Wednesday 30 June 2010


A collection of school emblems, uniquely designed by its pupils, has been brought to life by flooring specialist, Amtico International.

To mark the refurbishment of the Queen Elizabeth Junior School (QEGS) in Wakefield, pupils were given the opportunity to create an emblem which best represented the school qualities.

Four of the best designs were then reproduced by the custom design team at Amtico International and incorporated into the 350 square metre installation.

Amtico’s American Oak was specified throughout Year 5 and 6 classrooms and corridors, complimenting the fresh modern twist to the traditional wood paneling interior.

A combination of Amtico wood shades including Black Walnut, Golden Oak and Ivory Maple were incorporated into the bespoke emblems to emphasis the pupils’ unique designs. The individual motifs featured a diverse collection of images reflecting the school’s qualities and activities.

QEGS headteacher, Mrs Louise Gray, said: “Life at QEGS Junior School is all about gaining and building the confidence of the pupils through a variety of activities both in and out of the classroom. We believe that every boy’s contribution within the school community should be recognised and valued.”

“For this reason we felt it was appropriate to empower the pupils and give them the opportunity to make their individual mark on the school and help launch the refurbishment.”

The hardwearing attributes of Amtico flooring and the flexibility of the company’s design team influenced QEGS decision to turn to the vinyl flooring specialist as Mrs Gray explained.

“Our refurbishment was extensive and we required a floor that could withstand our demanding usage and high footfall for many years to come. In addition, Amtico’s custom design service allowed us to transform our initial ideas into reality creating a greater sense of ownership for our pupils.”

Mrs Gray added: “We ran a competition to find four designs which best represented the school’s qualities. The winning motifs featured sporting memorabilia, chess boards, keyboards as well as our school’s emblem, our QEGLET owl. We are delighted with the results.”

Sian Lewis, UK Marketing Manager at Amtico International, concluded: “Amtico’s custom design service transforms initial ideas into inspirational and functional floors reflecting the business environment. From creating a life-like grass effect to replicating a Monopoly board, our team of designers are constantly looking at ways to push the boundaries of flooring designs.”

For further information, please contact Sue Foster or Lizzie Furnell on 01902 714957 or email /


School safety is to be rewarded in a national campaign to find the UK’s unsung safety heroes.

Global tyre giant Goodyear is calling on pupils, parents and teachers to make the nominations in a bid to recognise those who make schools a safer environment to teach, learn and play.

Lollipop ladies who turn out rain or shine to cross children safely or school governors who work tirelessly to introduce playground safety equipment; whoever the person, Goodyear wants to know your reason to award them this prestigious accolade.

Schools will win high visibility jackets and a brightly coloured walking rope from the best twenty nominations received and a set of OptiGrip tyres will be awarded to the winning safety hero to thank them for their contribution to society.

Michelle Fisher, Goodyear’s brand manager, said: “Most communities across the UK know somebody who goes above and beyond their normal call of duty to help others. Goodyear wants to acknowledge these individuals and thank the schools for nominating them.

“Safety is an important message that needs to be communicated to children, especially when they are travelling to and from school. The message of be safe, be seen is still relevant today especially when drivers do not allow themselves enough stopping distance when braking. This can be countered by fitting Goodyear OptiGrip tyres, which provide shorter braking distances in the wet by revealing new tread as it wears.”

People are encouraged to send in their nominations to or via the Goodyear Tyres fan page on Facebook.


News release issued on behalf of Goodyear by Connect PR

For further information call Lee Southen on 01902 714 957 or email


A further education college turned to Amtico International when replacing its worn out carpet, opting for a more durable alternative.

North Hertfordshire College’s 700 sq metre upgrade, saw the installation of the Spacia Access range throughout the atrium of its Stevenage site. The e, area comprises of a 100 seater canteen, recreation area and learning resource centre.

The college’s suspended flooring required a range that could not only withstand the high footfall of students and was simple to maintain, but also flexible enough to easily gain access to the under floor utilities.

Head of Estates at North Hertfordshire College, Brian Sapsed, believes the contemporary finish enhances the professional image of the college.

He said: “We are very pleased with the wood effect flooring. The Bleached Elm creates a modern airy look that is more conducive to learning.

“Previously we had maroon carpet tiles that required endless maintenance. It was only five years old but looked completely worn. Spillages from the canteen diners were impossible to remove and the dark colour created an uninspiring impression.”

Contractors, Contract Design Flooring, CDF, specified and fitted the Amtico Spacia Access flooring. “Having worked with CDF on previous projects we have installed Amtico in various areas in our other four sites and have always found it to be very durable and retain its appearance. The Spacia Access range has enabled us to replicate these benefits and also reduce our maintenance cost.” added Brian.

Sian Lewis, UK Marketing Manager at Amtico International, said: “The Spacia Access range is designed to be installed without the need for a permanent adhesive and comes with a 10 year warranty. The versatile floor is available in wood, stone and abstract effects and is suitable for both semi-permanent and permanent commercial applications.”

Amtico International has 40 years’ experience in designing, engineering and manufacturing some of the most innovative and resilient flooring products in the world. The company delivers flooring solutions to industry and business as well as domestic environments.

For further information, please contact Sue Foster or on 01902 714957 or email

Tuesday 29 June 2010

Volkswagen Crafty test drive promotion's £5000 prize

As many van drivers and tradesmen look to down tools for a week or two and enjoy the warm weather with a well-earned break, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is giving the chance for them to boost their business too.

While enjoying the summer sunshine, tradesmen including plumbers, builders and electricians are being given the chance to get £5,000 of tools for their business.

Everyone taking a test drive in Volkswagen’s new Crafter van will be entered into a prize draw to win work-related equipment.

Simon Elliott, director of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles said: “As a company it’s important we continually look after our customers; this is one incentive to enable us to do just that.

“I’m sure all tradesmen and van drivers would welcome £5,000 of new business tools and hope to see many in the coming over the summer.

“By simply taking a Crafter for a test drive someone in our region could win £5,000 to help their business.”

To qualify for the £5,000 prize entrants must take a test drive in the Crafter before 30 September 2010.


A manager of a car retailer from Stowmarket has joined an elite group of motoring professionals to help set a new national standard in automotive management.

Gary Halestrap from
Barnards Volkswagen was selected by the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) to complete the innovative new Automotive Management Accreditation.

The aim is to enhance business performance and raise customer service even higher at the Stowmarket retailer and create a nationally recognised industry standard.

The automotive accreditation received regular input from Gary and his industry counterparts from various motoring disciplines, to ensure the scheme will benefit both the automotive sector and the customer experience.

Gary who has managed the Station Road site for eight years was required to complete a series of online assessments, video interviews and exams. The accreditation covered competencies including team building, selling, management development and customer relations to gain an NVQ Level 4 equivalent qualification.

As one of the pilot candidates for the scheme, Gary said: “I was delighted to be involved in this exciting new development in the motor industry.

“I have worked with the Volkswagen brand for 25 years and during this period the Volkswagen Training Academy has continually delivered a comprehensive training programme to retain and develop its top talent.

“This recent development from the IMI we provided an additional framework for Volkswagen to further enhance its existing courses and position Volkswagen as a leading employer for future retail managers.”

For further information please contact Sue Foster or Becki Oake on 01902 714957 or email /

Friday 25 June 2010

Connect PR hit the headlines

These weekly blogs always state that we hit the headlines here at Connect PR...

