Ed Miliband, MP Opens Sustainable Energy Company’s Showroom

Marcus Payne and Ed Miliband

A pioneering Doncaster company celebrated the opening of a brand new showroom with a visit from the Rt. Hon. Ed Miliband, MP. 

Family- owned business Green Energy Solutions UK Ltd held an official launch to mark the opening of its new state-of-the-art facility at Jupiter Business Park in Bentley.   The event was also attended by Doncaster’s Civic Mayor, Cllr Eva Hughes.

The company, which specialises in the supply of alternative energy products including solar and photovoltaic panels and ground-source heat pumps, has seen its turnover increase three-fold since it began trading just three years ago.  It installs products in both residential and commercial buildings, as well as in affordable housing schemes and other local authority projects across the UK.   The new showroom will accommodate its ambitious expansion plans and allow customers to see how the alternative energy equipment works.

Part of the demonstration process involved the use of a “Sunny Beam” device, which, through Bluetooth technology measures the amount of energy generated by photovoltaic panels installed on the roof of the showroom, and the subsequent monetary savings which can be made by using these.

Managing Director, Marcus Payne who is a shareholder along with wife Sally, and father, David explains: “We are delighted that our constituency MP, Ed Miliband could join us to commemorate this very special occasion. The event marked a new generation of business development for us, and it’s very exciting.  The company has largely grown through word of mouth, but the fact that we can now physically show people how alternative energy equipment works in order to heat their home or office and significantly reduce their energy bills  means that we can really develop the business.”

As the company looks to the future it has already taken on two more staff, and the family anticipates that more people will be needed to fulfil new orders  as they come in from within the region and further afield.

David Payne adds: “With gas bills alone set to increase by 25% in the coming months, more and more people will be looking at other ways to heat their homes and places of work.   Our new showroom will allow those looking at new methods to see for themselves how it all operates and to appreciate just how relatively straightforward, uncomplicated and cost effective it is.”

Rt. Hon, Ed Miliband, MP for Doncaster North , comments:  “I’m pleased to be able to support a new, innovative venture in Doncaster at a time when jobs and work are all-important. It is fantastic to see business growth like this in my constituency.

“It is important to find new ways of delivering energy savings for homes and businesses, and Green Energy Solutions shows how technology available today can unlock that potential.”

Green Energy Solutions’ projects in the region include photovoltaic panel installations at Freshney Green, a 296 property residential scheme in Grimsby for Shoreline Housing Partnership and Stamford Homes, and a large-scale residential scheme in Sculcoates, Hull also for Stamford Homes.  The Salvation Army in Bridlington has also recently benefitted from the company’s expertise and products which have been installed on the town’s drop-in centre and community hub.  In addition, Green Energy Solutions has carried out scores of individual property installations for homeowners across Yorkshire who will benefit from lower energy bills.

To commemorate the official showroom opening, Green Energy Solutions UK is offering a special discount on photovoltaic panels, with £1,000 discount given on all installations booked during June.

For further press information, please contact Lisa Drury at Realm Public Relations on 01757 242583 or 07718 974049 or e-mail : lisa@realmpr.co.uk

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Fancy a nice cup of tea?

Ann with a Flowering Tea Bloom

A former Royal Mail human resources manager has lifted the lid on a new career by turning a hobby into a growing online speciality tea business.  Ann Davis from Doncaster set up The Tea Experience, originally selling traditional China teapots, after being inspired by a gift from her husband, Paul.  The business is expanding and now offers a complete tea drinking experience from imported loose tea to tea ware and gifts.

Recovering from breast cancer a few years ago, Ann was looking for a new direction which would give her the quality of work and lifestyle balance she wanted and with support from Paul, she established The Tea Experience.  What’s surprising about Ann’s new venture is that she has transformed herself from being a non tea drinker to a tea guru, having trained with international tea masters in London.

Importing loose tea from the Far East, Germany and the UK from specialist tea importers and wholesalers, the company ensures consistency of taste and quality for its customers.  The husband and wife team have been lucky enough to travel and work in the Far East, mainly in China, over a number a years.   Each trip provided the opportunity to try a variety of teas which often made them question the quality of what they were drinking at home.

