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An Independent Day School and Nursery for boys aged 3-7 and girls aged 3-11
from the EDITOR
A Culinary Journey through
bake from expert Richard Bertinet
“There is something so special
in the early leaves drifting
from the trees–as if we are all
to be allowed a chance to peel,
to refresh, to start again.”
– Ruth Ahmed
There is something so special about
this time of year - it has a grounding
effect which forces us to consider
the passage of time and the tangible
changes around us. As the hues
of the trees shape our landscape,
we settle down into the embrace
of those cooler, darker evenings
- a sense of quietude before the
inevitable Christmas rush begins.
We hope this edition makes a good
companion to a cosy evening or
a peaceful morning with a cuppa.
We’ve filled it with interviews with
some titans of their fields - firstly, west
country expert baker (via France!)
Richard Bertinet and Chelsea seventime
gold medal winning garden
designer Adam Frost.
Our interview with
Editor Katie Thomson
Publisher Sally Thomson
Pre-Press Manager Kate Norris
Contributors Rebecca Rose, Peter Thomson, Sue Cooke, Matthew Biggs
Angela Cave and Pete Lawrence. Front cover courtesy of Richard Bertinet
Key Account Manager Marion Cassidy
d/l 01225 984502
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visit our website www.minervamagazines.co.uk
Disclaimer: The publishers shall not be held liable for any loss occasioned by failure of an
advertisement to appear, or any damage or inconvenience caused by errors, omissions and
misprints. No part of this publication may be reproduced without prior permission from the
publishers. The opinions expressed within are not necessarily those of the publishers.
These lovely chats fall alongside
some delicious recipes and some
inspiration for the home and garden
- plus some advice on getting those
finances in order for retirement -
it’s never too early to start thinking
about it, nor to late to make an
assessment of where you are.
It wouldn’t be right to have an
edition without one of our most
popular pages - the competitions!
You can enter all the ones listed on
the page, plus some web-exclusives
at minervamagazines.co.uk - you
can also opt into being the first to
hear about new giveaways when
they are launched.
We are looking forward to seeing
you again in November, where we
will be unapologetically thrusting
you into the Christmas swing. Don’t
say I didn’t warn you! Until then,
take care and enjoy this issue.
www.minervamagazines.co.uk | 3
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www.minervamagazines.co.uk | 5
OF THE YEAR
An enriching life like no other
Which school should my child attend?
Choosing the right educational
environment for your child is one of
the most important decisions you’ll
ever have to make as a parent. But if
you’re looking for a boarding school
for your child, how do you choose
the right one? Robin Fletcher, CEO
of the Boarding Schools’ Association
‘How do I choose the right boarding school
for my child?’ That’s a question we’re asked
more often than any other at BSA. And
when you consider the UK boarding market
is one of the largest in the world, with more
than 450 schools of all sizes and types, in
all sorts of different locations, there isn’t a
But having such a wide range of choice can
really work to your advantage. If you know
exactly what to look for in a prospective
boarding school, your child will enjoy a
first-class education and gain invaluable life
skills, boost their confidence, become more
independent, and have the best possible
preparation for adult life.
The first key piece of advice I would always
offer when choosing a school is that it must
be a joint decision between you and your
child: they have to be happy with the final
As I’ve mentioned, one thing there isn’t a
shortage of in the UK boarding sector is
choice. You need to think about the best
location for your child: will they be best
suited to a large school attended by several
hundred students, or a smaller school
with fewer pupils? Would a school in the
middle of a city be better for them, or would
they prefer somewhere more rural? Would
they be best suited to a single sex or coeducational
school? Also, will full boarding
be the best option for them? Schools can
offer full, weekly or flexi-boarding, so you’ll
need to decide which works best for you
and your child. And is an academic school
right for them, or one that focuses perhaps
more on sport, music or more vocational
Once you’ve considered all those factors
and you’ve got a shortlist of schools you’re
interested in, I’d always strongly encourage
you to visit those schools in person. This
is the best way to tell if it’s right for your
child or not, as it will be clear very quickly
whether they are comfortable there.
Making that final choice of the right
boarding school for your child can be a
lengthy process, but taking the time to get
your decision absolutely right is crucial.