...It’s no wonder when one of our members of staff is dressed up as a giant uni-ball pen!
(Is that Becki pictured below?)
The very same people who created the Duracell bunny have worked with us to create the Jetstream 101 character, in an attempt to get the product in offices everywhere.

Saying that, the Jetstream 101’s wonderful levels of protection and unique pigment ink is already making the product a hit, didn’t you know?
All we need now is a name for the character.

We propose Jermain Jetstream, after Defoe’s predatory instincts in front of goal on Wednesday night. Maybe it will be his 101st goal for club and country in the process. Maybe not.

Giving football a mention as low down as the 6th sentence took some doing, as the whole of the country has been going World Cup crazy.

Another client, HiQ, has a vested interest in Sunday’s game with Germany. The fast fit network’s retail director is German, and he will be buying English breakfasts for his staff if Germany lose, such is his unwavering confidence.

Nobody has volunteered to buy Juergen Titz a continental breakfast if Germany win, funnily enough. All that cold meat would be enough to turn their stomachs after a bitter defeat.

This time last week, we’d be grateful to look forward to a last 16 game in the World Cup after such a dismal showing against Algeria.

The result was the only low point of our Connect World Cup party last Friday (hence the lack of weekly blog on June 18, sorry!)

Our male clients took to the Belfry golf course while our female guests got all manner of massages and beauty treatments, before the game was shown on a big screen for everyone to ‘enjoy.’

After 280 lost balls, countless aching limbs and a look of dishevelled bewilderment, the men regretted not taking their moisturisers.
Uni-ball's Stuart Barker did win some of Banks's finest beer for a close-ish tee shot at the 15th. (He is pictured above right with a rather gorgeous PR guru. Well done too, to Steve Trow and Neil Gow for their moments of glory)

Then, darts stars James Wade and Mark Webster took to the oche and showed what real competitive sport is all about. 180! Thanks again to everyone who came along.

Staying on the sport theme, we’ll throw you some more bait, courtesy of the Go Fishing Show that we are promoting on July 17 and 18.

With fish and chips wrapped strategically in the very headlines we have created around the event, Zoe and Becki took to the road to give reporters and editors something to chew over on Thursday.

It was a case of hook, line, and sinker as the pair spent valuable time with some of the finest hacks across the Staffordshire region, ahead of the show at Cudmore Fisheries. Click on for more.

That’s all for now. Talk can get a bit cheap when the results speak for themselves, eh Fabio?
Our results continue to amaze. So will England on Sunday. We’re going for a 3-0 win, courtesy of a Jetstream 101 hat-trick.

Enjoy the weekend. COME ON ENGLAND!

Tummies rumbling ahead of England clash!

For everyone in HiQ’s head office in Birmingham, the prospect of England beating Germany on Sunday afternoon is too mouth watering to contemplate.

Staff at HiQ, based in the Goodyear Dunlop headquarters in Tyre Fort, Erdington, are already getting their breakfast orders at the ready for Monday morning, courtesy of a wacky wager from their German boss.

HiQ’s retail director Juergen Titz is so confident that his side will beat England on Sunday that he has promised to buy full English breakfasts for all of his employees if they lose.

With around 15 members of the HiQ team expected through the Tyre Fort doors on Monday morning, the bet could hit Juergen just where it hurts most – his pocket.

Juergen said: “When England came second in their group, I just knew we were destined for an England v Germany showdown.

“I’d like nothing more that to see Joachim Lowe’s mighty men give England a sound beating. I am so confident that this will be the case that I have promised the HiQ team a full English breakfast each.

“When we come away with the victory, I am expecting a no-expense spared Continental breakfast on my desk first thing in the morning in return.”

HiQ’s marketing manager Geraldine McGovern said: “The office banter began as soon as the final whistle blew on England’s 1-0 win over Slovenia.

“We all had a feeling that the two nations would collide, and our tummies are already rumbling at the prospect of Sunday’s game!”

HiQ Taunton celebrates new era with a new acquisition

A fast fit retailer in Taunton has stolen a march on his rivals by extending his business and acquiring one of the most highly thought of technicians in the area.

Gary Thomson, owner of HiQ on Priory Bridge Road, has acquired the services of technician Dan Wormer, from the adjacent SAAB dealership, which he will now merge with.

The move will allow HiQ to offer motorists a dedicated service in MOT and repair in addition to the successful tyre focused operation currently in place.

The new centre, which will continue to offer SAAB motorists a specialist service, will operate alongside HiQ Taunton’s existing site.

Well known in the area for his knowledge and expertise in the fast fit industry, franchisee and owner Mr Thomson said he was thrilled to be working with such an experienced technician who is so highly regarded in the specialist sector.

He said: “To have Dan come on board with us at HiQ Taunton is a big move forward for the business. As well as continuing to offer motorists complete vehicle maintenance and repair, the new site will deal exclusively in MOT’s.

“Having the two sites in operation will undoubtedly give us more available time, space and equipment. I am excited about this business growth and I hope motorists will think of us when in the Taunton area.”

Dan Wormer started working in the automotive industry in 1972 spending over 35 years working for various SAAB dealerships.

He said: “After working solely with SAAB for so many years, it is great to merge with a franchise that has a great reputation and has grown so rapidly.”

The new site is offering motorists a budget proof MOT at just £29.95 for a 3 month period.

Thursday 24 June 2010


Two intrepid challengers from Isaac Agnew Volkswagen are taking on a notoriously tough trek along The Great Wall of China in aid of Parkinson’s Disease Society.

Tracey McClelland from Moira and Julie Stevenson from Belfast will embark on a 80km trek across three sections of the Great Wall and have already raised over half of their fundraising goal of £8,000.

The Volkswagen duo became firm friends after meeting at Isaac Agnew a number of years ago. After discovering several close friends and family were diagnosed with Parkinson’s the determined pair felt they needed to do something to try and help.

It’s full speed ahead for the novice walkers, who with the help of their Isaac Agnew colleagues have already held a highly successful Charity Fashion Show at Comber Rec FC, raising over £1,000 from ticket sales and a raffle.

The trek, which takes place on the 18th September, will encompass some of the most remote, picturesque and toughest sections of the Great Wall, including Gubeikou, Jinshanling and Simatai. Reaching highs of 700 metres, the challenge, which Julie and Tracey have funded themselves, will take five days to complete.

“We felt compelled to help raise funds for this very worthy charity, so they can continue their research and provide much needed support to sufferers and their families” says Tracey, Quality and Training Coordinator at Isaac Agnew.

“Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological condition and there is currently no cure. It is heartbreaking to discover your close friends and loved ones are having to go through this. So in our quest for answers we came across the China trek, and given that we are not walkers, felt this would be a suitable fundraising challenge to help raise awareness.”

“We are so grateful to our Isaac Agnew colleagues, their support is unquestionable from so generously donating, to helping us make our Charity Fashion Show such a success.”

So far Julie and Tracey have raised £6,483, if you would like to donate and help them exceed their goal visit

For further information please contact Sue Foster or Becki Oake on 01902 714957 or email /


Two new stationery products are set to take the classroom by storm as Mitsubishi Pencil Co. reveals its latest Back to School offering.