The actual turning point was the gift of a Yixing ‘purple sand’ China teapot. After learning more about them and frequently being asked by friends where they could buy one, the enterprising couple decided to sell the teapots themselves. It was only natural that a small range of teas was added.

The growing business is always looking for innovative new products to bring to the UK market and its latest launch, an artisan tea, is causing a stir.   The Flowering Tea Bloom, a blossoming beverage handmade to order for the company by an award-winning producer in China, offers top quality blooms ensuring customers get the benefit of both great tasting tea and a stunning floral display too.

The blooms are skilfully made with silver needle green tea, a tea variant with leaves that are long and slender rather than the usual Camilla Sinesis leaves.  This tea also has a very fine coating of silver hairs which give the tea blooms a distinctive greyish appearance before it is infused.   The tea leaves are sorted by size and then made into miniature hand sewn bouquets with the dried flowers at the centre.

The artisan skill can take up to 10 minutes to make one bloom.  The tea is light and delicate with a whispered hint of the flowers. The Chinese believe that the flowers may also have health benefits, in the same way we drink flower teas in the UK, so combining this with known benefits of green tea this is a refreshing and healthy drink.

Commenting on her growing tea business, Ann Davis said: “After appreciating the quality of some loose teas versus teabags on our travels, it has become our passion and goal to encourage others to try loose tea.   We want our customers to enjoy a whole tea experience from trying the very best quality loose teas in the most beautiful traditional teapots.  We are still very small, but I can’ believe that my hobby of selling teapots is now growing into a viable website business.  It’s very exciting times for us and we are currently investing in new branding and marketing to help build the business further.”

The Tea Experience on the web……….website………..facebook……….twitter

All press enquiries: Andrea McKenzie, ABC Communications

Tel: 01423 819109/Mob: 07714 988989  andrea.mckenzie@btconnect.com

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National Apprentice Week

Bramall Construction Manager Pete Varley and apprentice Ben Hawkes

Bramall Construction manager went back to the floor today to mark National Apprenticeship Week.

Pete Varley, who started his career as a joiner at the age of 15, spent the day on site in Kettlethorpe, Wakefield, as part of the week-long event, which runs from 7-11th February.

He went back to his original trade skill to carry out refurbishment work on a semi-detached property, owned and managed by Wakefield and District Housing.

Construction Manager Pete worked alongside Bramall’s trainee joiner Ben Hawkes during his ‘back to the floor’ day.

He said: I was keen to take part in our back to the floor scheme and work alongside one of our new apprentices.  I think it’s important to keep in touch with what’s happening on site and I also wanted to compare my own experiences with those of Ben’s.  Things might have changed since 1965 but I’m glad Bramall are still giving people the opportunity to gain a career in construction.

Pete began his career as an apprentice joiner in 1965 at JW Anson and Sons, in Sheffield. He went on to work at Gleesons as a fully qualified joiner and progressed to the role of site manager.

He started working for Bramall in 1982, relocating to work in London and the Home Counties with Bramall Construction Southern.  He had a break from the company for six years whilst to work for himself, retuning to Bramall in 1995 where he has worked as a projects manager, contracts manager and is now a construction manager.

Pete has worked on a number of high profile schemes for Bramall to help bring housing up to the Government’s Decent Homes standard. He has worked with housing associations and Arm’s Length Management Organisations across Yorkshire and the East Midlands and is currently working with Wakefield and District Housing

Bramall part of the Keepmoat Group, currently has 45 apprentices working across its sites in Yorkshire and the East Midlands and is in the process of recruiting more.

It is proud to have bolstered trade skills across Yorkshire and has trained over 200 apprentices over the past five years helping them to secure a raft of qualifications.

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Bensons Hits The Bulls-Eye with Gary Anderson

Gary Anderson

Leading bed retailer, Bensons for Beds, has hit the bulls-eye with its sponsorship of British world-class dart player Gary Anderson.

Gary ‘The Flying Scotsman’ Anderson was runner-up at the 2011 PDC World Championship and the Players Championship Finals which has taken him up to 3rd place in the Professional Darts Corporation ranking list.

Having joined the PDC in 2009, Gary won one Players Championship in his rookie year, and four in 2010, along with an appearance in the finals of the UK Open. Bensons is backing the player with a five-figure, 12 month sponsorship deal.

