Friday 30 July 2010

Connect PR hit the headlines!

“Push, push, push,” implored our boss Hazel, as she willed us on to produce even stronger press releases and more colourful campaign ideas this week.

Wiping the sweat from our brows and assuming a comfortable position, we obliged, stopping briefly to snort some gas and air and sip a cup of tea.

Becki went on to send out some perfectly formed press releases from the HiQ network, one of which detailed the ultimate driving anthem of all time. (we’ll reveal all this time next week)

Lee gritted his teeth and pushed out some wonderful ideas for Goodyear Dunlop and their Mountain Rescue partnership.

Sue got cravings for Lucozade after a selfless, concerted effort for her clients Amtico flooring and Weston Park. (she also ran 35 miles this week in her spare time – she’s fit!)

Zoe looked flush after some intensive Volkswagen work, which was all worthwhile again, while Lizzie kept her focus and determination for uni-ball.

Meanwhile, Ben and Kathy exposed their credentials to a captive company audience for the first time, as Connect PR was unveiled as a new member of the Uponor family at their national sales meeting this week.

And finally, but by no means least, Richard and his beautiful partner Sarah became parents with the arrival of baby Poppy on Tuesday. (See picture of Richard and the little smasher!)

Rumours that Rich’s first words to Sarah were ‘You made that look like hard work’ are wide of the mark.

We’re raising a glass to you three this weekend.

Hope the rest of you have a bundle of fun too!
Connect PR

New solicitor for growing commercial property team

Higgs & Sons has appointed a new solicitor to strengthen its commercial property team.

Philip Gray (26) joins Waterfront-based Higgs from Kirwans in Liverpool.

Higgs’ nine-strong commercial property team is one of the leading providers of advice in the West Midlands. The team’s expertise includes acquisition and disposal of freehold and leasehold commercial property, acting for property investors and property portfolio managers, acting for clients looking to develop or sell land for development and acting for financial institutions to provide advice and assistance on property-backed security.

Speaking of his move to the Black Country, Philip said: “This is a great move for me. The commercial property team has an excellent reputation and is supported by leading lawyers from other departments within the firm. I’m looking forward to helping the department grow even further in the future.”

Peter Coleman, head of Higgs’ commercial property team said: “2010 has proved a busy year for our department with work from existing clients and new businesses. Philip will support the team and enable us to provide a service to even more businesses across the region and beyond.”

Higgs shortlisted for another award

Following its success earlier this year in being shortlisted for the prestigious Birmingham Law Society Legal Awards 2010, Higgs is celebrating once again after making the list for the Birmingham Post Business Awards.

The leading Midlands law firm, which moved 150 of its team into a new £1.5 million office at the start of this year, is shortlisted for the Legal & Business Advisory Award.

Senior partner, Ian Shovlin, said: “This is fantastic news for the entire Higgs & Sons team. The Birmingham Post is a well respected publication and to be recognised as a leader in our field is brilliant.

“Our philosophy at Higgs is to work together to achieve great things for our clients and this latest recognition demonstrates this commitment to client care.”

The award ceremony takes place on Monday September 20 at Birmingham’s ICC.

Thursday 29 July 2010


A team of intrepid adventurers from south east London has just completed a gruelling challenge, raising thousands of pounds for charity.

Six employees from Maracom Limited, a firm of commercial heating engineers, completed the Three Peaks Challenge to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

Supported by colleagues and the supply of a fantastic new Volkswagen Transporter Shuttle Minibus for travelling between the peaks by Beadles’ Volkswagen van centre, Jo Tunbridge, Dean Bertie, Garry Connor, Chris Wood, Pat Lynch and Ted Birks completed the challenge in exactly 23 hours.

The team is now hoping online donations can help reach the target of £7,500; currently the total is just over £3,500.

Team leader and driver Pat Lynch said: “We’re delighted to have completed the event in under 24 hours and hope people can help us reach our target.

“The support from everyone at Maracom and partners including Beadles Volkswagen van centre have meant every penny raised is going to charity.

“There were a few blisters and tired legs at the end but plenty of smiling faces at our achievement.”

Beadles’ brand manager, Keith Banks, said: “It’s important we support local charity events and fundraising activity. This is a magnificent feat by the Maracom team and we’re pleased the loaned Transporter helped all donations go to charity.”

To help the team reach their target and make a donation go to team of intrepid adventurers from south east London has just completed a gruelling challenge, raising thousands of pounds for charity.

Six employees from Maracom Limited, a firm of commercial heating engineers, completed the Three Peaks Challenge to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

Supported by colleagues and the supply of a fantastic new Volkswagen Transporter Shuttle Minibus for travelling between the peaks by Beadles’ Volkswagen van centre, Jo Tunbridge, Dean Bertie, Garry Connor, Chris Wood, Pat Lynch and Ted Birks completed the challenge in exactly 23 hours.

The team is now hoping online donations can help reach the target of £7,500; currently the total is just over £3,500.

