Law firm appoints tax manager

EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, has appointed a former senior RAF officer and manufacturing executive as its region director covering the south east.

Law firm Ashton Graham has appointed Marie Hawkins as its new tax manager.

Ms Hawkins has over 13 years’ experience specialising in personal taxation and she will also be dealing with trust and estate tax and accounts. She began her career at HM Revenue & Customs where she gained essential experience and has also worked for other notable accountancy firms across the region. She became ATT (Association of Taxation Technicians) qualified in 2002.

Managing partner Mark Merriam said: “Marie brings valuable experience to our private client team and will continue to grow our private tax practice with great success.”

Steve Chicken, who is an experienced international business leader, will be co-located at EEF’s offices in Cambridge and Hook (Hampshire) and will be heading the support provided by the organisation to its member companies. He replaces David Seall, who recently left to pursue other interests.

“The south east is home to the largest number of manufacturing companies in the country and as such plays a key role in the economic prosperity of our nation,” said Dr Chicken.

“At EEF, we aim to ensure that the voice of industry is heard, so that we create a climate within with manufacturing can flourish as we move towards the stated aim of developing a more balanced economy.”

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Dr Chicken, who lives with his family in Ipswich, holds a Phd in Aerospace Vehicle Design from Cranfield University. He joins EEF with a proven business track-record, having enjoyed a successful career in Textron Inc, a $12bn multi-industry enterprise which owns Ipswich-based mower makers Ransomes Jacobsen, where he fulfilled international leadership roles within engineering, manufacturing and services businesses.

He added: “I am a passionate advocate of manufacturing, engineering and technology and I very much look forward to working on behalf of EEF members in the south east to optimise the opportunities for growth.”

EEF exists for the benefit of its members, providing support in HR and employment law, health safety and environment, information and research and business improvement.

It is estimated that across the EEF South East region, which includes London, the South and the East of England, there are 45,000 manufacturers employing 687,000 people and contributing �44bn to the economy.

A fitness expert will be getting people off the treadmill with the launch of a new workout facility for Ipswich town centre.

Matt Brennan who owns Grange Fitness in Kesgrave and has made his name in recent years as a personal trainer, will officially open the doors of MB Fitness in July. The facility will feature some very different workout methods and will provide a far more challenging and exciting approach to exercise than the traditional treadmill workout which many people find too repetitive. MB Fitness will be housed in Princes Street, making it ideal for gym junkies who are working during the day in town-centre offices.

“For a long time, I’ve been researching the idea of a different style of fitness outlet – one which encourages you to continue with your workouts, and doesn’t feel repetitive and bland,” said Mr Brenna.

“The concept I’m now unveiling has come about after a lot of exploration and several visits to facilities around the UK.

“What makes MB Fitness even more of a special offering for Ipswich, is that we’re locating it in a fantastic basement space, right in the heart of the town centre.”

He added: “We’ve already confirmed some impressive classes and I know my current members at MB Fitness and members of Grange Fitness are already saying they can’t wait to try something so different and something which makes exercise more fun.”

Mr Brennan will introduce current members to the MB Fitness Outlet in special sessions during the latter part of June, but a full range of classes will be available from July 5.

An Ipswich van centre has appointed a servicing expert to head its commercial vehicle servicing division.

Gerald Payne from Framlingham, accepted the role as service manager at Wolsey Volkswagen Van Centre bring with him over 30 years of automotive experience.

The 50-year-old started in the motor trade in 1976 as a workshop technician and has developed his knowledge and expertise having worked within various servicing roles for leading automotive brands. Mr Payne joined Wolsey Volkswagen in 1999, initially as a service advisor and more recently as an assistant service manager with the passenger car division. He puts his loyalty to the brand and business down to the professional and friendly team at Wolsey.

He said: “Wolsey Volkswagen’s friendly and professional atmosphere makes its an enjoyable working environment. My latest challenge will enable me to expand and enhance our existing servicing needs for our commercial vehicle customers and is one that I look forward to progressing.”

Head of business David Nichols said: “Gerald has a superb track record in the servicing and his expertise and brand awareness makes him the ideal person to continue to develop the serving needs of van drivers in Ipswich.”

James Baird Murray celebrated his 75th birthday at the firm where he still practices as a solicitor. He retired as a prosecutor at the age of 60, then returned to the law as a criminal defence lawyer at Fisher Jones Greenwood Solicitors in Colchester and is still working and attending court on behalf of his clients.

Paul Tawn, partner at FJG and head of the criminal law department, presented the veteran lawyer with a gift and card from the partners and his colleagues at the firm.

“James had been both a great help and inspiration to him over the years and hoped that they would be working together for many more years to come,” he said.

Mr Baird Murray said: “Anyone could achieve such a long and distinguished career and the secret was to just keep going and enjoy what you are do.”

He has recently been involved in a series of podcasts that highlight his career from when he started in the legal profession at the age of 19.

The podcasts provide a fascinating insight into the work of a much loved and charismatic solicitor and to the phenomenal changes that have taken place in legal practice over the last 55 years. The podcast are available to listen to at or at .