The pencil case is to be given more space as the magical uni-ball Fanthom arrives to replace the need for messy correction fluid and tape. Educated starlets young and old will be amazed by the Fanthom’s ability to easily erase text by using the pen’s cap to remove handwritten notes. Available in six different colours, the Fanthom is sold loose and in a variety of single, twin and triple pack formats.

uni-ball Signo Scents are another great addition to the pen pot. A collection of ten pens that smell fruity and sweet, they have fast become the talk of the playground as children collect them to write essays that stink and draw pictures that pong. Handwriting has never smelt so good thanks to the eye catching packaging, point of sale materials and a dedicated microsite that supports the range. Pens are sold individually and in packs of three or five.

Stuart Barker, marketing manager at Mitsubishi Pencil Co., said: "These new products expand our already extensive Back to School offering, which includes the ever-popular Jetstream and Signo ranges. With exceptional offers available in our Back to School / College promotion, retailers should take stock now to ensure their shelves are filled with today’s most sought after and innovative writing instruments.”

For further information on Mitsubishi Pencil Co. visit, or view their latest tweets on Twitter by following @uniball_uk.


Issued on behalf of Mitsubishi Pencil Co. by Connect PR

For further information, please contact: Lee Southen on 01902 714957 or email

Tuesday 22 June 2010

Emma-Jane looking pretty in pink

The marketing manager for HiQ’s largest franchise has teamed up with her sister to inflate the coffers of Cancer Research UK, after the selfless siblings put their best feet forward to raise £500 from a 5K run.

Emma-Jane Kisby, marketing manager for Easy Autocentres, and her sister Claire Murray, completed the Sutton Park Race for Life, to the delight of their friends and family.

Emma-Jane was treading a completely different path for the charity, and was delighted to inflate their coffers in the process.

She said: “It was a wonderful event, made even more special by competing with my sister Claire.

“To raise so much money for Cancer Research UK was great, and we’d both like to thank everyone who sponsored us and got behind us on the day.”

Emma-Jane’s fundraising is especially remarkable, after she donated £2,500 to Breast Cancer Care last year, on behalf of HiQ Erdington.

The sum of money is already being added to in 2010 and she hopes to raise even more for the cause when she officially opens the new HiQ Erdington centre in Bromford Lane in July, where a pound from every tyre sale will go to Breast Cancer Care.

She added: “Both charities are very close to our hearts and it is always nice to be able to contribute in whatever way we can.

“The money makes a huge difference to a great number of people, so we hope to carry out a lot more fundraising in the future.”

Osborne's red box delivers mixed bag for business owners

A specialist corporate tax lawyer says today’s budget could have been a lot worse for business owners and entrepreneurs in the region.

Susheel Gupta, a partner in Higgs & Sons’ expanding corporate team, says the reduction in corporation tax by one per cent per annum over the next four years and the small companies tax rate falling to 20 per cent next year are welcome changes.

“One positive move by the Chancellor is in entrepreneurs’ relief, which brings down capital gains tax to 10 per cent on the disposal of business assets of up to £5 million is a welcome change. The anticipated capital gains tax increase on non business assets to 28 per cent will only affect higher rate tax payers and coupled with retaining the annual allowance of £10,100 is better than expected news.

“For start up businesses in the Midlands it would also appear that there will be a tax break in employers national insurance contributions of up to £5,000 for the first 10 employees recruited.

“The downsides include the reduction in capital allowances for companies from 2012 and the VAT increase from 4 January 2011 will be of obvious concern to many businesses.

“I anticipate that this will lead to a higher level of activity within the retail sector this year but a tough first quarter in 2011.

“Hidden away in the announcement was a warning that the Government intends to introduce more general anti-avoidance legislation and we will have to wait to see exactly what this will entail.”

Silence on inheritance tax is welcome news says leading private client lawyer

The deathly silence in today’s budget on the inheritance tax threshold is welcome news for people across the region.

Laura Banks, a partner in Higgs & Sons’ growing private client team says the current inheritance tax threshold of £325,000, looks set to remain the same according to early reports on the budget.

“Initial budget reports are not showing any amendments to the inheritance tax system. However, with capital gains tax rates increasing for higher rate tax payers, prudent estate planning is now even more crucial.

“One surprise within the budget is that the annual exempt amount for CGT has not been reduced as was widely anticipated, but remains the same at £10,100.

“Estate planning is a complex area, but essential, if people are to maximise assets which can pass down the generations.

“In the run up to the budget we have been extremely busy and it shows no sign of slowing down. Our clients are taking every prudent step they can.”

More pressure on families says leading family lawyer

One of the region’s leading family lawyers says that Chancellor George Osborne’s budget could put extra pressure on families.

Philip Barnsley, head of Higgs & Sons’ family department, says today’s budget could be bad news for families in the region.

“Capping tax credits for families earning £40,000 per annum, combined with freezing child benefit for the next three years and the rise in VAT to 20 per cent from January 2011 would put extra pressure on already tight budgets and could lead to more family breakdowns.

“If members of the family work within the public sector there is also a freeze on pay over £21,000 for the next two years. This is in addition to public sector pension changes which see them being brought in line with consumer prices rather than retail prices.

“The recession has already led to more clients for our divorce specialists and I believe this budget may cause even more family conflict.”

Philip and his team are now reviewing the detail of the budget and will be advising clients in the coming days. To find out how the team can help you and your family contact Philip directly on 0845 111 5050.


A Hyde business is celebrating after being named one of the top Volkswagen retailers in 2009 for the third year running.

Smith Knight Fay Volkswagen in Gee Cross was awarded ‘Retailer Excellence’ status from Volkswagen UK for sales, service and parts, finishing fifth out of 215 sites nationwide.

Volkswagen monitors all retailers ensuring all areas of the business are performing according to Volkswagen standards and targets. The scores on areas including sales and customer satisfaction are then added up to reveal the annual results.

Only the top ten performing retailers on areas including customer service are awarded ‘Retailer Excellence’ status.

Stuart Hunt, brand manager at Smith Knight Fay Hyde, said: “I’m delighted the business has achieved a high position in the country.

“In the current economic climate, it’s vital for businesses to ensure consumers are pleased with the service they receive.

“We’re continuing to improve all areas of the business and hope to achieve a higher position in 2010.”

Chris Craft, Director of Volkswagen Group UK Ltd, said: “It’s important to inform retailers know how the different areas of their business are performing.

“To be awarded ‘Retailer Excellence’ status for the third successive year is a fantastic achievement.”

Monday 21 June 2010

HiQ reflects on a scorching weekend of racing

If HiQ thought that voting for its Champagne Moment from Croft would be relatively straightforward, it had to radically change its opinion after a scintillating round of racing in the north east.

Gordon Shedden and Andrew Jordan may have shared the wins in the three races, but there were so many other impressive drives throughout the field, making this Champagne Moment the most difficult to predict yet.