Team leader and driver Pat Lynch said: “We’re delighted to have completed the event in under 24 hours and hope people can help us reach our target.

“The support from everyone at Maracom and partners including Beadles Volkswagen van centre have meant every penny raised is going to charity.

“There were a few blisters and tired legs at the end but plenty of smiling faces at our achievement.”

Beadles’ brand manager, Keith Banks, said: “It’s important we support local charity events and fundraising activity. This is a magnificent feat by the Maracom team and we’re pleased the loaned Transporter helped all donations go to charity.”

To help the team reach their target and make a donation go to

Tuesday 27 July 2010


A former LDV dealership is celebrating after being in business for 50 years in addition to completing it’s transformation into a new Ford Dealership.

Imperial Commercials on Park Road, Halesowen has been in business for 50 years and self generated £725,000 to refurbish their whole site to become a new Ford Commercial Vehicle dealership in the West Midlands.

The investment has seen Imperial Commercials transform their original showroom. The new showroom allows for three vans to be displayed in addition to the 25 vehicles outside.

The move to a Ford dealership has already reflected positively on half yearly sales, with Imperial Commercials smashing target in quarter one and quarter two looks to be just as successful.

Franchise manager, John Asbury said: “We’re moving forward from our days as an LDV dealer and looking towards the future. The investment to be a Ford Dealership, we hope, will continue to grow the business and improve the services available to commercial vehicle customers in the area.

“I believe Imperial Commercials success comes down to key business fundamentals which are promises on price, products, delivery and aftersales support. By exceeding these customer expectations we can expect another 50 years in business.”

The site which employs 130 people, offer customers 24 hour aftersales service, parts supply, bodywork, paint and accident repair.

To find out more about Imperial Commercials Halesowen call 01384 424 500

Installers told: A change is as good as a rest with Uponor

Tradesmen across the UK are being told to welcome a ‘family of proven products’ to their toolkits, which have been labelled as a revolution in the plumbing industry.

Uponor believe that a big breakthrough in the UK market is now imminent, courtesy of its clean, professional and versatile plumbing systems, which are already being heralded across more than 30 countries worldwide.

If current market trends in other parts of Europe are replicated in the UK and installers see the benefits of Uponor’s product, the market share of plastics and composites will continue to increase rapidly to a point where copper pipework becomes almost obsolete.

At present, Uponor plumbing systems are being regularly installed across Europe and North America with a combined total of 3 billion metres of pipe being sold – enough to stretch around the world three times.

Without the disadvantages of corrosion, incrustation and hot-works requirement - not to mention the inconvenience of having to paint - Uponor is winning acclaim in the UK for its quick, safe installation in the domestic and commercial plumbing and heating sector.

Uponor’s Multi-Layer Composite pipe (MLCP) and PEX pipe both offer a light and remarkably easy system, which boasts jointing on the inside of the pipe with no moving parts.

Moreover, installers are switching from traditional copper pipework to either product because of its price stability, ease of use, cleanliness and secure jointing.

Uponor’s applications manager Richard Haworth said: “It is too simplistic to call our product plastic. Our PEX pipe has been developed over a long period of time, being the only product of its type to have successfully completed a live 30 year test cycle.

It is cross-linked polyethylene that gives performance and stability. And because of its thermal memory, each joint will tighten over time as the pipe will try to contract to its original state.

“Our MLC pipe is similarly advanced. With no welding, thread cutting, soldering or gluing, the range of fittings are perfectly co-ordinated, with a simple cut, bevel and press required to complete an otherwise challenging job.

Further advantages of a Uponor plumbing system include the decreased threat of theft, and the removal of copper price uncertainty.

Richard concluded: “We cannot stress enough that this is a professional, well-designed system.

“Our big challenge is to communicate this with the industry and to showcase our range of solutions so that professionals can see this for themselves.”

Monday 26 July 2010

Motorists urged to mirror, signal, manoeuvre to HiQ Erdington

A flagship Birmingham fast fit centre is urging motorists across the city to make the most of three days of free festivities to celebrate its £170,000 makeover.

HiQ in Bromford Lane, Erdington, is enjoying a huge upturn in fortunes since it was radically rebranded and is now officially commemorating its new look with a series of safety orientated, charity themed events on Thursday July 29, Friday 30th and Saturday 31st.

Fast fit technicians will be on hand to provide free vehicle and wheel alignment health checks for every visitor, while a free, no purchase necessary prize draw will also be offered to win a plasma TV, a Sat Nav system, a mountain bike and a barbecue.

HiQ’s official charity Breast Cancer Care will also be represented throughout the days with their ‘pink ladies’ as HiQ attempts to educate more families and women about the good work that the charity carries out.

HiQ’s retail director Juergen Titz will be on hand to cut the conveniently pink ribbon on Thursday July 29 and it is hoped that the ceremony will cement HiQ Erdington’s position as one of the most reliable, friendly fast fit centres that motorists can be sure of.

