchill School in St John’s, said the app is firmly targeted at young drivers, aged 17-25, with the aim of helping them to get the most out of every driving lesson.

HELPING HAND – Keith Woodhouse has developed and app to help learner drivers pass their test

“Often, the start of a driving lesson recaps the last. With the Driving Lessons UK Lite App, it enables young drivers to do more of this in their own time, ensuring that lesson time can be maximized,” Keith said.

The app draws together content of the practical driving lesson with the theoretical concepts behind the principles of driving safely, so young drivers can continue learning even when they’re not behind the wheel.

Keith said the app, which can be downloaded to smart phones, is a learning aid that is intended to complement driving lessons and keep what they’ve already learned fresh in their minds.

It was written by the owner of a driving school with more than 15 years’ experience and comes with an accompanying website.

“The content has been split in to clear and easy-to-understand sections

that take young drivers through what they did on their last lesson and

what they can expect on the next.

“The website and app will not teach you to drive on its own, but it will

support the lessons that young drivers take in the run up to their test,” Keith said.

The Lite App can be used free of charge and gives users an idea of how to get the most out of the full app, which costs £5 to download.

Keith, who is a professional app and website designer, helped to set up Radio Woking, which developed from the Winston Churchill School station Yay Radio.

He and Justin Coll, the IT manager at the school, built the community station when the studio was built about five years ago.

Keith presents The Wot Show every Thursday at 6pm featuring local unsigned bands.

The work of a Woking-based charity that provides small businesses with loans has been recognised with a European microcredit award for its good practices.

The Fredericks Foundation, which received a European Code of Good Conduct for Microcredit Provision earlier this month, provides small business loans to people excluded from mainstream credit.

The microfinance charity, founded in 2001 by Paul Barry-Walsh, a successful IT entrepreneur, says its loans aim is to give individuals the opportunity to transform their lives with dignity – rather than through hand outs.

The European Code of Good Conduct for Microcredit Provision (ECoGC) provides a set of standards in terms of management, governance, risk management, reporting, and consumer and investor relations that are common. These standards are for the benefit of customers, investors, funders, owners, regulators and partner organisations.

It made the award following an extensive audit and review process where every aspect of the Foundation was tested, Fredericks scored highly and received the award on 4 February 2019.

Duncan Parker, CEO of Fredericks, said ‘We are thrilled to have received this affirmation from the European Microfinance organisation. We strive to provide a great service for our beneficiaries and donors and this will give them much confidence in us as the relationship is one built on trust and integrity. I’m delighted for my team at Fredericks as it’s a huge ‘well done’ recognising both their professionalism and especially their passion, commitment and hard work.’

Fredericks Foundation, a member of Woking Chamber of Commerce, has helped create over 1,600 companies and has granted loans of over £5 million. For more information visit www.fredericksfoundation.org

Chobham Business Club Members were delighted to host the Mayor of Woking Cllr Will Forster, 45th Mayor of Woking, at a business lunch on Friday 15th February at the Rosso Mazaro Italian Restaurant in Chobham attended by 22 members.

HELPING THE HOMELESS – Chobham Business Club Members Craig Bourne, Tricia Matthews, Vivian Woodruff and Richard Whittington present a cheque to Mayor of Woking Cllr Will Forster with owner Diego and Ciro from Rosso Mazara. Picture by Marilyn Taylor

The food was excellent and everyone enjoyed their lunch consisting of a variety of different food. The Mayor of Woking gave a speech regarding his chosen charity for his Mayoral year which is to support Woking’s local homeless charity, the York Road Project, which provides emergency lodging and longer term accommodation and ongoing support to help those experiencing homelessness get back on their feet.

Will explains: “My grandmother used to support this excellent charity and as a result I have grown up in Woking and supporting it too. I was surprised to hear that it has never been the Mayor’s charity before and so I am hoping that I can help raise funds for this very deserving cause, as well as raise awareness on how the people of Woking can best help people who have fallen on hard times.”

Craig Bourne Chairman and Tricia Matthews President of Chobham Business Club were delighted to hand over a cheque to the Mayor in the sum of £250.00, some of this money was raised in a raffle on the day.

V4 WOOD Flooring is gearing up for a period of sustained expansion as its £3 million design centre in Woking nears completion.

The business plans to open a showroom in Clerkenwell, which is renowned for being the home of trendy design centres, followed by a centre in the North of England, with Manchester an option under consideration.

“The Woking design centre will be the hub of the operations, but it is important that V4 has a visible presence in key locations including London and the North and this will be our focus going forward, together with introducing designs and products that ensure we remain at the forefront of the flooring sector,” said managing director Chris Vincent.

TARGETS – V4 Wood Flooring managing director Chris Vincent

The new centres will support the dealer network with a wider range of large samples for customers to view and product training facilities, including the fitting of the various floor and wall products.

“Despite the Brexit effect, we have had a very positive start to the year and have the confidence to progress with exciting plans for the future of the business,” he added.

