Derby Lacemaker received National Craft and Design Award

A Derby lacemaker has recently received an award in the National Selected Maker awards, run by ‘Craft and Design’ magazine, and voted for by their readers.  Louise West, based at Friar Gate Studios in Derby, received ‘Finalist 2016’ in these prestigious awards for her traditional and contemporary handmade bobbin lace designs. The selected textile artists invited the public vote and then the final 6 awards in the category were made by a panel of judges. 
Louise said ‘It is the first time I have been in the selection of the country’s top textile artists and feel honoured to have been recognised for this award’ after hearing the results. 
Louise teaches the traditional craft local and nationally, and this year is venturing further afield into Europe to teach Bedfordshire lace to Lacemakers in the French Alps. 
For more information about the awards
For more information about Louise visit

Directors humbled after bike ride in Africa  urge others to go down good cause route 

THE owners of a Derbyshire company were 'humbled' by a charity ride in Africa, where they helped local schoolchildren, and suggest others do more to help the less fortunate.
Stuart Pinson, Tony Seabridge and Peter Ward, directors of Ilkeston roofing and cladding specialists Cladceil, swapped boardroom and workshop for a rewarding but gruelling 250-mile bike ride in Tanzania.
The scenery and wilfdlife were beautiful, but cycling was hard work, starting before dawn to avoid the midday heat, and even pushing their bikes through sand at times. 
“After the second day we were so exhausted we could not speak and wondered what we had let ourselves in for,” said 43-year-old Stuart from Ilkeston.
But the pain was worth the gain of knowing how they had helped the British Heart Foundation -  by raising more than £11,500 in sponsorship out of £61, 635 currently collected by the 30-strong group they were a part of - and giving away books and stationey items to two village schools.
“We were humbled by the experience,” said Stuart. “It was emotional to go into the schools and see how little they had in terms of equipment, clothes, food and shelter.
“We had heard about the poverty but to witness it first hand was completely different.”
Peter(45), from Bramcote, said: “When we handed over the goods, the children were very excited.  “They were even fighting over pencils.”
At one village near the town of Madwa, a cyclist gave a football to replace the crude one made up of tape that children were playing with. They ended up with a kickabout  - six of the cyclists against 50 kids!
Tony(47), from Ilkeston, said:  “It was a great privilege to spend some time with the kids, playing games with them and even teaching them the hokey-cokey.”
“We had not done anything in the corporate social responsibility line before, but this experience has shown us what we can do and we look forward to doing more in the future.  It's something we would recommend other companies to follow.”
As well as Cladceil, goods were donated by Clarke's of Nottingham and VOW Europe.
Nancy Smyth, head of events at the British Heart Foundation, said: “Thanks to the directors of Cladceil for taking on this challenge and supporting our work.  Without our supporters we cannot continue to fund life-saving research into heart disease and provide those affected with the care and support they need.”

Growth for health care product manufacturer means new premises, doubling capacity, and more jobs!

An Ilkeston manufacturer of health care products has expanded with a major investment in buildings and plant which will enable it to double productivity and create jobs.
Businesswoman and television personality Saira Khan, runner-up of the first series of  The Apprentice, who was born in Long Eaton and went to school there, today(FRI)  jointly unveiled a plaque to open new facilities for Harlequin BPI on Manners Industrial Estate with Erewash MP Maggie Throup.
Harlequin was set up in 2012 and since then has grown from 2,750 sq ft of space to 15,000 sq ft now, with new warehousing two years ago and the latest addition of 6,000 sq ft in extra buildings, meaning the company dominates Lyndal Court. Some buildings are owned and some rented.
The new additions, to the rear of the original headquarters, comprise of offices, and a  recreation facility for workers, including pool table and gym equipment, as well as a non-sterile production facility and warehousing. 
This £400,000 investment in building and plant will enable the company to make another three million bottles of different products a year – more than doubling capacity, which was 2.6 million bottles last year.
“We are now the UK leader in what we produce in a range of sterile and non-sterile healthcare products,” said director Ian Hopkinson.
This includes eye drops, ear drops, contact lens cleaning solutions, nasal sprays, and vapour rubs, all being sold as stores' own brands in major supermarkets from Wilko to Waitrose.
“I am delighted that we we already have a full order book for all our products next year,” said Ian.
“We are in partnership with a pharmaceutical company and are looking to export all over the world in the next year. That is why we have expanded the business now.”
He said the company was looking to increase its range to include generic versions of established brand-name products. These would have additional properties or be available at a less expensive price than consumers currently pay. 
The workforce has increased from 12 to 17 this year with people being trained to use equipment. Ian hopes to boost this to 25 by the year end..
Saira told Ian: “You are a true entrepreneur, with skills, determination and drive who has brought local people into work and treating them with respect and care. What you have achieved is phenomenal.”
MP Maggie said: “It's fantastic to come to a business like this that is growing both in products and staff. We need to sing and shout about such businesses, which are putting Ilkeston on the map.”
Ian praised enterprise agency Erewash Partnership for the advice and help he received when he went to them with an idea in 2000. 
Partnership chief executive Ian Viles replied: “We are pleased to have been there for you and proud of what you have achieved.”