Notably Jordan’s win was his first in the series and also marked the first for BTCC organiser TOCA’s turbocharged ‘NGTC’ engine. But at the top of the championship it is still Matt Neal who continues to lead old rival Jason Plato as the BTCC enters a lengthy summer break before returning to high-speed action at Snetterton in Norfolk on 8 August.In scorching sunshine and in front of a bumper Croft crowd, Scottish ace Shedden won the first two races – his first victories of 2010. In a battle-scarred Honda Civic, he also took ninth place in race three and as a result has moved from sixth up to third in the standings to pressurise Honda Racing Team team-mate Neal and Silverline Chevrolet’s Plato.Jordan’s maiden win came in race three. The 21-year-old from Lichfield led all the way in his Pirtek Racing Vauxhall Vectra which is powered by the BTCC’s new Next Generation Touring Car engine – being used ahead of full-blown NGTC regulations being introduced in 2011.Shedden, aged 31 from Dalgety Bay said: “I’m so happy with today – 35 points is a brilliant haul and it gets me right back into the title hunt. It was a shame I had a bit of a duffer in race three as I felt my car was good enough to have finished on the podium in that one as well but I can’t complain. If someone had offered me those results before the weekend I’d have bitten their hand off.”An emotional Jordan commented: “Last time out at Oulton Park my day ended on top of the barriers. I’ve ended today on the top step of the podium and it’s a great reward for all my crew who’ve rebuilt the car in between. I’m ecstatic and it’s the perfect Father’s Day present for my dad (Mike, who runs the Pirtek team).”Meanwhile, Worcestershire’s Neal took fourth and second place finishes in races one and two (in the latter he crossed the line behind Shedden to give the Honda squad a dream 1-2 result) as Oxford-based Plato took a pair of thirds. Both then suffered punctured tyres in race three – Neal retiring, Plato rejoining after a pit stop to go on and score a valuable point for setting the fastest lap in his Chevrolet Cruze. It means that just as after the previous round at Oulton Park they continue to be separated by just eight points.

Other drivers to make it onto the podium today were Robert Collard, Tom Onslow-Cole and Steven Kane. WSR BMW driver Collard was second in race one before suffering some cruel luck in races two and three. Onslow-Cole (Team Aon Ford Focus) and Kane (Airwaves BMW) would then spray the champagne in race three with second and third places respectively. A mention should also go to 18-year-old Daniel Lloyd who made a great impression on his BTCC debut, twice achieving top ten points-scoring finishes in his Triple Eight-run Vauxhall Vectra.

Elsewhere Honda/Dynamics has stretched its advantage over Arena/Ford in the Manufacturer/Constructor Championship and the Honda Racing Team has also moved past Airwaves BMW into the lead of the HiQ Teams standings. Onslow-Cole has leapt from third to the top of the Independent Drivers table but only by two points from previous leader Kane. Airwaves BMW remains in front in the Independent Teams Championship, although closest rival Team Aon has cut the gap down to just seven points from 23.

BTCC Drivers’ Points after Croft (round 5 of 10):
1. Matt Neal, 1192. Jason Plato, 1113. Gordon Shedden, 1004. Tom Onslow-Cole, 975. Steven Kane, 92=6. Mat Jackson, 79
=6. Paul O’Neill, 79
8. Robert Collard, 67
9. Tom Chilton, 6010. Andrew Jordan, 51HiQ Teams’ Points:1. Honda Racing Team, 2032. Airwaves BMW,1693. Team Aon, 1484. Silverline Chevrolet, 1395. Uniq Racing with 888, 826., 80


A Newton Abbot retailer has been boosted by the appointment of a new senior manager to its team.

Steve Read is Murray Volkswagen’s new after sales manager, taking control of the company’s growing service department.

He is one of the most experienced service managers in the UK, with over 30 years’ service in the industry.

The 49-year-old has worked in the south west since 1988, but started his career as an apprentice in 1977.

He now oversees after sales at the site on The Avenue and its sister retailer in Plymouth.

Kevin Murray, brand director at Murray Volkswagen, is delighted with Steve’s appointment. He said: “Steve has vast experience with the Volkswagen brand and across the service sector of the business; his expertise is a valuable addition to the team in Newton Abbot.

“The main focus will be to deliver consistently high levels of service to customers.”

During Steve’s automotive career he has successfully moved up the career ladder with a variety of manufacturers. His previous roles include technician, master technician, workshop foreman and assistant service manager.

He said: “I am looking forward to the fresh challenge. The staff at Newton Abbot are fantastic and I’m looking forward to working closely with them.

“There is a low staff turnover which provides a great platform for customers to build a rapport with staff and vice versa.”

Friday 18 June 2010


A group of intrepid colleagues from Alan Day Volkswagen in New Southgate took on a notoriously tough climbing challenge to help fund a World Challenge expedition to the Himalayas, raising over £1,000.

Alan Day employees, David Wormald from Peckham, Nick Wells from Walthamstow and Andre Van Breda from Wimbledon joined three other trekkers to raise £1,100 to help fund David’s daughter, Frances’, World Challenge educational expedition, later this year.

The money was raised after the team took part in the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge, climbing Pen-y-Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough - the three highest mountains in Yorkshire – all in under 12 hours.

The novice walkers agreed to support Frances’ fundraising challenge after the 17 year old raised over £2,000 for her expeditions by undertaking odd jobs for friends and colleagues.

Alan Day Volkswagen Van Centre also provided a Caravelle for the trek, easing travel arrangements and providing a much needed support vehicle for drinks in between summit climbs.

Alan Day’s accountant and trek team captain, David, said: “We were very happy to support Frances fundraising efforts; she has worked so hard and the 24.5 miles walk was ideal preparation for her Himalayan trek.

“We were so grateful to Alan Day for providing our transport and my partner’s initial driving concerns were unfounded as she found the van very easy to drive.

“Although we did some training we certainly all found the walk a lot harder than we expected, but the generous donations from Alan Day and our colleagues helped push us to complete the challenge in 11 hours and 40 minutes.”

World Challenge provides educational expeditions in the developing world for young people to help develop their life skills. All explorers are required to raise all money needed to fund their expedition.

For further information please contact Sue Foster or Becki Oake on 01902 714957 or email /

Wednesday 16 June 2010

Volkswagen seek 60-year-old tradesmen to share Transporter Van's birthday celebrations

Volkswagen has launched a search for the nation’s hardest-working 60-year-old tradesman to share the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Transporter commercial vehicle.

Since the Volkswagen Transporter was first introduced in the UK March 1950, the vehicle has undergone five generations of body-style and more than 10 million have been produced, making it one of the most popular vans on the country’s roads.

To mark the Transporter’s 60th anniversary, Volkswagen is searching for tradesmen with the same staying-power as the Transporter.

Simon Elliott, director of Commercial Vehicles said: “1950 marked an important era for the automotive world and the Volkswagen Transporter has become one of the most iconic vans on the road today. We are looking for local tradesman who can boast the same – they’re hard-working, enduring, they’ve evolved through the decades to become better at what they do and, above all, they’re 60 this year.

“We know there are lots of tradesmen of that age in the UK and we want to recognise them. We’re asking anyone eligible to contact us and tell us what they do, how long they’ve been doing it and why they believe they’re the hardest working tradesman in the area.

“We’ll pick a winner and they can share in the Transporter’s 60th birthday celebrations, complete with a cake!” added Simon.

The first generation of the Transporter, known as a split screen or camper van, was an instant success amongst Britain’s motorists. Since then, the Transporter has been through various stages of development; seeing a diesel engine introduced in 1980, and a four-wheel-drive version in 1985. Later models have received a host of awards including the Van of the Year accolade by What Van? in 2004.

The latest Transporter model, T-5, arrived on forecourts earlier this year, offering lower CO2 emissions, improved torque and a wide range of standard safety and optional features, including industry-leading Lane Change Assist.