The Bromford Lane centre has undergone the facelift to become Birmingham’s ‘flagship facility for motorists.’
The HiQ centre has been purchased by the Easy Tyre & Autocentres Ltd, which specialises in all sections of the motor industry including service and MOT centres and tyre and exhaust centres.

Ben added: “Since we carried out the refurbishment, we have been astounded by the results, with a whole new customer base recognizing us and relying on us for our work.
“We are excited by the prospect of three open days to celebrate a new chapter for the business and we hope as many people can attend as possible.”
To further entice motorists to the HiQ forecourt, the centre is offering four for two offers on selected tyres, 50 per cent off exhausts, £35 MOTs and £99 for an interim service and MOT.
There will also be a chance to pick up official HiQ charity pink caps, in return for a donation to Breast Cancer Care, along with a host of other offers and giveaways.

For more information about HiQ Erdington, the centre’s relaunch and its three open days, contact 0121 328 0278.

Safety Tops Calor's Agenda

As the UK’s leading supplier of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), Calor places huge importance on health and safety and has confirmed its commitment to promoting a safer industry by sponsoring the Fork Lift Truck Association’s (FLTA) Safety Conference for a second year.

From advances in cylinder technology to bulk tank inspections and dedicated training courses, Calor strives to share best practice and educate people on the safe use of LPG and has put in place a number of measures to aid customers and employees ensure safe storage, supply and usage of fuel.

Safety First
The FLTA Safety Conference is an annual event, looking at measures that can be taken to minimise the risk of safety incidents and how best to share responsibility for health and safety issues. Everyone has a duty to themselves and their colleagues to ensure procedures are followed minimising risk; and this is relevant more than ever in areas where forklift trucks are present.

Bulk and Fixed Fuel Tanks
Calor’s own Fixed Fuel Tanks (FFTs) are designed and constructed in accordance with the European Pressure Equipment Directive (PED), and is issued with full training and a test certificate.

Available in 55 litre and 70 litre capacities, FFTs reduce manual handling requirements, with there being no need to lift and replace cylinders and increase productivity by reducing the time and frequency a driver spends re-fuelling the vehicle. Both size tanks are mounted on to the back of the forklift allowing direct refuelling from onsite bulk LPG tanks.

Calor takes full responsibility for all maintenance and testing of its FFTs, bulk tanks and integral fittings. Every ten years a comprehensive tank examination is completed in addition to delivery drivers been trained to carry out a full visual inspection at every visit.

All components are replaced well within their working lifetime and when required the tank will be replaced at Calor’s cost. No compromises are made with Calor’s inspection team, who are audited by the United Kingdom Advisory Service (UKAS).

Cylinder Supply
Each and every Calor cylinder is date stamped to ensure that safety tests and refurbishments are carried out at regular intervals. A pressure relief valve (PRV) is fitted to every cylinder to ensure safety in storage and use. In addition, Calor’s extensive network of gas stockists, combined with the largest LPG delivery network in the UK, means that cylinders do not need to be stored unnecessarily at customers’ premises in large quantities.

Calor continues to innovate the cylinder market by looking for news way to ensure businesses are not only as safe, but also as efficient, as possible. Unique to Calor FLT cylinders is Magnatract™ technology which eliminates the risk of any small metal particles within the cylinder entering the vaporiser and interrupting supply. What’s more, Calor cylinders contain ‘memory plastic’ dip tubes instead of traditional metal tubes further eliminating the risk of internal tube fractures which could result in downtime.

The Calor training facility runs extensive courses for its employees, contractors, and also for its customers. Training can be carried out on or off site at the customer’s request. The courses cover the key elements of LPG supply including the properties and hazards of LPG, the use of regulators, changeover valves and hoses, the siting and changing of cylinders, fuel storage, equipment maintenance, ventilation and emergency procedures.

Health and Safety Site Surveys
Calor’s dedicated team of technical experts is experienced in assessing businesses’ needs , paying particular attention to health and safety issues along with fuel supply, layout of refuelling areas and warehouse management.

Calor’s forklift truck Senior Sales Professional, Jim Moyes, says: “It is vital that forklift truck operators, as well as employees working in forklift areas., receive adequate training. Calor’s team offers unrivalled LPG knowledge, experience and technical expertise giving operators the assurance that all elements of health, safety and training will be considered at all times.”

To aid understanding of the importance of health and safety, as well as illustrate the unique features of Calor’s LPG supply, Calor has produced a wide range of literature tailored to customers’ needs. All literature is available upon request by calling Calor on 0800 216 659.

For added peace of mind, Calor operates a gas emergency service. Operators can be contacted on 0845 7 444 999 24 hours a day 365 days a year.

Friday 23 July 2010

Connect PR hit the headlines!

It’s been a week of national exposure for many of our clients at Connect PR, after we were tasked with a one particularly emotional project, and a raft of other intriguing campaigns.

Many of you know about the work we carry out for Volkswagen, WD-40, uni-ball, HiQ and all of our other big hitting clients.

But this week, Higgs & Sons – one of the Midlands largest law firms – has been taking centre stage on national TV networks and websites, for their expertise in a heartfelt compensation case.

