Swindon & Wiltshire Business News

Arkell’s launches Remembrance Beer to celebrate WWI centenary

Old Contemptible - the new beer from ArkellsSwindon brewery Arkell’s is brewing a brand new commemorative beer for the Royal British Legion as part of the commemorations to mark the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War.

The beer will be called Old Contemptible, and will use an old recipe using British ingredients. The brewery is donating £10 per cask sold to the Poppy Appeal.

The beer is being officially launched next Wednesday, October 22 at Arkells Brewery, Kingsdown with members of The Royal British Legion.

Brewery chairman, James Arkell, said: “To mark this important centenary we have brewed a Mild ale, a style of beer that would have been drunk by my grandfather and the soldiers in 1914, and is one of England’s most traditional beers.”

Head brewer Alex Arkell, said: “I have used only English ingredients with a black colour and warm roasted and sweet tones coming from the chocolate malt with a light hop aroma to compliment it.

“At 4.0% this is considered strong for a mild, however having looked through our records and done some research we noticed that before WWI our mild was stronger. Then the government wanted people to drink less because of their work in the munitions factories so they forced breweries to reduce the alcohol. Hence mild became known as a weaker pint. But we thought we would brew the original version.”

The name, Old Contemptibles, was self-adopted by British troops belonging to the regular army in 1914.

It was supposedly derived from a comment made by the German Kaiser, Wilhelm II. The Kaiser, upon hearing that German forces were being held up in France while en route to the French capital, is said to have exclaimed his exasperation of "Sir John French's contemptible little army.”

Whatever the actual origin the British regulars were delighted to be referred to as 'The Old Contemptibles' and named their post-war veterans' association accordingly.

Alex added: “Both my great grandfather Noel Arkell and great Uncle Graham Arkell fought in WWI and survived, although Noel did return wounded having been shot in the shoulder.”

Excalibur appoints new chief commercial officer

Andy Tow of ExcaliburSwindon-based Excalibur Communications, the IT and communications support specialist, has appointed Andy Tow as its new chief commercial officer.

At a time when Excalibur is set to announce its most successful year ever of trading, with an increase in turnover expected to be almost £2 million, the move has been described by Excalibur’s CEO James Phipps as ‘significant recognition of the company’s values and growth potential’.

Joining Excalibur from his position as managing director of Chess Partner Services in London, Andy’s near 30-years of industry experience also includes his role as former head of indirect sales at Vodafone, with whom Excalibur is a platinum partner.

“For me”, said Andy, “Excalibur really stands out as a company with exceptionally high values who go about their business the right way. I had no hesitation in joining.

“This year’s record turnover is built on solid, sustained growth, but there’s much more to come. I look forward to being part of the company’s ongoing success story, so please, watch this space”.

Exacalibur’s CEO James Phipps, said: “Andy is a highly regarded business leader who would never be short of top quality job offers.

“We are very pleased to have secured his services and are confident that his enthusiasm for our company ethos, especially in delivering exceptional customer service, will play a pivotal role in our continuing development”.

Get your free ticket to see the world’s leading business coach in action

Brad SugarsThe world’s number one sales coach is coming to the West to share his secrets with business owners.

And readers of Business Biscuit can get free entry to the event, on Thursday, October 23, at the UWE Exhibition and Conference Centre in Bristol.

Brad Sugars is the founder of ActionCOACH, which now has more than 1,000 offices in 40 countries, including a Wiltshire office run from Marlborough by Nigel Scott – who is offering the free passes.

Nigel said: “The event offers entrepreneurs and business owners the opportunity to hear directly from Brad on his innovative, ground breaking idea of Buying Customers, first popularised in his 2012 book of the same name.

“It is a breakthrough in customer acquisition, lead generation and customer service with proven strategies that consistently drive repeat business.

“His highly profitable methods of gaining new customers into any business have revolutionised the way marketing, customer service and business in general is done.”

The event will focus on how to:

  • Build a marketing strategy that generates more customers and how to make every pound you spend on marketing a true investment
  • Grow your customer base and generate leads including an effective referrals system.
  • Focus 80 per cent of your resources on the top 20 per cent of your customers
  • Turn your best customers into fans who build your business for you
  • Test, measure and understand your numbers

To claim your free pass log on to www.buyingcustomers.com and use the booking code SWNSC15.

Nigel has been part of the ActionCOACH team since 2005 and has helped hundreds of local businesses to grow and prosper through one-to-one coaching, group coaching and training and free seminars.

His most recent success story is farm shop entrepreneur Tom Bowles, who was last week named Farmer’s Weekly Local Food Farmer of the Year.

For more information log on to www.actioncoach.com/nigelscott


Industrial LED manufacturer relocates HQ to Swindon

Industrial supplier PRP Optoelectronics Ltd is to move from Northamptonshire to a 950m2 state of the art facility in Swindon.