Boarding will not suit every child or family
- but for the right child, in the right school,
it can offer an enriching life experience like
For further information about the Boarding
Schools’ Association, or to search for a
boarding school, please visit www.boarding.
org.uk. In 2020, BSA also teamed up with
Bulldog Publishing to launch Schoolplaces.
org, a dedicated live information resource
for schools, parents and education agents.
For more information, please visit www.
Image: Courtesy of Highfield and
8 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk
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Open Mornings and Tours
Find out what Princethorpe can do for your child, come along to our
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To book your place visit princethorpe.co.uk
Year 6 Taster Experiences are also available on Saturday 25 September 2021.
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An independent school for 11-18 year olds
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10 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk
Richard Bertinet is well-loved and well-known for being the
UK’s baking ‘godfather’. His books about baking and his breadmaking
courses alike have delighted audiences for many years.
Sally Thomson talks to Richard to discuss books, baking and
BBC Maestro, where you can catch him offering the ultimate
online bread-making course...
HOW ARE YOU ON THIS GLORIOUS
Making croissants with this weather! It’s
a bit hot in the kitchen but it’s nice to be
open again so all is good.
YOU ARE DOING WONDERFULLY
WELL AT THE MOMENT APART
FROM THE FACT WE HAVE ALL
BEEN THROUGH THIS RATHER
INTERESTING YEAR THINGS SEEM TO
BE GOOD WITH YOU.
We opened in April and we have just tried
to push everything we could this year and
last year. It’s very busy.
SO, PEOPLE ARE ABLE TO COME TO
YOUR CLASS NOW?
Yes, we reopened in April.
SO, THESE CURRENT RESTRICTIONS
HAVEN’T CHANGED YOUR PLANS?
No, we are Covid compliant and can still
have the same number of people.
In Bath 40% of the customers come
from the rest of the World so Japan, The
States and Australia. Obviously, they
cannot come to Bath at the moment so
we have a massive backlog of people
wanting to come when they can
YOU NEED TO BE CLONED SO THAT
THERE IS ANOTHER ONE OF YOU
AND YOU CAN KEEP UP!
That’s true but there is only one of me
WHEN YOU FIRST CAME INTO BATH
IN 2005 DID YOU EXPECT YOUR
CAREER TO TAKE OFF AS IT DID?
I knew the concept we had was good and
if it worked out, we would have success.
When I first moved to Bath a lot of local
businesses gave us 6 months to survive
but that made me more determined to
12 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk
On his baking classes
for children: “It’s good
fun and nice to see
them smile when they
try something that they
haven’t done before. I
think it’s a shame that
so many schools don’t
use cooking and baking
TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR
COOKERY SCHOOL - IT’S GOING
FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH BY
THE SOUNDS OF IT?
Well, the school has been going since
2005 and since then we have won a lot
of awards, we then sold the bakery and a
lot of things have happened in 15 years.
The school is so busy it’s a worldwide
attraction which means we bring a lot of
people to Bath. We won the South West
Tourism Award two years ago due to the
number of people that we attract to Bath.
We have a few guest chefs coming in as
well, but the core classes are with me
learning about bread making, as well as
what I write about in my books.
YOU HAVE SO MANY ACCOLADES
AND EVERYBODY ENJOYS WHAT YOU
HAVE BEEN DOING.
We pride ourselves on the services we
give our customers and also the way I
teach is quite unique - I’m very hands on.
Our school is quite small so it means that
I can spend time with everybody.
I SEE THAT YOU OFFER CLASSES FOR
CHILDREN, HOW DO YOU FIND THAT?
Teaching children was always very
important to us and we also work with a
lot of local schools in the area and teach
some classes plus talk to the children.
It’s good fun and nice to see them smile
when they try something that they haven’t
done before. I think it’s a shame that so
many schools don’t use cooking and
I SEE THAT YOU ALSO WORK WITH
Yes, Ping does classes for me. She
teaches Malaysian cooking plus stuff
from my book.