Sky News, Channel 5, ITV and the BBC news teams have picked up on a tragic clinical negligence case that Hazel highlighted, where a former college lecturer won a six-figure compensation payout after delays in his medical treatment.

Higgs are one of our longest standing clients, whose professionalism and legal expertise have been the cornerstones of its ever growing practice for many years.

Hazel worked with Higgs’ clinical negligence lawyer Clare Langford to highlight the moving case of Tim Joplin, which she distributed to her wealth of national contacts this week.

The moving case gave everyone in the office a valuable insight into how a more sensitive subject matter should be dealt with – experience that we will all remember and keep on board.

Moving on, we were also in the Sunday Express for a rather more light-hearted project – namely the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy’s Marvellous Manager search.

Using a picture of Spain’s triumphant World Cup team, the leading Sunday paper showcased our search for a selfless non-league manager, who deserves praise for his/her stressful work on the touchline. (SEE SCANNED COVERAGE ABOVE)

This is another campaign straight from the Connect PR creative think-tank, and one that is reaping amazing results for the client, for a minimal outlay.

With results like these, we would be delighted to get some national recognition ourselves, in what has been our most successful year on record.

With this in mind, we have entered the CIPR Pride awards, on behalf of HiQ, uni-ball and WD-40. We will know if we have been shortlisted in September, so we will keep you abreast of developments and say no more about it...We don’t want to put the knockers on it all. Fingers crossed!

To complete this weekly blog, we thought we’d throw a piece of regional coverage your way, to further underline our strength at getting exposure in a range of outlets, whether it be national or local.

Every client has unique, specific needs that change on a project-by-project basis.

So when Volkswagen’s Crewe dealership wanted exposure in their largest regional paper through a competition, we secured just that.

Pensioner Graham Wadkins picked up his £400 cheque last week from Crewe Volkswagen’s brand manager, Ken Potter.

Graham took a picture of himself beneath a VW Unbelievable Value poster, putting him in line to win a prize. You know what happened next...He won!

Have a relaxing weekend everyone. Such a notion may well be an alien concept to one member of the team, if his wife hurries up and has a baby!
Sleep while you still can Rich!
Connect PR

HiQ flags up Hero campaign with marshals

HiQ is calling on all Dunlop British Touring Car Championship race marshals to make a name for themselves with an Olympic gold medalist, by entering the network’s nationwide search to find an unsung community hero.

The official Teams’ Championship sponsors is throwing its HiQ Hero campaign open to the unpaid stars of the series, who are seen as ideal candidates to gain recognition – and £5,000 – for their ongoing selfless work.

HiQ has teamed up with Olympic legend Sally Gunnell to launch the initiative, where selfless members of communities are nominated to win £500 for themselves and £5,000 for a community project of their choice.

And because HiQ has been so impressed with the dedication and hard work of all marshals at each of the Dunlop British Touring Car Championship race weekend since 2008, they are calling on them all to be nominated by their fellow friends.

Sally Gunnell said: “It is an honour to be ambassador for HiQ’s Local Hero Campaign. It is wonderful to now be able to champion the work of others, through this initiative. Everyone has a local hero in their lives.

“Race marshals are actually the perfect candidates for the campaign, and it would be great to be able to see their faces on the nominations screen. To be behind this campaign is really important to me. I’m really looking forward to reading all of the stories that come in.

“We want to see as many people get in touch with HiQ through emails, letters and phone calls.”

Once all entries have been received, ten regional winners will be invited to an awards lunch in November with Sally, where an overall winner will be announced.

Each shortlisted regional winner will receive £250 for themselves, while the overall winner will receive £5,000 for their local community and £500 for themselves.

HiQ’s retail director Juergen Titz said: “This is a huge campaign for us and one that we really hope everyone will get involved with.

“To have Sally Gunnell working as an ambassador means so much to us, and we hope she will inspire people to vote for a member of their community to win our award, who carries out so much selfless local work without recognition.”

All details of the campaign can be found on where a full list of voting options will be available.

Spirit appoints new business manager

Leamington Spa Volkswagen retailer, Spirit, has boosted its senior management team with the appointment of a new business manager.

David Hobson has joined the Apollo Way site bringing with him over six years of automotive sales experience across a range of high profile manufacturers.

The 28-year-old began his career in retail management before transferring his customer and sales skills to the automotive sector. Initially specialising in sales David quickly progressed to managerial roles before accepting his current position at Spirit.

David said: “I am thrilled to be part of the Spirit team. The family run business already has good people and processes so I am looking forward to enhancing the business to attract a wider audience.”

Adam Derbyshire, managing director of Spirit Volkswagen, said: “We have introduced a number of new team members and process this year to ensure we continually offer our customers the best service.

“David’s appointment and expertise will certainly help to strengthen our business profile in the area.”

Established in 1991, Spirit Volkswagen is a family owned and run business with sites in Banbury and Leamington Spa supplying the full range of new and used Volkswagens plus servicing and MOTs.

