Movers & Shakers: Colcheser-based agency Focus strengthens team with four new appointments

Focus managing director James Mercer with new recruits Sebastian Crisp, Verity Stone, Elliott Allen

Focus managing director James Mercer with new recruits Sebastian Crisp, Verity Stone, Elliott Allen and Adam Hurrell. - Credit: Archant

Colchester-based digital and offline agency Focus has welcomed four new members of staff, strengthening the team across creative, client services and research.

Web designer Sebastian Crisp, who has previously worked for large London agencies for clients including Blackberry and McLaren, joins the creative team under creative director Jason Riley.

Verity Stone has joined as account executive in client services where she will be responsible for managing both online and offline marketing schedules and clients’ advertising campaigns, primarily for clients Taylor Wimpey and Countryside. She is a graduate of the University of East Anglia with a degree in culture, literature and politics, and is a qualified multimedia journalist.

IT graduate Elliot Allan has joined as search engine optimisation (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC) executive in the digital team, optimising websites across the digital client base. He will be managed by Amy Wilson, Account Director for digital client services.

Adam Hurrell, a graduate in business management who has previouisly worked in quality assurance, joins the focus team as digital and social media researcher to research and report on innovation and digital technology and support the five-strong team of developers.


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Managing director James Mercer said: “We’ve been focusing on new business, and our recent success means that we need to increase the size of our team to support our new client base – it’s a busy and exciting time for Focus”

Focus now employs more than 50 staff at its office in Feering, Colchester.

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: : Gotelee Solicitors has strengthened its existing teams at its three offices in Ipswich, Hadleigh and Felixstowe.

Hayley Rowland will become a trainee based at the Ipswich office. Hayley has previous experience working in commercial property law but will work across the firm for two years before qualifying into a specialist area.

“I’m really looking forward to working with a forward thinking firm and experienced team of lawyers.  I know I will receive great training at Gotelee and am excited to work in a number of departments during my training contract,” she said. 

Catherine Palmer has joined the Hadleigh office to meet the growing demand for advice on wills, probate and powers of attorney.

She said she was “delighted” to join.

Head of the private client team, Emma Woollard said: “Catherine brings a wealth of experience in wills, probate and powers ofattorney and good local knowledge having been born and brought up in the Hadleigh area.”

Chelsea Butcher has joined the residential conveyancing team in Felixstowe and will provide support to the team on all property matters.

Felixstowe office partner Matthew Boast said he was “very pleased” to welcome her.

“Using her previous experience in a specialist residential conveyancing firm, Chelsea will assist Sarah Williamson, Jayne Kettle and me as we continue to advise and support clients buying and selling houses,” he said.

Chief executive Alistair Lang said: “These appointments are indicative of not only current growth at Gotelee but also our desire to invest in the future across all our offices.  Boosting our presence in the local market is what we are all about.”

: : Kerri Skelton is set to head up the customer service department at Azpects Ltd, based in Ipswich.

As sales and customer service administrator, she has been brought in to further develop sales of The EASY Range of products, including its best-seller, ‘EASYJoint’.

James Girling has been appointed as operations and marketing manager. He brings with him over 25 years’ sales and customer service experience. James will be assisting the managing director with the running of Azpects and developing the growth of this vibrant company.

: : Chartered legal executive and associate Sharon Allison has been awarded membership of the prestigious Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA) lawyers’ panel.

Since its inception in 1982, charity AvMA has provided advice and support to over 100,000 people affected by medical accidents and played a key role in bringing about changes to the way that the legal system deals with clinical negligence and in moving patient safety higher up the agenda in the UK.

Following a rigorous application process, Sharon, who works for Ipswich-based law firm Ashton KCJ, was awarded membership to the panel which comprises only 175 lawyers in the UK. Ashton KCJ’s head of medical injury, Sandra Patton, is the firm’s other panel member. AvMA panel membership entitles the firm to undertake legal aid work in medical negligence cases and is the highest kite mark in this field of law.

Sandra said: “Sharon’s accreditation to the AvMA legal panel is a demonstration of the very high calibre of medical negligence expertise that we have at Ashton KCJ. There are very few firms in the Eastern Region who can boast membership of the panel and no others in Norfolk and Suffolk and this cements our standing as the premier Medical Negligence team in the Eastern Region.”

: : Agricultural purchasing group Anglia Farmers (AF) has strengthened its senior management team by appointing a new head of group finance.

Grant Lockhart-White brings a wealth of experience at the highest level and the move represents a step-change for the fast growing group, based at Colton, Norwich, which has a turnover of £247.5million.

Since qualifying as a chartered accountant and spending 10 years with Ernst & Young, Grant has amassed more than 17 years’ experience in the fresh produce industry. He has held positions as group financial director with G’s, Emmett UK and Total Produce.

While at G’s, Grant was company secretary and responsible for the finances of G’s Growers Ltd, a producer organisation with more than 20 grower members in the UK and Spain. He currently sits on the Business Policy Committee of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) and was previously the honorary treasurer of the St Andrews Golf Club.

Grant says he is looking forward to working with the high performance team at AF.

“I worked with AF as a member when I was at Emmet UK and have always been very impressed with the business, the way it has developed its exceptional customer service and in particular, with the innovative and very useful services it offers,” he said.

This includes AF Finance, which is a peer-to-peer lending scheme that really helps members with their cash flow, AF Grant Resource which helps members to access available grant funding and their payroll and HR services.

“AF has now grown to a size where it is essential to have a head of group finance in place and I look forward to the challenges ahead,” he said.

In addition to the stewardship of everything financial and accounting, some of Grant’s initial responsibilities will include developing AF Grant Resource’s offering to members, risk management and corporate governance.

Chief executive Clarke Willis said: “We are delighted to welcome Grant to AF. Over the past year we have completed a major reorganisation of our senior management team to lay the foundations for future development and I am sure Grant will bring a wealth of experience and expertise to this role.”

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