YOU HAVE PRODUCED 6 BOOKS SO
FAR. HAVE YOU GOT ANYMORE IN
THE PIPELINE OR DO YOU NOT HAVE
I’ve got a couple of ideas but it’s getting
the time to do it and I like to write a book
for the right purpose not just for the sake
of it so I need to get the time and wait
until things get back to normal.
DO YOU FEEL THAT YOU ARE
GETTING BACK TO NORMAL?
Until we get all our backlog of people
who couldn’t attend last year’s classes
hopefully then we will be back on an
even keel but not yet I’m afraid. We are
open and running and there are some
businesses that can’t do that so in a way
we are one of the lucky ones.
I HEAR THAT YOU WILL BE GETTING
INVOLVED WITH BBC MAESTRO.
Yes, it’s been amazing. We have just
finished editing. I absolutely loved it! It’s
a challenge to do live broadcasts, it’s
recipe lead and different from how I teach
in my classes, but it was well done. The
team were amazing.
YOU HAVE BEEN ON OTHER
COOKERY SHOWS SO DID YOU FIND
THAT THIS WAS A STEP UP?
Yes, I’ve been on Saturday Kitchen and
on James Martin’s show so it’s a different
buzz being filmed live and you have to be
mindful of what you do and say.
WHAT IS IT THAT YOU WILL BE
It’s specifically about bread and things I
like to do at home. It goes from making
brioche, sourdough to bagels, all that
kind of stuff and things to give people
the confidence to bake at home and feel
that they learn something. It’s going to be
good. The production team was amazing,
and I can’t wait for it to launch.
YOU ARE FROM BRITTANY HAVE
YOU HAD THE CHANCE TO GO BACK
We went to France last year, Provence.
We have a house down there and
managed to visit just before lockdown.
*At the time of the interview there was
uncertainty regarding travel to the city
BBC Maestro with Richard Bertinet
is available now at bbcmaestro.com.
The course costs £80 for 23 episodes
including written class notes for
each one. An additional bonus festive
episode is expected to launch later in
the year exclusively to subscribers.
14 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk
& PISTACHIO LOAF
150g good quality dark chocolate chips
75g roughly chopped pistachios
Zest of 2 oranges
50g mixed peel
1 tablespoon Cointreau (optional)
125g unsalted butter straight from the
125g full fat milk
3 medium eggs
500g strong white bread flour (plus extra
15g fresh yeast
45g caster sugar
10g fine sea salt
FOR THE GLAZE
Pinch fine sea salt
Mix the chocolate chips, nuts zest
and mixed peel in a bowl and stir in
the Cointreau if you are using it. Place
the cold butter between 2 sheets of
greaseproof and bash it with a rolling pin
to soften it and break it up into smaller
pieces (without warming it up).
Put the milk and eggs into the bowl of a
food mixer and then add the flour. Break
up the yeast and add to one side of the
bowl. Add the sugar and salt on the
other side of the bowl.
Mix on a slow speed for 4 minutes.
Increase the speed to medium for another
2 minutes then add the butter piece by
piece until it is all incorporated. Continue
mixing on medium speed for 10-12
minutes until the dough comes away from
the sides of the bowl.
Stop the mixer. Add the chocolate and
pistachio mixture to the bowl and mix
for no longer than 30-40 seconds on
the slowest speed – you don’t want the
chocolate and nuts to become mushy.
Lightly flour your worksurface and turn
the dough out onto the work surface.
Form the dough into a ball and then place
into a lightly floured bowl. Cover and
rest for about 45 minutes until just under
double in size.
Lightly flour the surface again, turn out
the dough and divide into 10 equal pieces
of about 110g each. Form each piece
into a ball and then press gently into
cake or loaf tins until they are full. In the
picture I have used tiny tins that only take
one ball but if you use a larger one you
will have a finished loaf or two that will be
perfect to tear and share. Whether you
have one or two will depend on the size
of your tins. Cover and leave to prove
for about 1 hour until just under double
While the dough is proving, pre-heat the
oven to 190°C and beat the eggs and
pinch of salt for the glaze. Brush the top
of each loaf with the egg glaze and use a
pair of scissors to snip into the dough for
Place the tins on a baking tray and
put into the pre-heated oven. Turn the
temperature down to 180°C and bake for
15-20 minutes until golden.
www.minervamagazines.co.uk | 15
A a two-night stay
for two people at
To enter any (or all!) of our competitions, head to
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16 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk
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Situated in a leafy corner of Warwickshire near the
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It is owned and run by fourth generation
sisters Sally and Emma - they are at the
forefront of this busy, thriving Farm Shop.