National recognition for talented technician

A 22-year-old Volkswagen apprentice from East Kilbride has achieved national recognition for his automotive skills, all before he has graduated.

Paul Simpson, who joined the Glasgow Verve Van Centre in 2006 became a finalist at the national Skillauto Automobile Technology Awards, which identifies and promotes exceptional talent in the automotive industry, while completing his four year apprenticeship programme.

The ambitious Volkswagen apprentice is no stranger to a challenge having already claimed the prestigious title of, Student of the Year, while attending Motherwell College.

Paul successfully completed a series of heats across three disciplines; autobody repair, car painting and automobile technology which tested his knowledge and skills. The Volkswagen star beat over 600 entrants to secure his finalist status.

Speaking of his latest achievement, Paul said: “I am delighted to have reached the final six. It was certainly a tough challenge but one that I thrived on.

“I am really grateful to Verve Van Centre which has supported me in so many ways from extra training to regular encouragement.”

The UK annual Skillauto Automobile Technology Award is designed to search for technical excellence within the automotive sector and is jointly sponsored by Industry of Motor Industry Awards and Castrol Profession.

Sharon Paterson, brand manager at Verve Van Centre, said: “Paul is our latest young superstar. He completes his apprenticeship with us in September but he has already achieved so much. He is a excellent role model for our future apprentices.

“His dedication to his profession is outstanding and he fully deserves to have reached the finals being the only Scottish representative makes it if even better.”


A Crewe pensioner is celebrating after winning the Chronicle’s recent competition with Crewe Volkswagen.

Graham Wadkins (81) picked up his £400 cheque last week from Crewe Volkswagen’s brand manager, Ken Potter.

The competition was launched after a couple were spotted in June observing two posters near Crewe railway station and asking passers-by to take photographs of themselves with the posters in the background.

The ‘Unbelievable Value’ campaign posters from Crewe Volkswagen got the unknown couple hooked, so the retailer teamed up with the Chronicle for the competition.

Born and bred in Crewe, Graham, who worked as a joiner for nearly 50 years before retiring, said: “To win this is unbelievable, a bit like the posters that started the competition.

“I’m delighted to win as it means I can afford the odd little luxury. I can’t thank the Chronicle and Crewe Volkswagen enough for the prize and looking after me.

“I’m partially sighted and need to visit hospital regularly so the money will also help me get there and back.”

Ken said: “I couldn’t think of a more worthy winner than Graham. It was a pleasure to meet him and hand over the prize.”

Thursday 22 July 2010

Sparkling finish for Wayside Van Centre

A commercial dishwasher supplier has turned to a Bletchley Volkswagen Van Centre to meet its fleet needs in a deal worth over a million pounds*.

Wayside Van Centre is celebrating its latest business win which sees dishwashing specialist, Winterhalter, convert its entire fleet of service vehicles to Volkswagen vans.

Based in Milton Keynes, Winterhalter designs and manufactures commercial dishwashing systems for the catering and hospitality industry.

Its new Volkswagen fleet consists of Transporter, Caddy Maxi and Crafter vans which will be used to provide a national network for its servicing operations.

“We operate a 96 per cent first time fix service for our customers so vehicle reliability was very important in our purchasing decision,” says Winterhalter’s Operations Director, Jason Mackay.

“As a German manufacturer we were pleased to find a German vehicle brand that could meet our standards.

“The Volkswagen range has provided us with greater flexibility as the more compact Caddy Maxi model has helped ease city commuting.

“The servicing team are very happy with the vehicle replacement programme and we have been very pleased with efficient service from the Wayside team,” he continued.

Paul Robertson, Fleet Sales Manager at Wayside Van Centre added: “The deal presently includes 47 vehicles. We are very pleased to be working with a local business and look forward to progressing our new relationship.”

For more information from the Wayside Van Centre or the new Transporter, visit, call into the Van Centre on Bilton Road, Bletchley, or phone 01908 366300.

Van Centre supports Council gas-powered trial

A Volkswagen van centre is supporting Sheffield City Council’s bid to reduce its carbon footprint.

Gilder Van Centre has supplied seven EcoFuel Volkswagen Caddy’s, which run on gas made from food waste.

The vehicles are part of a six month trial with Sheffield City Council to establish the practicalities of operating a low carbon, low emission fleet as an alternative to petrol or diesel.

The Caddy’s engines are designed to run on compressed natural gas, biomethane, provided by Chesterfield BioGas. A refuelling facility has been installed at the Councils depot where the biomethane is stored in cylinders and delivered to the vehicles through a fast fill dispenser system.

David May, head of business at Gilder Van Centre, said: “This is a very exciting project and provides an ideal opportunity to highlight the benefits of the EcoFuel Caddy to consumers.

“There’s nothing unusual about running on biomethane in the rest of Europe. In fact, Volkswagen sold 7,500 EcoFuel Caddy’s in 2008. But the technology is just gaining traction here, not least because there are biogas suppliers guaranteeing to fix prices 10 per cent below diesel for years ahead." said David.

