RICHARD Astbury, senior Azure consultant for two10 degrees, based in Ipswich has received a 2012 Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Award for his outstanding contributions in the Microsoft Windows Azure technical community during the past year.

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Every year Microsoft grants MVP status to selected people who voluntarily share their real-world expertise in offline and online technical communities. Richard is one of only a handful of people to receive this recognition in the UK.

“I’m delighted to receive this award and for two10 degrees to be recognised for its world leading work and expertise in Cloud Computing and Windows Azure,” said Richard.

Astbury’s blog http://coderead.wordpress.com/ can be accessed freely and offers much helpful content to developers worldwide. He maintains a number of open source projects and is a regular presenter at technical conferences across Europe.

The core spirit of the MVP program is that of sharing freely, giving back to the community, and helping others. Richard has been involved with the Microsoft Windows Azure platform since it became commercial available, working directly with Microsoft and many of their key global customers.

“I am very proud of Richard’s achievement and congratulate him warmly on this fantastic award,” said Jeremy Barnes, client service director at Two10 Degrees. “His hard work and dedication over the past year has rightly been recognised by the Microsoft community. The Two10 Degrees team is now recognised as one of the strongest in the world with an incredible three Windows Azure MVPs working as part of our team.”

To receive MVP Award status, Richard was nominated by technical community members, current MVPs, and Microsoft personnel. A panel that includes MVP team members and representatives from Microsoft’s product group teams based in Seattle, USA, evaluated Richard’s technical expertise and voluntary community contributions in the past year and considered the quality, quantity, and level of impact of his contributions. “At Microsoft, we believe that technical and community leaders help to improve peoples’ daily lives and interactions with technology, driving the success of Microsoft and this industry as a whole,” said Toby Richards, general manager of Community and Online Support for Microsoft. “Microsoft greatly appreciates its MVPs and the critical feedback they provide to benefit our company and the greater technical community.”

: : BAKER Tilly in East Anglia has appointed Fiona Cross as Corporate Tax Partner working from its offices in Bury St Edmunds and Chelmsford.

Fiona previously worked for Chantrey Vellacott DFK in London, and supported their offices in Colchester, Stevenage and Reading.

Fiona has extensive experience of working with Owner Managed Businesses and in particular in advising on corporate reorganisation, restructuring, acquisitions and disposals, as well as providing tax advice to a number of companies floating on AIM, EIS investor tax relief and R&D tax credits. Fiona also specialises in international tax issues for both foreign companies coming into the UK and Europe, and also for UK companies expanding overseas.

Fiona is also a member of the International Tax and Corporate Tax Sub-Committees of the Chartered Institute of Tax’s Technical Committee.

Stephen Duffety, Office Managing Partner for Baker Tilly’s Chelmsford office, said: ‘Fiona will be a great asset to our already successful team in East Anglia. Her knowledge and experience will enhance and strengthen our corporate tax offering to both new and existing clients.’

Fiona Cross said: ‘I am very much looking forward to being back advising in the local East Anglia region having gained valuable experience in both the domestic and international arena in the City.’

: : IPSWICH-based digital marketing agency Itineris has strengthened its team with the appointment of four new staff members and an email marketing consultant for little green plane – its email marketing software.

Tom Wake and Duncan Brown will be responsible for working on digital marketing projects for Itineris’ clients ranging from St Elizabeth Hospice, Birketts, Ipswich Town Football Club and West Suffolk College through to multinationals such as British Heart Foundation and Proton Cars UK.

Tom commented: “I am thrilled to become part of Itineris. It is a dynamic and forward thinking company, which has cemented itself as one of the most well respected digital marketing agencies in the region.”

Duncan added: “Itineris works with a great range of clients and I’m delighted to have become part of the team here. I’m looking forward to getting stuck in and producing the high standard of work that the team at Itineris have become so well known for.”

The company has also appointed Danny Jessup as a designer, Kevin Nave as SEO specialist and Louise Stephens as Email Marketing Consultant for little green plane.

Tim Butcher, Managing Director of Itineris, said: “We’re really pleased to have all our new team members on board. We’re currently the sixth fastest growing digital agency in the UK and we’ve got a host of exciting projects on the go which means there’s plenty for them to get involved in. Adding to our team is only going to allow us to build on our current success and continue to exceed the expectations of our customers.”

: : HEALTHCARE Homes, a residential and nursing care home provider based at Langham, near Colchester, has appointed Gillian Webber to the role of occupational therapist. Gillian, who has been working in the NHS, Social Care and education sectors for more than 20 years, joins the business to deliver occupational therapy support across Healthcare Homes’ 23 residential care homes in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, in addition to its domiciliary care division, Manorcourt Homecare.

Since graduating from the University of East Anglia in 2003 with a First Class BSC Honours in Occupational Therapy, Gillian has specialised as a community occupational therapist for Norfolk Social Services. Here she worked closely with informal carers and care agency staff to assess and manage risks, in addition to being involved with supervision and teaching programmes for students and assistant practitioners.

At Healthcare Homes, Gillian will be reporting to the Service Development Manager who is responsible for identifying synergies between the domiciliary and residential care services, with an aim towards developing the Group’s integrated care strategies. Gillian, who will be based at Manorcourt Homecare’s regional office in Swaffham, is registered with the Health Care Professions Council (HCPC) and subscribes to the professional body of Occupational Therapists.

David Bates, chief operating officer, Healthcare Homes said: “We welcome Gillian Webber to the business and are pleased to have recruited such a highly experienced Occupational Therapist practitioner. Gillian will be focused on assessing the homes and individuals within our care, while also delivering advice to our domiciliary care division, to maintain and, where possible, improve the quality of care being provided to our service users.”

Gillian confirmed: “The main focus of my role has always been to assess and prioritise the functional needs of service users, and to then deliver support with specialist advice, education, equipment and adaptations. This enables clients to remain as independent and as safe as possible within their home environment, and is what I strive for.”

: : IPSWICH law firm Kerseys continues to strengthen its market position following the appointment of Lucy Barnard, an experienced Fellow of The Institute of Legal Executives. Lucy joins the highly regarded conveyancing department led by Partner Jane Riley, where she will continue to specialise in helping clients with residential freehold and leasehold conveyancing, and remortgaging.

The expansion of the conveyancing department is a bold move for the firm given the forecasted slump in the housing market due to uncertainty in the economy; however, managing partner Anthony Wooding is keen to build on Kersey`s excellent reputation of high quality client service for residential and commercial property law, and regards Lucy`s appointment as key to the delivery of its strategic plan for continued growth in the local conveyancing market in 2013.

Kerseys has also recently appointed trainee solicitor Victoria Mead, who joins the firm following two years work experience as a paralegal. Victoria is delighted to have secured a highly sought after training contract with the firm. She read English and History at Nottingham Trent University, before taking her Legal Practice Course at Nottingham Law School. Lucy will begin her training under the supervision of partner Clare Thomas in the firm’s matrimonial and child care department.

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