The Farm Shop always has an array of
delicious products carefully selected
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customers the very best in fresh, quality
produce that is sourced locally wherever
Alongside the Farm Shop, which
includes Ragley Estate Meats and Hillers
Fish Shop (providing expertise in their
respective fields to accompany their
quality produce), there is also the well
regarded Garden Cafe serving breakfast,
lunch and afternoon tea. The Garden
Café has had a refurbishment this year
and now includes the beautiful new
garden room that looks out over the
Hillers Garden & Plant Centre with its
3 acre Display Garden, new wildflower
garden and Bird Hide which are free to
enjoy, has a large selection of plants
and garden equipment for gardeners of
all abilities and an experienced team on
hand to help and advise.
Hillers Gifts and Interiors stock everything
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So whether you want to browse in the
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Contact: 01789 772771
Facebook & Twitter
“The Farm Shop always has an array of
delicious products carefully selected from
specialist suppliers to bring their customers
the very best in fresh, quality produce that is
sourced locally wherever possible. ”
www.minervamagazines.co.uk | 19
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Don’t miss our next edition which
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20 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk
Adam Frost is an
television presenter and
Sally Thomson caught up
with him to discuss all
TELL ME HOW THE GARDENER’S
WORLD EVENT WENT AT BEAULIEU?
I had a lovely weekend! I’d be lying if I
didn’t say I was a bit nervous. I had just
had my 2nd injection It was the first time
I had done anything in a public arena for
about 18 months! You realise that all the
shows are now your general catch up.
WITH THE PANDEMIC DID YOU FIND
IT STRANGE NOT BEING OUT &
ABOUT WITH THE GENERAL PUBLIC?
Definitely, We run a school as well so
we had to close that. I did some stuff on
zoom like most people but that’s a very
strange experience. I’ve never spent
so much time at home or in the garden
through the summer months with my wife
and kids which was a mixed blessing and
gave me time to stop which I don’t think
I’ve done since I was 16.
HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT BUILDING A
GARDEN FOR CHELSEA?
It can be 12 months to 2 years planning
but at one point I was doing them back to
back finishing one then moving straight
onto the next one. But it’s fascinating, it’s
how I built my career.
HOW DID YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR
FIRST CHELSEA GOLD?
If I’m honest, I think I was slightly
oblivious to what they actually meant.
My dad was a landscaper and he built
early John Brooks gardens in the 70s. I
recently met Professor David Stevens,
garden designer, who also worked for
John Brooks. We were talking about
Chelsea and he said that my dad would
have been a few gardens along from
where we were. David also taught me a
lot about design in that sense.
WHEN YOU START A DESIGN IS IT
FROM A THOUGHT OR ARE YOU
PLANNING IT IN ADVANCE?
It depends on whether its for a client.
I think ultimately gardens are about 4
things people, space, plants and place.
It’s normally one of those that I tap into
first and it might be a bit of landscape, it
might be an individual picture I’ve seen,
it might be the shape of something,
whatever it is that gives me an insight
into a person or if it’s a show garden what
particular design will drive it.
DO YOU THINK BEAULIEU WILL BE A
REGULAR EVENT NOW?
I think so, I walked in and thought
what a glorious piece of landscape
and the moment I walked in the gate it
had a good feel. People really enjoyed
themselves and as a setting it had quite a
lovely intimate feel to it, even the stages
had an open canopy, and everybody was
sensible and had plenty of space. The
standard of the displays was really good
and Hilliers had gone there and built
a garden, so it was great that you had
something there of Hilliers quality.
I think a positive out of the last 15 months
is that people have slowed down have
connected or reconnected with what’s
outside their back door or in the area.
I’ve seen a report saying we now have
3 million new gardeners. Everybody
you talk to in the industry says that the
hunger from last year is still there which is
great. I just hope in a way that stays.