After the trial, the Volkswagen Caddy’s performance will be evaluated to assess the environmental benefits and cost savings achieved compared to equivalent sized diesel vans the City Council has been using up until now.

Sheffield City Council project manager, Sarah Rani, said: “The size of the gas-powered Caddy’s comfortably met our fleet requirements and were one of the only vehicles available on the market suitable for this project.

“Our is aim to improve air quality, tackle climate change and reduce emissions from Sheffield City Council’s fleet operations and services. We believe it is our responsibility to lead by example and demonstrate best practice and to encourage the use of cleaner vehicles in Sheffield.”

The project is being run in partnership with Volkswagen, Chesterfield Bio gas, Mercedes and is jointly funded by the Area Based Grant and the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Grant.

Intreped quartet make a final pitstop at HiQ Plymouth

A fast fit centre in Plymouth is helping four intrepid travellers to stay on the right track during a 10,000 mile road trip across Asia, after the quartet made a last minute pit stop in their van.

Far from a 4x4 adequate for the terrain they will encounter travelling across16 countries, students Matt Clarke, Simon Rogers, Harris Kuemmerle and Hugo Maxwell are opting for a Daihatsu Hijet, which got the full once over at HiQ in Sutton Road.

Technicians completed a vehicle service check to ensure they don’t get left deserted on their travels after they leave on Saturday (24th).

HiQ completed an MOT and full service check for the Plymouth lads, who are completing the three month trip in aid of charitable institution Mercy Corps Mongolia, and even supplied them with new tyres to get them through the journey.

The students will embark on the Mongol Rally on Saturday and hope to enhance the lives of those in the country with funding and direct interaction with the locals.

Bob Saunders, HiQ Plymouth’s centre manager said: “When the guys approached us and told us of the journey they were about to undertake, I was happy to help them out.

“They are a great bunch of guys and I wish them the best of luck – they’ll certainly need it.”

Harris said: “This is an extremely kind gesture that has saved us a lot of time, effort and money. Thanks to HiQ, we are just about ready to go.”


Visitors to this year’s office* will behold a spectacular range of writing instruments as Mitsubishi Pencil Co. rolls into town on stand 5018.

Held at Earls Court, London on September 21-22, the exhibition will see the leading stationery firm bring the circus to life as a colourful cast of characters unveil its latest office products.

The ever-popular Jetstream brand takes centre stage as the range is further expanded with the introduction of the Jetstream 101. Set to become a staple within the office desk drawer, the Jetstream 101 is sure to become a firm favourite with its low cost, smooth writing and quick drying qualities.

Stuart Barker, marketing manager at Mitsubishi Pencil Co., said: “Everyone can relate to the office circus whether they know a fire breathing boss or a PA who can juggle a hundred and one things. It’s these individuals who champion our range of writing instruments and we very much look forward to meeting up with them at office*.

“We also hope that visitors to our stand will be suitably impressed with the incredible powers of our uni Super ink. A unique pigment ink that delivers outstanding levels of protection and smudge-free benefits; a must for today’s busy office professional.”

Anyone visiting Mitsubishi Pencil Co. on stand 5018 will be eligible to pick up a free sample of the Jetstream as well as have the opportunity to win either a 16GB Apple iPad, premier office lunch or a uni-ball professional gift pack. Visitors are asked to simply leave their contact details in the ringmaster’s top hat for a chance to win.

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

Wednesday 21 July 2010


Start to create that dream look for your home with the new room visualiser launched by Amtico International.

Whether you’re looking for the natural beauty of wood, cool chic of stone or something more abstract in style, the room visualiser offers inspiration with an Amtico floor to suit every taste.

Simply select your room from living, bedroom, kitchen and bathroom, then choose from a range of woods, stones or abstract flooring designs, and bring your ideas to life.

Sian Lewis, marketing manager for Amtico International, said: “Flooring is a crucial part of any home refurbishment. It’s a big investment and has to be right. Our new room visualiser allows customers to dedicate time to experiment with a huge combination of colours and designs. It’s an essential tool for anyone seeking inspiration.”

To access the room visualiser or for further information about Amtico International visit


Issued on behalf of Amtico International by Connect PR

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

Tuesday 20 July 2010


A West Yorkshire retailer is celebrating one its biggest account wins this year, after linking with a Leeds-based national company.

Lexia Solutions Group, which deals with a range of environmental issues, has instructed Volkswagen Van Centre (West Yorkshire) to supply up to 100 commercial vehicles for its fleet.
An initial order of 25 Crafter and Caddy vans has just been delivered, worth approximately £300,000.

Marius Kerr, Lexia Solutions Group’s head of group procurement, said: “The various businesses within Lexia have different requirements in their commercial vehicles, something Volkswagen easily fulfilled.

“Volkswagen’s Crafter is a particularly good vehicle for use within the Bagnall, Thermac and Rhodar divisions.