However the design has evolved over the years, the first and the latest Transporter share the same badge on the front and the same design principles - a generous load-space and an enviable reputation for quality and durability.

Anyone wanting to nominate a candidate can do so by contacting us at or via Twitter at by August 27th.

New team drives barnstaple business forward

A Barnstaple car retailer has expanded its aftersales team to meet the growing demands of its customers.

Barnstaple Volkswagen has recruited eight new specialists enhancing its customer service, including Aftersales Manager, Glenn Hopkins.

Glenn, 26, has successfully achieved the managerial role after only eight years in the automotive industry.

Having begun his career as a mechanic, Glenn swiftly developed his skills to technical and advisory roles before progressing to managerial roles within the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicle division at Silver Street Taunton.

Glenn’s latest position at Barnstaple Volkswagen, part of the Silver Street Automotive Group, will focus on developing the customer service procedures to ensure a consistently high level of service is delivered at all times.

He said: “ This is a great opportunity and I am looking forward to the new challenge.

“My first task will be getting to know all the customers and staff plus coordinating and implementing a training programme for our new team members.”

The new recruits include technicians, Richard Adams, Rob Box and Dorian-Wolf Kiss, service administrator, Nathan Beresford, service advisor Steve Kidd, showroom host Bridget Orrell and valetor Jamie Boon.

Barnstaple Volkswagen Brand Manager, Andrew Smale, said: “We have had a very successful start to 2010 and our new recruits, led by Glenn’s expertise, will enable us to enhance our service and continue to drive the business forward. “

The Barnstaple Volkswagen retailer is presently recruiting for a parts technician and sales staff. Suitable individuals can contact 0844 2479219.

New appointment drives Vindis rental empire

A Cambridge van centre has seen a boost in business following its latest senior management appointment.

Rob Mackridge, from Cambridge, has transformed Vindis Van Centre’s commercial vehicle rental division into a thriving business, in just three months.

The new rental manager is the driving force behind the van centre’s latest business success, securing a number of short and long term contracts.

The 37-year-old joined Vindis with over 16 years of vehicle rental experience that incorporated both passenger cars and commercial vehicles. Having begun his career as a driver, Rob swiftly progressed to branch manager and regional business manager roles for national rental companies and, more latterly, specialising in regional positions for specific manufacturers.

Based in St Ives the Vindis van rental business covers the entire Vindis Volkswagen Group which covers all of Cambridgeshire, Bedford, Fakenham and Bishops Stortford.

Speaking of the new role, Rob, said: “This is a very exciting time for Vindis. Our fleet incorporates the entire Volkswagen commercial vehicle range including the recently launched Transporter through to Kombi and Luton derivatives enabling us to cater for all businesses and customers’ needs.

“We have already secured a number of high profile short term contracts with Flexi-Able and Kershaws UK plus a long term hire of three Caddy’s with Elite Gas.”

Shane Fenwick, brand manager at Vindis Van Centre, said: “We are very happy with the early success of the rental service.

“We are continually looking at ways in which to expand the business and Rob’s wealth of expertise and knowledge in this sector is ideal to help strengthen the Vindis brand in all our sites and offer our customers an even more comprehensive service.”

Onslow-Cole wins his first champagne moment

Tom Onslow-Cole has underlined his credentials as a serious challenger for the British Touring Car Championship title – by winning the latest HiQ champagne moment award.

The Team Aon star sped away with a win from the recent round of racing at Oulton Park, and can now add a bottle of HiQ bubbly to his trophy cabinet.

It is the first time Tom has won the accolade, after narrowly missing out on several occasions in 2008.

Tom has thanked the BTCC fans for their support, and hopes to keep up the momentum at Croft this weekend, when he will hope to make further ground on the championship leaders.

He said: “I enjoyed a successful weekend at Oulton Park and it is great to win the HiQ champagne moment to give me something to remember the weekend by.

“It is great to be back in the series. I have learnt a lot in the Ford Focus and I feel that I’m growing as a driver all the time. I’m gaining momentum at the right time and feel in great shape ahead of Croft.

“The car is as good as anything I have driven and it is wonderful to win this award, on behalf of everyone at Team Aon who do so much behind the scenes.”

Tom polled 37 per cent of votes, beating Jason Plato into second place (29 per cent) with James Nash third (9 per cent).

Susan Cook, of West Bridgford, was picked at random to present Tom with his bottle of champagne and will also win a bottle for himself, as well as a grid walk and a pair of complimentary weekend race passes.

HiQ’s marketing manager Geraldine McGovern said: “It is great to see Tom performing so well, and challenging at the top end of the standings.

“He is fully deserving of our champagne moment award, and our only surprise is that he hasn’t won one earlier. Well done!”


A golf fanatic has achieved a lifetime’s ambition and bagged a new car in the process.

Garth Harbison secured his first ever hole-in-one during a charity event at Fulwell Golf Club, Twickenham, after 36 years of trying.

The 45-year-old then picked up his new Volkswagen Polo from Twickenham Volkswagen on another special day – his birthday.

He said: “I’m still trying to understand what I’ve done! Winning the car was brilliant, but securing the hole-in-one is one of the best feelings I’ve ever had.

“I knew I’d hit the ball well, but didn’t see it drop because the hole was obscured due to the pin placement.

“Luckily two people were watching the hole and confirmed what had happened.”

The air traffic controller was playing in a fourball during the Captain’s Charity Day when he secured his ambition at the 158-yard 9th hole.

He was one of 140 golfers who played that hole on the day.

Fulwell Golf Club’s men’s captain, Peter Bowpitt, said: “It was a superb day with £6,197.42 raised for the Shooting Star Children’s Hospice and Kingston Hospital’s Cardiac Unit.

“Garth’s hole-in-one capped the day off brilliantly and made sure everyone will remember it for a long time.”

The women’s captain, Jane O’Neill added: “Thanks to the sponsorship from Twickenham Volkswagen Garth will have two fantastic memories of the day.”

Having played the game for so long Garth calculates that he must have played in the region of 50,000 holes and was coming to the conclusion that a hole in one would elude him.

He added: “Word quickly spread about what I’d done and soon there was lots of people congratulating me and asking me how I’d done it.

“I couldn’t give them a definitive answer but I’m sure everyone enjoyed the drinks I bought in the clubhouse.

Twickenham Volkswagen’s brand manager, Sanjay Pathak, said: “We’re really pleased for Garth, both for the hole-in-one and winning the Polo, and wish him many happy driving miles.

“Shooting Star Children’s Hospice and the Kingston Hospital’s Cardiac Unit provide vital services to the region and it’s important to help raise funds and awareness of them.”

Tuesday 15 June 2010

Van Centre boosts its senior management expertise

An Ipswich van centre has appointed a servicing expert to head up 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.

Gerald 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 am looking forward to progressing.”

Head of Business at Wolsey Van Centre 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.”


A Swindon man has led a charity team on a 40 mile trek to raise almost two thousand pounds for the children’s charity, Action Medical Research, for children, for life.

Jon Owens and his team, the VW Trekkers, took part in the Cotswold Plod and have so far raised £1,750 to help the charity treat sick babies and tackle premature births. The team now hope further donations help them reach their £2,000 target.

The brand manager at Mann Egerton Volkswagen was joined by Simon Gait, John Pitt and Stuart Braley in the VW Trekkers team as they walked 40 miles from Dursley to Cleeve Hill.