Investment is being made to upgrade the ordering process for its network of retailers, offering 24-hour online ordering with instant access to stock levels and new products are planned for launch during 2019.

Based in Woking, the family-run business has four warehouses that amount to 35,000 sq. ft and employs 40 members of staff.

The innovative new design centre will allow the company to showcase its luxury flooring products and wall panels to customers, architects, specifiers and designers in settings that demonstrate how the products can give homes the wow-factor.

Recently, V4 Wood Flooring managing director Chris Vincent was named as one of the country’s top business leaders in a prominent report.  LDC named Chris as ‘One to Watch’ in this year’s Top 50 Most Ambitious Business Leaders programme, supported by The Telegraph.

The company, which currently has a turn over circa £12million, is targeting growth to £20million over the next three years.

A LOCAL company has won two categories in the British Pool & Hot Tub Awards, including winning  Outstanding Pool of the Year.

Falcon Pools, based near Woodham, won Bronze in the Residential Indoor Pools £75,000 to under £125,000 category and Gold in the Residential Indoor Pools £125,000 to under £150,000 category.

Ian Storr of Falcon Pools said: “We are delighted to be recognised with such accolades, taking home a Gold and a Bronze award and being award the overall winner of the Outstanding Pool of the Year Award.

“For over 40 years Falcon Pools have become synonymous with building bespoke designed swimming pools to the highest standards with an unsurpassed level of care and attention. These awards will be greatly received by our dedicated team at Falcon Pools, celebrating our companies exceptional work in the wet leisure industry”.

The award ceremony was held during SPATEX, the UK’s largest dedicated pool, spa and wellness show at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry. The awards were presented by Wasps rugby player Charlie Matthews.

Ewbank’s, Surrey’s leading auction house, is preparing for a two-day entertainment sale, with memorabilia and movie props going under the hammer on February 28, and vintage posters on March 1.

RESISTANCE IS FUTILE: A production-used static phaser rifle, from the 1996 film Star Trek First Contact, has been valued at between £2,000 and £4,000

Music fans will be delighted by the opportunity to snap up a Clearaudio Innovation TT-3 turntable, which carries a pre-sale guide price of between £1,000 and £1,500. This is part of a large consignment of high-end audio equipment that includes Wilson Audio Sasha Series II speakers, and Bang & Olufsen Beolab speakers amongst others.

An original prop mask designed and used in Pink Floyd’s 1982 musical film, The Wall, is going under the hammer with an estimate of between £800 and £1,200. It has been consigned for sale by Oxfam, and all proceeds will go to the charity. The mask has been signed by British illustrator Gerald Scarfe CBE, for Oxfam. Scarfe worked with Pink Floyd on their album The Wall, the ensuing film, as well as the video for Welcome To The Machine.  

Another lot bearing famous signatures is a hardback copy, with dustjacket, of Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone. The book is signed to the inside by Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), Emma Watson (Hermione Granger), Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) and Jamie Waylett (Vincent Crabbe). The vendor worked as a transport driver on numerous films, including Harry Potter. The book has been valued at between £400 and £600.

Another movie prop sure to garner buyers’ attention is a production-used static phaser rifle, used in the 1996 film Star Trek: First Contact. It has been valued at between £2,000 and £4,000, and comes with a copy of original invoice from Profiles In History. It was one of three versions, constructed of painted wood with decals and arm strap, and measures 36 inches long.

COME OUT TO PLAY: The brown, synthetic leather waistcoat
worn by Michael Beck’s “Swan” in the 1979 film The Warriors

A brown synthetic leather waistcoat as worn by Michael Beck, star of the 1979 film The Warriors, has a guide price of between £5,000 and £8,000. The garment was worn throughout this landmark film, has black patterned piping with button front closure and handwritten in black ink near the internal label is ‘Swan’. The iconic vest features embroidered ‘Warriors’ title and insignia patches on the back. This is one of very few vests known to have survived production.

A crew gift statue from 2001 film Lara Croft: Tomb Raider is on sale, with an estimate of between £400 and £600. This metal ape-like humanoid statue was given to heads of department who worked on the film, it has been consigned by the family of Peter Wallace, who worked in the art department.

It stands on wooden engraved base, and is 16 inches high. Also included are two copies of unit lists showing Peter Wallace as ‘H.O.D. Rigger’, two premiere tickets for Leicester Square and a construction pass.

Among the many vintage posters on sale on March 1, is a poster advertising the 1966 film Carry On Screaming, starring Kenneth Williams and Harry Corbett, valued at between £300 and £500. The poster features artwork by noted poster artist Tom Chantrell.

Also on offer is a US half-sheet poster from 1969 film Bullitt, starring Steve McQueen, carries a pre-sale guide of between £200 and £400.

If you would like an auction assessment please contact the team at Ewbank’s. Ewbank’s is open Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm at the Burnt Common saleroom in Send just off the A3.

–          Ewbank’s: 01483 223101 or email valuations@ewbankauctions.co.uk.

–          Live internet bidding is available through  www.ewbankauctions.co.uk and www.theauctionroom.com