The new site will contain a bespoke manufacturing space as well as engineering and administrative facilities for its high quality LED-based systems for military and commercial avionics, and industrial and medical sectors.

CEO, Robert Green, said: “After 25 years in Towcester the proposed demolition of the site by the owners forced us to reconsider the best location for PRP to enable the company to continue to support the growing demand for its products.

“Swindon not only has excellent transport links, it also represents strong local hub of technology companies with a good source of local talent and supply chain links. For our international customers Heathrow airport is just down the road.

We’ve also been impressed with the level of support and enthusiasm demonstrated by both Swindon Council and Forward Swindon.

“This is an extremely encouraging start. This new manufacturing space, combined with our cutting-edge facilities at Rutherford Appleton Laboratories will ensure PRP Optoelectronics remains at the forefront of high performance LED device design, development and manufacture.”

PRP will be holding a special launch event with employees, customers and guests in October when the new facility will be formally opened by MP Robert Buckland.

Teenager joins the team at award-winning business

Jack UptonTeenager Jack Upton has joined the team at John Williams Heating Services Ltd as the company’s latest apprentice.

Jack has just completed his NVQ level 2 in plumbing and heating at the City of Bath College and is now embarking on a year working on the job with the team at John Williams Heating Services, based in Chippenham.

In his final year, he’ll return to the college two days each week to achieve his NVQ level 3.

Jack said: “I’ve really enjoyed my first days working alongside the team here. They’ve made me feel very welcome and it’s just good to be hands-on doing the job I’ve been training to do.”

John Williams Heating Services won the award for Best Small Business and Business of the Year 2014 in the Enterprising Wiltshire awards earlier this year. The company has a bespoke office suite on the Bumpers Farm Industrial Estate in Chippenham.

Founders John and Debbie Williams employ 14 staff who pride themselves on offering excellent and reliable customer service. Of its team of engineers, three are apprentices who are learning their trade alongside experienced mentors.

Jack, who’s 17 and lives in Chippenham, is a former pupil of Sheldon School and he took up his new role earlier this month.

Forum will help businesses get in position

Roger PlahayThe autumn forum in a series being staged in Swindon by HSBC will look at how businesses can position themselves effectively.

The breakfast on Wednesday, October 29 will once again be hosted on behalf of HSBC by Banks BHG accountants, at their offices in Stratton. HSBC is staging the forums away from the town branches as a way of reaching out into the business community.

During two similar events held earlier this year, some 80 businesses came along to network and listen to expert speakers.

The forum’s guest speaker will be Roger Plahay of Sandler Training who will explore with the audience and challenge how businesses can present themselves and the products or services they offer in a way that resonates more strongly with clients and potential customers.

Roger, a charted accountant by profession who spent 20 years in the corporate world before setting up Sandler Training, has trained and coached business professionals across Wiltshire, Bath and Bristol, helping them break the conventional selling rules and win more business.

Running the forum will be Ryan Starr, HSBC Business Specialist Team Leader, along with his colleague Caroline Norrey, HSBC Business Specialist.

Caroline said: “We’re hoping this forum will be as successful as the two we held previously. They give businesses a chance to get together and network over breakfast, and also get some expert advice on a range of topics. We’re looking forward to Roger’s talk, and are grateful to Banks BHG for providing such a great venue.”

Richard Mathews, director at Banks BHG, said: “We’re delighted to once again host HSBC’s forum. It brings added value to our own clients, and makes great use of our facilities here. We’d be happy to hear from other organisations looking for somewhere to host business-orientated events.”

The forum runs from 7.30am to 9am and is free, but pre-booking is required. For more information, or to book a place, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Science Park wins £2 million of council funding

The new Science Park at Porton DownA new science park at Porton Down, near Salisbury, has been awarded £2 million of local authority funding this week, on top of the £4 million already pledged from the government’s Growth Fund.

The funding will deliver the first phase of the project which includes a 45,000 sq feet building to provide accommodation for the existing Tetricus Science Park business incubation facility plus further grow-on space for new businesses, lab space and infrastructure to support this phase and subsequent phases leading to the development of the full 355,000 sq ft park.

Providing facilities for science and research-based industries, Wiltshire Council is hoping for £70 million in private funding.

The scheme, which is supported by Defence Science and Technology Laboratory and Public Health England, could create 2,000 high value jobs over 10 years, as well as providing a focal point and platform for innovation, research and development in the health and life sciences in Wiltshire and the wider Wessex area.

Work is expected to start in Spring 2015, with completion due in 2016.

Wiltshire Council's Fleur de Rhe-Philipe said: "This plan has the potential to not only protect good important jobs in the area but also to make Wiltshire a world leader in life sciences."

More Articles ...