The Cotswold Plod started at midnight on June 11th and the VW Trekkers completed the route in just 16 hours 20 minutes, finishing 5th out of the 14 competing teams.

Jon said: “We’re delighted to have completed the trek in such a good time, but more importantly we’ve raised almost £2,000 for such a worthwhile cause.

“We started at night and trekking through the dark early hours was difficult, but when the sun came up, the views were stunning and helped alleviate the injuries we suffered.

“Everyone has very sore legs and plenty of blisters, so we hope people in Swindon and Wiltshire continue to support our walk with further donations.”

To sponsor Jon and his team go to

Monday 14 June 2010


Maidstone’s Volkswagen retailer is once again backing the Kent Golf Day in aid of the Bobby Moore Fund for Cancer research UK.

Beadles is providing a car for the event on 23rd June, for the person who can score a hole-in-one on the 17th hole.

Staged at the Redlibbets Golf Club in Ash the event, sponsored by Beadles Volkswagen, will see over 120 people tee off hoping to raise vital funds in memory of the ex-England captain.

Beadles brand manager Keith Dowle is looking forward to the event.

He said: “It is a testament to the people of Kent that so many golfers want to take part and raise money for such a good cause.

“We are extremely happy to support the event, looking forward to seeing everyone on the day and people shooting for the car.”

Further hole-in-one prizes are a golfing break in the Le Meridien Resort, Spain, a two day golf break for four at the Belfrey and a set of Callaway Diablo Edge Irons. They’re available at the 6th 8th and 13th holes.

The Bobby Moore Fund was set up by the late England hero’s widow Stephanie Moore MBE in conjunction with Cancer Research UK. It was established in 1993 to raise money for research into bowel cancer after Sir Bobby died of the disease earlier that year aged just 51.

The proceeds of the golf day will go towards funding pioneering work into the prevention and treatment of bowel cancer as well as raising public awareness of the causes and symptoms.

Mrs Moore said: “Bobby was never happier than when he was playing on a fine course in good company. A massive thank you to Beadles and everyone for supporting the Bobby Moore Fund and making our work possible.”


A parts advisor from Altrincham is celebrating after passing a new training course designed to benefit customers.

Andy Lennon, who works for Gilbert Lawton Volkswagen, recently completed the senior parts advisor aftersales qualification programme, launched by Volkswagen’s Training Academy.

The 28-year-old has worked for Gilbert Lawton for nearly ten years and is focussing on his next career goal, training to be a parts manager by 2011.

He said: “I am ecstatic and relieved to have passed the course and really proud to have done so well.

“The course taught me new skills to help give customers the best advice when they want something new for their car.”

During the 12-month course Andy completed practical and theoretical assessments, take part in an interview and conduct a presentation on a project he was responsible for running.

Gilbert Lawton’s brand manager, Alister Stones, said: “We believe that having knowledgeable staff is paramount to the success of a business.

“We are all very proud of Andy and think his new skills will provide customers with the best parts advice possible.”

Friday 11 June 2010

Connect PR hits the headlines!

Like the England national team, these Connect PR weekly blogs are a bit like the tried and trusted 4-4-2...

...Easy to look at, well drilled, and with an emphasis to show off our attacking skills.

But as Fabio Capello will tell you, any formation is only as good as the players within it.

So with that in mind, we’re pleased to unveil our Connect PR line-up to you, as we liken each member of the team to a current World Cup nation.

After all, there are only so many times we can say how successful we’ve been. And in case you were wondering, we’ve had another fabulous week, and our clients are continuing to reap the rewards of our hard work.

Lee Southen = Germany. Ruthlessly efficient, grinding out the results with mechanical monotony. (see double page spread in Carpet and Flooring review for Amtico. Eat my goal)

Richard Knowles = Cameroon. Like Roger Miller, Rich is older than all of his teammates put together, and tends to wiggle his hips in the corner of the office when he gets Volkswagen in the news.

Lizzie Furnell = Australia. Relatively new to the World stage, but is equally adept in getting results for every client she works on, rather like the Aussies when playing cricket, rugby, swimming, or any other damn sport.

Kathy Hodgson = Brazil. Always in the final shake-ups, getting new business accounts like Brazil get World Cup wins.

Ben Smallman = Ivory Coast. Ben has actually been chosen to write blogs for the African nation in the Daily Telegraph in a massive coup for the football nut. He’ll also entertain like the Ivorians with some great office gags. Check out

Becki Oake (pictured) = Chile. Chile scored 32 times in qualifying. Becki has shifted 32 Volkswagen ‘Evolution of Van’ posters in the last 30 minutes. Say no more.

Zoe Guest = Japan. Drives a Suzuki, which is made in Japan isn’t it? Also likely to break your arm - as well as Drogba’s - if you tell her that her cuttings sheet for Goodyear is wrong.

Sue Foster = England. Generating PR for Weston Park - a jewel in the heart of our green and pleasant land – Sue just has to be England. Plus, she swears like Wayne Rooney.

Hazel Crawford-Upton = Spain. Like a Spanish senorita, she teams up with her workforce like Torres teams up with Villa. Great on paper, great in just about every other aspect too. (Come on, this is the boss we’re referring to here!)

Enjoy the World Cup and the weekend.
Yours in Sport
Connect PR

Car retailer set to challenge motorists

A Cambridge car retailer is so confident its new cars are the cheapest to run that it is challenging motorists to test its claim and if proved wrong will give out Marks and Spencer’s vouchers.

Vindis Volkswagen in St Ives is hosting its Cheaper to Change Challenge this weekend (Saturday 19th June – Sunday 20th June).

The St Ives car retailer will demonstrate how the new Volkswagen models are leaders in fuel efficiency. The vehicles’ lower consumption levels mean fewer emissions leading to cheaper road tax and if customers are not satisfied by the finding, they will walk away with £25 of Marks and Spencer’s vouchers.

Motorists are asked to book in advance to secure a Cheaper to Change appointment by calling 0844 567 2582 or email

The Volkswagen challenge will check and compare customers’ current vehicles to the nearest Volkswagen equivalent and use an online comparator to show the cost saving as Shane Fenwick, Vindis Volkswagen brand manager, explains.

“We so confident that our new models are the cheapest to run that we are quite literally putting our money where our mouth is.

“At a time when consumers are acutely aware of their financial outgoings and carbon footprint, we are looking forward to challenging Cambridge drivers to help them find an efficient motoring solution.”

Vindis Volkswagen is also offering drivers a finance package of typical 7.9% APR available across the whole Volkswagen range plus three years or 30,000 miles servicing packages for £250.

Breakfast seminar aims to help region's businesses understand latest employment laws

Employment law experts from the West Midlands and national recruitment agency Reed HR have joined forces to host a breakfast seminar to help businesses from the region keep their companies compliant with ever-changing laws and processes.

A team from Higgs & Sons’ employment law department is working with Reed to offer Reed HR clients a valuable insight into changes within the employment law field and help them understand the implications for their businesses, and reduce their risk.

The Effective Exits and Employment Law Update event, which will take place on Tuesday June 15th at the Waterfront Business Park in Brierley Hill, is aimed at HR professionals, company directors and business owners.

Damian Kelly, a partner in Higgs & Sons’ employment department, said: “We have joined forces with Reed HR to support businesses across the region through a series of seminars.