I FIND IT VERY THERAPEUTIC AND
GOOD FOR THE SOUL
It’s interesting that we are seeing
statistics people moving out of cities
and into the countryside and are wanting
bigger gardens it wasn’t that long-ago
people were downsizing and didn’t want
a big outdoor space and this time has
now changed that.
I UNDERSTAND THAT YOU ARE AN
RHS AMBASSADOR? WHAT DOES
Yes, I’ve done that for quite a few years
now. Basically, I help them with stuff
looking at helping youngsters to engage
more through events and I did a lot
of work a while back with Homebase
creating apprenticeships so that’s how it
started. I also do a lot of community stuff
with RHS and I’m just about to start a
new project which I can’t say too much
about which will be good. I have travelled
all over to schools, events for them. I
was brought up just outside London and
wasn’t the best behaved, I’m dyslexic
and obviously I’ve done OK and I think
that’s why they wanted me to help.
YOU ARE AT THE NEC IN THE
SUMMER WHAT WILL THAT INVOLVE?
I normally go from stage to stage and
talk all things gardening and there’s
different themes on different stages from
talking about ‘Grow your Own’, ‘Unusual
edibles’, ‘soil and compost’ so all sorts
really. What I love about that show is you
have the gardens and displays but it also
interlinks with food and because its at the
NEC if we do have poor weather people
can get inside. Because it’s such a large
venue everything will feel alright.
SO, AT CHELSEA FOR EXAMPLE ARE
YOU THERE WHEN THE JUDGES
You have a 2 minute conversation the day
www.minervamagazines.co.uk | 21
to do some presenting as they think I’m
half decent”. He said “Are you sure that’s
what you want to do?”. And I said “I don’t
know but I’ll give it a go!”. And here we
before to explain if anything has changed
or there have been any adjustments
to the design. They then arrive at your
garden anytime between 7:30 and
9:30am on the day and you must be away
from your garden. Then you have another
24 hours until you find out the result.
WHEN DID YOU REALISE THAT
YOU HAD AN APTITUDE FOR
I don’t think I did really, I love what I do I
think it just happened. I was talking to a
Robert Hillier at Chelsea and I said “Can
you remember the conversation we had
in 2015 where you said the BBC want me
WHAT WOULD YOU ADVISE OUR
READERS TO DO TO THEIR GARDENS
Don’t disengage with the garden, I think
we get to September the kids go back to
school and people pack up their gardens.
I think our environment has changed
so much that you cant month to month
garden anymore you have to react to the
month you are in. September, October
and even going into November we can
still have some cracking days and only
have our first frosts going into December
so I would say to anybody there is so
much glorious flower colour foliage
colour stem colour to be had and the light
is different so the atmosphere is different
you can still wrap up and enjoy it just
don’t disengage. Don’t chase perfection
just enjoy the moments.
Adam Frost, along with other gardening
celebrities, will be appearing at the NEC
in Birmingham from Thursday August 26
to Sunday August 29.
For ticket information, please visit
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This is where
we’ll put down roots
Just launched, a beautiful
new executive show home in
Surrounded by lush green space close to the
banks of the River Avon, Bridle Meadows is a
stunning collection of two, three and five-bedroom
homes set within attractive rural surroundings.
Sympathetically designed to take advantage of its
beautiful, natural setting, homes at Bridle Meadows
offer idyllic views over the countryside, as well as
ample space to live, work and entertain in comfort.
Katie Thomson shares tips
for getting your financial
ducks in a row for a happy
Retirement planning is a multi-faceted
process which evolves over time - to
have a comfortable and secure future,
you have to have the means to fund
it. Fewer people have access to the
guaranteed income that comes with a
final salary pension, and with longer to
wait until eligibility for the state pension,
it’s pertinent to start planning as early as
possible for the retirement you want. The
better prepared you are now, the better
your retirement will be.
There are many strands to retirement
planning, and much of it depends on
your stage of life. It’s important to seek
advice from a registered financial planner
who can help you make the most of your
There are some handy way points to help
you get a grasp on where you are and
what you will need - here’s a checklist of
things to consider:
Understand what your retirement
income is likely to be:
You will be adding to your pension fund
during your working life, but it’s important
you get a handle on your various pension
pots to forecast the actual figure you will
have access to.