More Derbyshire people are signing-up for high-speed fibre broadband than ever before thanks to the work of Digital Derbyshire. 
Digital Derbyshire – a multi-million pound partnership between Derbyshire County Council and BT – has made fibre-optic broadband technology available to nearly 90,000 homes and businesses across the county.
And figures announced today show the number of homes and businesses using the faster connections in the Digital Derbyshire area almost tripled in the past year with more than 29 per cent now signed up to a fibre broadband package compared to 10 per cent just 12 months ago. 
Derbyshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, Transport and Infrastructure Councillor Dean Collins said: “Fibre broadband is transforming the lives of people in Derbyshire.
“So much we do these days relies on a fast internet connection whether we’re at home or at work. And demand for better, faster broadband in Derbyshire is clear – in the past year three times more homes and businesses have signed-up to use the new technology installed as part of the Digital Derbyshire programme.
“We’re aiming to make fibre-optic broadband available to 98 per cent of homes and businesses by the end of 2018. To check availability in your area visit”
Some of the most recent areas to benefit from the fibre broadband rollout include parts of Bolsover, Chinley, Great Longstone, Clay Cross, Hathersage and Overseal.
Steve Henderson, BT’s regional director for next generation access, said: “We are delighted the rollout in Derbyshire is proving to be so popular. The Digital Derbyshire team are out and about in the community doing a great job of raising awareness of the benefits of fibre broadband. The technology really does have the ability to transform the way people and businesses use the internet.”
Fibre broadband helps make everything happen online much faster than a standard broadband connection. The technology offers download speeds up to 80Mbps.
All of the engineering work as part of Digital Derbyshire is being carried out by Openreach, BT’s local network business. This means residents and businesses with access to fibre broadband can choose from a wide range of internet service providers and benefit from competitive pricing and products.
The Digital Derbyshire project is being funded using £15.2 million from BT, £5 million from Derbyshire County Council, £9.7 million from the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK fund, £2.5 million from the European Regional Development Fund and £2.2 million from the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership.
To find out more about Digital Derbyshire, visit

Framer Barney on top of the world as his conservation work merits museum mark

A Long Eaton picture framer has proved he is among the best in the world when it comes to conserving precious artworks and keepsakes.
Five years ago Barney Craw, owner of Tobi Frames, became a Commended Framer with the Fine Art Trade Guild, the 100-year-old association for the art and framing industry.
Now he has gone one better to achieve the Guild of Commended Framers Advanced Accreditation in conservation framing.
He is only the 16th framer in the world – the Guild has members across the globe in more than 30 countries - to achieve this higher distinction in conservation. 
Barney revealed his superior skills in conservation framing by presenting an examiner with four separate pieces of work, each demonstrating a different area of expertise.
Barney showed that he understands the importance of conservation framing, the use of appropriate materials to avoid future problems and also the range of framing options his customers may require.
“I have been working hard to achieve this advanced qualification for five years, and I'm delighted that I can now frame items to a museum standard,” he said.
“According to the Guild I'm only the 16th framer worldwide to have achieved this new special accreditation in conservation.”
Barney is now studying part-time on a postgraduate course in art conservation and restoration with Lincoln University. Although he did not have a degree previously his original award counted as a qualification.
On top of that to broaden his knowledge Barney spends each Monday working at Sycamore Bookbinding in Eastwood. “This will give me practical, hands-on experience of paper conservation,” he added.
Barney employs two part-time assistants, Sally Poulson and Brian Gascoigne at his shop, Tobi Pictures and Framing, on the corner of Tamworth Road and Beaconsfield Street in Long Eaton.
The business does everything from high volume framing certificates and mounting from a wide choice of mouldings to framing high-value works of art. It also frames signed sports items and memorabilia.