“Employment law can be very complex and to fall foul of it can have a disastrous impact on a business. Those individuals that are accountable for making ‘people related’ decisions have an increasing responsibility to comply with ever changing employment legislation We plan to cut through the jargon and highlight any essential changes that HR professionals and businesses in the Midlands need to be aware of to ensure their companies continue to run efficiently,” he said.

To find out more contact Louise O’Connor on 0845 111 5050 or email

HiQ investing in further fast fit expertise with a Carr purchase

The HiQ network is celebrating a new addition to its team with the appointment of a new fast fit manager.

Stuart Carr has been unveiled as the network’s new fast fit manager and has been lured from IN’n’OUT Services Ltd, where he worked as an operations project manager for three years.

He will immediately begin increasing sales opportunities for franchisees in their servicing, mechanical, and repair offerings.

High on his agenda is the development of HiQ’s fleet servicing proposition while he will also assist franchisees with new industry products and machinery, while providing support with their centre layouts and design.

HiQ’s commercial manager Farrell Dolan said: “The appointment of Stuart is a major coup for us at HiQ.

“His role is a pivotal one and we’re delighted with his arrival. We recognise the importance of growing profit for every one of our franchisees.

“We believe that there is lots of potential to do this, particularly in franchisees’ ‘non-tyre activities’ which is why we have created this role.”

Stuart is a fully trained automotive technician, so is more than familiar with the fast fit industry. And in addition is a certified project manager, which is critical as new HiQ sites are developed and opened over the next two years.

He said: “This is a huge job and one that I am really looking forward to. I bring a lot of practical experience to the table that will assist in developing the HiQ strategy.

“The role will be concentrated around driving and setting the strategies for franchisees’ non tyre business.

“I have always been able to provide an effective link between centre managers and the executive team and I look forward to doing the same at HiQ.”

The announcement is further good news for the network, which recently announced its quarter one trading figures.

Total gross profit for the opening quarter rose to 9.9 per cent compared to the same period in 2009.

Total tyre sales grew to 5.4 per cent while total footfall increased by 8.6 per cent in a set of impressive figures for the fast fit car care brand.

Thursday 10 June 2010


uni POSCA has celebrated the diversity of European culture thanks to its sponsorship of a flagship street festival.

Held over the May bank holiday weekend in Manchester, Eurocultured featured work from over 1,000 European artists to showcase the very best in live art as well as dance, performance and music from across the continent.

As part of the sponsorship, POSCA marker pens were used to brighten up retail units and cobbled streets by completely transforming windows, brick walls and metal shutters.

Talented POSCA artists such as Matt Jones were on hand to demonstrate the qualities of the pen and pupils from St Ambrose Barlow High School in Swinton penned a selection of European sights on the windows of an empty shop unit at Piccadilly Place.

Stuart Barker, marketing manager at Mitsubishi Pencil Co., said: “We are pleased to have supported a project that widely recognises POSCA as an essential item for any artist. POSCA’s range of vibrant colours and line widths have created some visually stunning pieces of art that were exclusively revealed to audiences at Eurocultured. The work has revitalised this part of Manchester and we would urge everyone visiting the area to take a look for themselves.”

For further information on uni-ball visit, or view their latest tweets on Twitter by following @uni_posca.


Issued on behalf of Mitsubishi Pencil Co. by Connect PR

For further information, please contact: Lee Southen on 01902 714957 or email

Search begins to catch an Angling Ambassador

The Go Fishing Show is looking to find an Angling Ambassador to represent the sport at a national level.

Avid anglers are invited to tell the team at The Go Fishing Show why they deserve to become an Angling Ambassador by emailing details of the lengths they go to in promoting the pastime in their local area.

Judges will shortlist just five finalists who will each receive a pair of tickets to the show on 17 and 18 July and a money can’t buy prize will be given to one overall winner along with £2,000 worth of angling prizes.

Show organiser, Jo Burton, says the competition will highlight the high levels of passion and knowledge people have for fishing. She comments: “We regularly receive feedback from the public about ways in which they are promoting angling in their local area demonstrating that it is one of Britain’s biggest and most popular leisure activities.

“Examples range from submitting angling competition summaries to local newspapers to establishing groups for young people to take up fishing. We want to share the best examples of people sharing their love and knowledge of fishing.”

As well as receiving a goody bag with £2,000 worth of fishing prizes, the overall winner will also get to work with the Angling Times team and see their review of the show uploaded onto the magazine’s web site.

How to Enter
Entrants should email a description of the ways in which they promote angling and how they encourage others to take part to along with a picture of themselves. Entries should be received by 2 July 2010.

A ‘Money Can’t Buy’ Prize
Five finalists will receive tickets to the show and the overall winner will receive angling equipment and have the chance to submit a report of their experience of the show to be uploaded onto the Angling Times web site.

A summary of some of the best entries, including our five finalists, will be uploaded on a deciated blog: and entries will also be promoted via the dedicated Twitter and Facebook profiles that have been set up specifically for this year’s Go Fishing Show.

The Go Fishing Show takes place at Cudmore Fisheries, Newcastle-under-Lyme on 17 and 18 July. Offering an array of exciting features, the show promises to be a real family fun day out. Throughout the weekend the show will be overflowing with fishing activities for novice and die-hard anglers alike.

Features include the prestigious Fish O’Mania competition, where Britain’s best anglers battle it out for a whopping £25k prize; World Champs Alley, giving visitors the chance to meet the world’s best anglers; as well as interactive zones where you can touch, try and test everything to do with fishing.

The Go Fishing Show also looks set to be a record breaker, putting on the biggest coaching session ever staged around the complex’s ten fish-filled lakes.

Making this weekend extra special for the family, there is an interactive outdoors fun fair for youngsters to enjoy and what’s even better is that on Sunday 18th July, children aged 15 and under get in completely free!

For ticket information and prices, please visit the Go Fishing Show website


Amtico International has launched a new training course to maintain the high standards of installation delivered to its customer base.

The one day Spacia Contour course welcomes flooring specialists from across the UK who want to learn more about this exclusive product range. Installed using Amtico International EasyGrout, the new ready mixed grouting solution, Spacia Contour delivers a genuine tiled effect that provides the perfect alternative to traditional ceramic tiles, but with the added durability of vinyl.

Priced at £95 per person and based at Amtico International’s UK and European Sales office in Solihull, the course will show floor fitters how to install Spacia Contour efficiently, to a high standard and with confidence.

In addition to the Spacia Contour course, the Amtico training centre provides a three day Floor Installation course covering skills, new tools and up to date techniques in the installation of Amtico International products. With ten fitting bays and two demonstration areas, the course covers all aspects of installation including sub-floor identification and preparation, levelling compounds, adhesive selection and hands on installation including designs and layouts.

Sian Lewis, marketing manager for Amtico International, said: “These courses have been designed as part of our ongoing commitment and investment to support the flooring industry as a whole. We hope that those trained will deliver the necessary skills that are needed to meet the high standards of installation.”

For more information about course dates, availability or to book your place, please call the Amtico International training centre on 0121 745 0821.


Issued on behalf of Amtico International by Connect PR

For further information, please contact Lee Southen on 01902 714957 or email

Wednesday 9 June 2010


A Loughton van centre is celebrating after securing a £1.7 million pound deal with a facilities management company to supply over 80 vehicles for its refrigeration division.