“But it was the customer service we received from Volkswagen Van Centre (West Yorkshire), in particular Jason Bradley, that made it a simple decision to choose them.”

Andrew Caygill, brand manager at Volkswagen Van Centre (West Yorkshire), said: “This is a fantastic account win for the company and provides evidence of our customer service excellence standards.

“We look forward to providing Lexia with their fleet of commercial Volkswagens and keeping them on the road.”


A High Wycombe retailer is taking customer service to the next level by introducing a dedicated team for consumer enquiries.

Citygate Volkswagen is also introducing in a showroom host to enhance customers’ experience at the London Road site.

Four new jobs have been created in total with this announcement, with further positions scheduled for later in the year.

Brand manager at Citygate Volkswagen, Mark Hudson, said: “This is the first phase of our 2010 operation to give customers the most efficient service when they call or pop into the showroom or workshop.

“Customer service is vital to any industry and business and we at Citygate want to use customer feedback to give better experience.

“The new team will streamline calls to quicken up the time people spend waiting on the phone while the showroom host will direct all visitors to the right department.”

Later this year Citygate intends to introduce an updated computer system giving service customers up-to-the-minute information about their vehicle and direct access to the person working on it.

“All staff have been trained specifically to operate the new system and deal effectively with customers.

“I’m confident the benefits will soon become apparent to everyone who uses Citygate Volkswagen in High Wycombe.”

Monday 19 July 2010


A Kent college has joined forces with a Canterbury retailer to give students an insight into a real life work environment.

Thanet College’s motor vehicle students will now have regular visits to Volkswagen retailer EuroCanterbury, allowing them direct contact with industry professionals.

The first wave of students recently visited EuroCanterbury’s Broad Oak Lane premises, with all claiming huge benefits from the day.

Andy Jeffrey, Thanet College’s motor vehicle lecturer, said: “This link with EuroCanterbury is a massive boost for the students, giving them the chance to experience the environment they intend to work in.

“The main emphasis was to find out what happens at all levels in a major vehicle workshop, but it was important the learners visited all parts of the business to know how everyone works together.”

During the day visit, students were greeted by EuroCanterbury’s managing director, John Bailey, before the management team took the group around the various departments at the retailer.

Andy added: “Everyone at EuroCanterbury are clearly enthusiastic about their work and took the time to explain each area and show the learners around.

“The group returned with increased aspirations for gaining employment in the industry and the importance of high quality control and interaction between departments.”

EuroCanterbury’s John Bailey said: “Looking to the future is vital for any industry or business and we hope students at Thanet College will benefit from this new link.

“As a local business it’s important we help young people across the region achieve their career ambitions. We look forward to welcoming more students in the near future.”

The next visit of Thanet College students to EuroCanterbury Volkswagen is planned for this autumn.

Friday 16 July 2010

Connect PR hits the headlines!

As Ben is out on important client duties today, it’s down to the boss to string a few words together about our week that was.

Many in the office are sighing with relief that it’s me writing this week’s round up and not Ben, as I won’t be tempted in any way to write about the beloved Wolves or go on about football. Come on Derby County!

So what’s happened to us in the last seven days? Apart from Ben’s uncomfortable undercarriage (sorry, had to have a pop but it’s better than Richard’s suggestion of writing about piling on the coverage), we have been extremely busy.

Lizzie has secured sponsorship of the NME signing tents for Uniball’s Posca for the second year running at Reading, Leeds and the V festivals. There will be loads of brand exposure throughout and Posca will be seen on hundreds of photos on the NME gallery online. Bands playing at the events meet and greet fans at the tents and the pens will be used for signing on CDs, guitars and shirts.

Posca is also supporting cult jewellery label Tatty Devine. The label is putting on a ‘Colour by Numbers’ event at the Big Chill festival and festival goers will be personalising their own jewellery using Posca.

Our third project for Posca involves the sponsorship of a Lazy Oaf drawing event in the summer at the Tate Modern. This huge event will be featured in the Tate’s newsletter, which has 180,000 subscribers. We are also expecting 20,000 visitors to the Tate during the exhibition.

Richard, Sue, Becki and Zoe are seeing their hard work pay off for Volkswagen and are celebrating several competitions including one for the Unbelievable Value campaign in the Crewe Chronicle which is one of the newpaper’s most successful of the year. Alongside competitions for Volkswagen, Zoe has also been fishing for coverage for WD-40 with competitions placed in Max Power, Big Carp Magazine, Total Sea Fishing and Golf News.

Finally, a special mention for Richard who is expecting his first baby in the coming days. Tip of the day, stay away from cream carpets and get plenty of sleep because in my experience, you’ll not get much for a long time to come.

Ben is back next week. Much wittier and a far better writer than me, but don’t tell him I said that.

Tuesday 13 July 2010

HiQ offering some tickets to ride!

The HiQ fast fit network is giving more British Touring Car Championship fans a chance to see the gripping series for themselves, courtesy of another exclusive giveaway.

After launching Twitter and Facebook ticket competitions throughout the course of the season, HiQ are offering more opportunities for supporters to lap up Britain’s premier motor racing series.