Check your state pension:
The rising state pension age can have a
real knock-on effect to your retirement
planning - a state pension forecast will
help you to gauge how much you’re on
course to get from the government.
Get an understanding of your
Having an idea of your expenditure will
help you plan longer-term. Your living
costs are likely to be a lot lower than
in other phases of life - you might be
mortgage-free and you don’t have the
same costs for commuting, recreation or
childcare for example.
You may wish to improve your home
or go on some amazing trips, so it’s
important you know you have the
financial reserves to do this.
When should you start drawing a
You don’t have to stop working to draw
down your pension - as long as you
are over the age of 55 - but be aware,
the sooner you start dipping into it, the
sooner the pot will deplete.
How much will retirement cost?
This is the golden question, and really
depends on the level of comfort or luxury
you are looking for in your autumn years.
A recent Which? study found that the
average retired household (those living
alone or as couples) spent an around
£2,170 per month - this is covering all
the basic areas of expenditure and some
luxuries like European holidays. Those
looking for a more luxurious lifestyle
including longer-haul trips and new cars
every five years would need to allow
for approximately £3,400 per month, or
£41,000 per year.
Once you have a framework for the
amount you’ll need, and what you are
on track for saving, you also need to
consider how you will access your
pension pots - these might be state
pension, a final salary pension and a
money purchase/defined contribution
With your defined contribution pot,
such as the one you might get in the
government employee scheme, you can
draw the entire pension pot in one go,
but this will mean it’s entirely down to
you to make the money last and you’ll
invariably pay a substantial tax bill. Most
people with these pensions will opt for
income drawdown or an annuity, or a
combination of both when it comes
taking money out of their pension.
With careful planning and accurate
forecasting, your retirement can be
something to really look forward to, but
it is essential to make an assessment of
your position as early as possible and
use the advice of experts to make your
money work harder for you.
26 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk
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www.minervamagazines.co.uk | 27
SOLICITORS OPENS FIFTH
OFFICE WITH ACQUISITION
OF BONELL & CO
Coventry and Warwickshire solicitors
Alsters Kelley recently announced the
acquisition of Stratford-based Bonell & Co
Solicitors, further extending its presence
across the region as it brings its total
number of offices to five...
It is an exciting development for the Legal 500 firm which already
operates in Coventry, Nuneaton, Leamington Spa and Southam
and represents its first acquisition for 15 years.
Bonell & Co, which is situated in Chestnut Walk, Stratford, has
been established for over 30 years. It currently offers services in
conveyancing and family law.
The deal, which was conducted throughout the height of the
COVID-19 pandemic, will allow the firm, which will become
known as Alsters Kelley incorporating Bonell Co, to extend its
range of services to the region*, whilst continuing to provide
a high level of personal service for which it has always been
Cathy Wahlberg, Managing Director at Alsters Kelley, said: “The
acquisition of Bonell & Co marks the start of an exciting new
chapter for both firms.
“Bonell & Co boasts an impressive pedigree and has a highly
talented and experienced workforce. It has an excellent reputation
throughout the Stratford region and the acquisition seemed like
the next natural step in Alsters Kelley’s own journey. It provides
us with an excellent platform for growth and we look forward to
developing the business in the years to come for the benefit of
both the staff and our clients.”
Both firms pride themselves on their friendly, approachable
service combined with expert legal advice with Alsters Kelley
operating on the mantra of being kind, helpful and excellent in the
delivery of its service at all times.
*Alsters Kelley’s range of services include Family (divorce,
finances, children matters) , family care (adoption, care
proceedings, abductions), private client (wills, powers of
attorney, tax and trusts), conveyancing, personal injury, medical
negligence, dispute resolution and criminal cases including
BY APPOINTMENT ONLY
PLEASE CONTACT THE OFFICE TO ARRANGE A SHOWROOM VISIT
Units 1 & 2 Shipston Industrial Estate, Tilemans Lane
Shipston-on-Stour, Warwickshire CV36 4PR
01608 663535 | www.shipstonbathrooms.co.uk
28 | www.minervamagazines.co.uk
FISH AND CHIPS