Abridge Volkswagen Van Centre has provided the entire fleet of 88 Volkswagen vehicles to Arcus Engineering, who operate the refrigeration maintenance contract in the South East for leading food retailer, Sainsbury’s.

Arcus Engineering, based in Upminster, was launched earlier this year as a new sister company to ArcusFM. The facilities management provider presently manages the facilities contract for the national network of Sainsbury’s stores and its new refrigeration division expands the company’s portfolio.

The fleet mostly comprises of the recently launched more fuel-efficient Volkswagen Transporter vans plus some of the smaller Volkswagen Caddy for easier manoeuvrability around Greater London. The vehicles interior conversions and contract hire agreement has been managed by Lex Autolease.

Past experience and reputation of the Volkswagen brand secured the deal as ArcusFM fleet manager, Janet Bass, explained.

She said: “It was imperative that we launched Arcus Engineering with a fleet that was reliable and robust. Abridge Van Centre was very helpful throughout the process by providing a range of demonstrator vehicles that we could test at our leisure before making the decision.

“We are now looking at introducing Volkswagen vehicles into ArcusFM fleet.”

Wendy Williamson, commercial sales manager at Abridge Van Centre, added: “We are delighted that Arcus Engineering is satisfied with the vehicles and our customer service. We continually work hard on providing a high level of customer service and developing our links with local businesses; and we believe this is acquisition is evidence of that.”

For further information on the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles range of vans and passenger carrying vehicles, or any of the latest finance offers at Abridge Volkswagen Van Centre call 08444 128 983.

For more information contact Sue Foster or Becki Oake on 01902 714 957 or email /

Monday 7 June 2010


Northgate Volkswagen is getting behind an up and coming swimming star as he prepares for one of the most important competitions of his swimming career, the GB National Youth Finals.

Danny Proffitt, 15, who swims for West Suffolk Swimming Club at Haverhill Leisure Centre has been participating in competitive events for the past seven years.

His latest challenge is to compete in the GB National Youth Finals before working towards the European Youth Championship Finals in 2012 representing his country.

Brand Manager of Northgate Volkswagen in Bury St Edmounds, Rob Rolfe recently presented Danny with his sponsorship certificate.
James said: “The local community is very important to us and we have made it our company policy to support individuals from the region where we can.

“We are very pleased to assist Danny in his quest to reach the European Finals and we would like to wish him the very best of success in reaching his goal.”

For more information please contact Sue Foster or Becki Oake on 01902 714 957 or email /

Friday 4 June 2010

Connect PR hit the headlines!

You’ve got to hold and give and do it at the right time...

...No, we’re not talking about our beautifully crafted press releases here at Connect PR, but the World Cup, which is keeping us all busy at the moment.

Yes, yes, checking up on Fabio’s final 23 man squad took up a bit of time this week, but we’ve also been doing a lot of World Cup work for our clients too.

WD-40, that bastion of lubrication, has sprayed its name onto the Greatest Show on Earth by issuing free England car flags with every can of WD-40 sold at independent retailers.

Check out our picture of Zoe (above), already flying one of the flags out of her executive Audi A5. It’s amazing what our account executives can afford. She’ll be buying a pair of Jimmy Choos for £500 next.

I wonder how many Johnstone’s Paint Trophy mini-footballs £500 quid could buy?

We’re no experts in the maths department, so we’ve been offering the exclusive merchandise to allow fans to have a ball as the World Cup approaches.

A host of top titles are running the competitions in the coming days to keep the trophy in everyone’s minds as the summer officially arrives.

Would you like one? Just leave a comment at the end of this blog and we’ll drop one in the post to you, you lucky things!

Meanwhile, back on the coal face, Kathy and Ben have been learning everything about underfloor heating systems at a two day seminar on installation and application, courtesy of Uponor.

The fact neither of them have homes suitable for underfloor heating is now of little consequence. The pair of them are painting their very own meander and bifilar patterns, (below suitably screeded floors of course!) and have got new birthday present requests!

Our new client Uponor is revolutionising the plumbing and underfloor heating market and it was a real eye opener to see just how advanced their heating systems are.

So advanced in fact, that then mere sight of a copper pipe has brought Ben out in a rash, and Kathy in a fit of rage. Thanks Uponor, for a marvellous couple of days.

And finally, Connect PR has been reminded to keep up the social networking, courtesy of a new addition to the office.

A little bird (we were thinking of the Common Tit, but Richard wasn’t about unfortunately) flew into the office today and tweeted its little heart out.

Obviously lost, dazed and confused, the feathered friend was eventually plucked from danger and thrown back into the Wolverhampton sky. No surprise that he flew back to us five minutes later then. Poor thing.

In seriousness, the cute little bird reminded us of the virtues of twitter, and other social networking sites. We have long pioneered the use of such sites and our clients have been benefiting for months of tweeting.

HiQ, Baxi, WD-40, Uni-ball, Reeves, Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, Volkswagen and so many other clients are all reaping the rewards of regular dialogue with their end users. It really is invaluable, and we’re so pleased, if not humble, to have stolen a march on so many other agencies in this area.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Connect PR


A Welsh male voice choir and a local teenage soloist helped Pentraeth Motor Group celebrate their 30th anniversary.

The event was attended by over 100 customers past and present who were treated to a combination of classic Welsh and English in the Volkswagen van centre.

Managing director Ken Jones gave a brief talk about the beginning and continued growth of Pentraeth before introducing the evening performers.

Former Pentraeth Volkswagen brand manager Emlyn Parry was among the choir, while Lucy Kelly sang and Sara Huws enchanted guests with her harp playing.

Ken said: “What a wonderful well to celebrate our 30th anniversary. I can’t thank every enough for coming along and those who performed for the guests.

“The 30 years have flown by and I’m pleased many staff have been with Pentraeth most of that time.

“We pride ourselves on being a company giving customers what they expect and staff a secure and positive environment to work in.”

The celebrations are continuing for Pentraeth as it offers motorists special 30th birthday offers on various vehicles. To view Pentraeth Automotives special offers please see local press advertising for bespoke vehicles and the Volkswagen web site for new vehicle offers.

Thursday 3 June 2010


A school visit from a local business manager has inspired children to choose their careers early.

St James the Great Primary School in East Malling has been teaching Year six children about their aspirations and ambitions for their future professions

The talk by Beadles Volkswagen’s service manager, Steve McGannon, from inspired many of the children to consider a future in the automotive industry.

Due to the popularity of Steve’s visit, Beadles Volkswagen invited Jack Cadwallader, Matthew Abrey, Alix Lucas and Shannon Calverley to the retailer for a tour of the workshop and showroom.

Clare Mason, senior leader of learning at the school, said: “We were delighted to receive the invitation from Beadles Volkswagen for the children have a guided tour and talk with staff.

“They had an incredible afternoon and returned to school with knowledge, enthusiasm and desire for a career in the car industry.

“We continually look at ways of developing children’s interests in their future working life and can’t thank Steve and Beadles enough for their support.”

Steve said: “Children are the future workforce for many local businesses and it’s important we help them make the right choice in careers.

“By talking to them in school and allowing visits, children can sample life at a car retailer early, before deciding if it’s the right career for them.

“Judging by the enthusiasm of the children, I’m sure a few of them will be back in the coming years.”