The Doncaster store staff with Gary

“Darts attracts a family audience on the TV and is growing in popularity every year with the 2011 PDC World Championship getting a viewership of 920,000, which is a rise of 32,000 people on last year”, said Mike Roberts, finance director of Bensons, and himself a PDC player. “Bensons is proud to be sponsoring a successful British player in very a competitive sport that has such a large and loyal fan base”.

Anderson will wear Bensons for Beds shirt patches on TV and non-TV events, exhibitions and personal appearances. The deal follows the success of last year’s sponsorship by Bensons of Colin ‘Jaws’ Lloyd, Colin ‘Ozzy’ Osborne and Andy ‘The Hammer’ Hamilton.

Gary’s next tournament will see him play in the Premier League 2011 at the O2, London. Anderson will be making his debut at this competition, which will be shown on Sky Sports starting on 10 February 2011.

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Come On United! England Captain helps King Ecgbert School on the road to Wembley

Faye White, Arsenal and England Ladies Football Captain

With the npower Football League U13 Girls Cup North Regional Finals just around the corner, team members of King Ecgbert School will be bending it even better than Beckham after a surprise coaching session from England captain Faye White.

Competing against Middlesbrough, Stockport County and Walsall and in the North Regional Final to be held at Huddersfield on 9th February, Faye will try to coach King Ecgbert School to victory with her experienced words of wisdom.

A defensive rock and Arsenal Ladies Football captain, Faye is a role model to all female footballers and knows exactly what it takes to succeed having won twenty-two illustrious trophies and achieved 84 international caps for her country.

Faye White pictured with girls captain Daisy Hope and trophy.

Representing Sheffield United, King Ecgbert School is one of the last eight teams vying for a place in the Grand Final which is due to be played prior to the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy at Wembley Stadium on Sunday 3rd April.

Faye White, Arsenal and England Ladies Football Captain, commented: ‘It’s great to be supporting grassroots football and an absolute privilege to be working alongside these extremely talented young girls. The npower Football League U13 Girls Cup really champions the future of women’s football and the opportunity to play in front of a huge crowd at Wembley Stadium is an absolute dream for any footballer.’

Faye White puts the girls through their paces.

Clare McDougall, head of community & education at npower, said; ‘Faye is one of the world’s finest women’s footballers and an inspiration for all young girls. With a wealth of experience and a personal trophy cabinet to match, we believe she can help coach King Ecgbert School on their road to Wembley and motivate these fine young players to become the country’s future talent.’

Sponsored by npower, The npower Football League Girls Cup is a national six-a-side tournament for U13 girls. One of 72 teams participating in the competition, King Ecgbert School won the right to represent Sheffield United, progressing through to the Regional Final, after beating other rival schools in the Local Club and Area Finals stage of the knockout competition.

The 09/10 season saw more than 2,500 schools take part in The npower Football League junior tournaments with a school representing Crystal Palace being crowned champions and lifting The npower Football League U13 Girls Cup.

email:          shaun@sf-pictures.com

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From my archive……….Hale Bopp Comet!


Hale Bopp Comet over Conisborough Castle, Summer 1997


During the summer of 1997 I observed nightly a ‘celestial’ object appear in the western sky, the object was the Hale Bopp comet!

It is said to be the most widely observed comet of the 20th century and one of the brightest seen for many decades.

Discovered in 1995 by Alan Hale and Thomas Bopp in the United States the comet was first visible to the naked eye in May 1996 but became common place in the sky from January 1997.

I was completely ‘spellbound’ with this ‘nightly spectacle’ and felt compelled to attempt to record it on film.

As mentioned in a previous post the late 90’s saw many photographer’s still shooting on film, me included. I decided that I would photograph the comet at Conisborough Castle in Doncaster, a well known local landmark!

Armed with Canon EOS 1n, 28mm lens, 400 iso colour negative film and tripod I shot a series of bracketed exposures allowing for the strong ambient sodium street lighting as well as allowing for the reciprocity failure which occurs in these situation’s.

The result, an handful of images which balanced all the factors. I didn’t keep the records of exposure and processing times but seem to remember an exposure of 10 seconds at F8 gave me the best combination.

After appearing on the front page of the Doncaster Free Press it became my best selling image with sales worldwide!

Visit my image gallery to purchase a copy or to view other stock images for sale.

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