HiQ, the current BTCC Teams’ Championship sponsors, is offering a pair of tickets to a random person who enter their weekly ‘vote and win’ polls on their website

The current poll is asking online visitors to vote on who they think will win this season’s BTCC drivers’ title, and lucky entrants picked at random will win pairs of tickets for a forthcoming race.

HiQ’s marketing manager Geraldine McGovern said: “We are constantly thinking of ways to reward the fans of the series and to say thank you for their fanaticism and support.

“HiQ has been deeply involved with the BTCC for three years now and the noise and colour they bring to each circuit never fails to astound us.

“Our new vote and win feature will allow more supporters to engage with us, and win some coveted prizes in the future. We hope they have a good time voting.”

In addition to regular ticket giveaways, HiQ’s Champagne Moment awards have gone from strength to strength, giving fans the chance to vote for their favourite driver after each weekend of race action.

And regular opportunities for HiQ fast fitters to go trackside and fit tyres for the stars of the grid with the Dunlop Motorsport team are also proving to be a big hit.

Geraldine concluded: “Our sponsorship is reaping rewards and we will continue to activate it in as many novel, unique ways as possible.”


A Cheshire cycle shop is one of just a few UK businesses chosen to test the latest product from international giants, WD-40.

The company, which manufactures a range of specialist lubricants under the 3-IN-ONE brand, has chosen twelve50bikes in Frodsham to be the first official testers of its newly launched 3-IN-ONE Bike Maintenance lubricant.

Despite being open only a few months, twelve50bikes was chosen because of the business’ service facility and the experience of the two owners.

Matt Steadman and Rick Minshull are ex-professional mountain bikes racers with over 20 years’ experience in the cycling industry.
David Whittome, head of UK marketing at WD-40 Company, said: “Twelve50bikes is the perfect place to test the new 3-IN-ONE Bike Maintenance product.

“Matt and Rick are bike mad and most importantly are riders themselves, meaning they’ll be testing it on their own bikes first.

“The feedback they give will prove invaluable as we look at ensuring the product meets criteria to everyone maintaining a bike.
Matt, from twelve50bikes, said: “We’re delighted to have been chosen to test 3-IN-ONE Bike Maintenance product

“We use huge amounts of lubricants in our service department and also on our own bikes.

“We only stock products which we’d be happy to use ourselves so look forward to the using the lubricant.”

Monday 12 July 2010


A Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles sales manager from Newark is celebrating after becoming one of the first in the country to graduate from a new two year training programme.

Cass Attwood from Heron Van Centre recently completed the course which was designed by the Volkswagen Training Academy to help retain some of the industry’s top talent.

The Northern Road manager had to complete a series of tough exams in law, customer service, product knowledge, coaching and recruitment to gain the NVQ Level 4 equivalent qualification.

Cass, who has worked at the retailer for four years and manages a team of four van specialists, said: “I found the course to be very comprehensive and beneficial.

“The qualification has given me extra knowledge and experience to ensure my team has the correct skill set to provide our commercial vehicle customers with the best service.”

The culmination of the course, which was assessed by exams and interviews, was presented to a panel of Volkswagen directors.

Julie Gwilliam, head of business at Heron Van Centre, said: “We believe having knowledgeable staff is paramount to the success of our business.

“The course is designed to equip some of our senior staff with the very best skills to deal with customers’ enquiries and to pass on to other employees.”

Cass was presented with her certificate by Simon Elliott, director of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles UK.

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

Friday 9 July 2010

Connect PR hit the headlines!

First impressions last at Connect PR, which is why we are proud to start off our weekly blog with a ‘world exclusive’ for your eyes only.

Ta da! Take a look at our new-look office in the Chubb Buildings, which has been redesigned and refurbished in an attempt to wow our clients and invigorate us to levels of productivity never seen before.

The clients absolutely love it. Richard still couldn’t be bothered to make a cup of tea at 3pm however.

We all contemplated a colour to add into the scheme, based on what they say about us as individuals.

Ben opted for maroon. Funny that, as the colour is synonymous with someone likable and generous.

It is also a favorite colour of someone who has been battered by life apparently, but we’ll gloss over that bit.

The rum caramel we opted for – complimented with a steel symphony blue – will surely form the backdrop of countless PR success stories over the coming weeks and months to come, and we are all excited by the changes.

They come at a timely time too, and represent the beginning of an exciting new chapter at Connect PR.

A chapter that sees the Connect group flying the flag for innovation in the great city of Wolverhampton.

Coupled with the appointment of Connect’s 20th marketing specialist of the year and our best ever year since the company was formed in 1993, the future looks bright. The future looks rum caramel and steel symphony!

Last week we promised never to mention football in a Connections blog again.

Sorry folks, but work prohibits us from such a claim, courtesy of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
The domestic season might be a good month away, but we have been busy getting our client’s name out to scores of county FAs and even more regional and national journalists.

In another innovative attempt to engage with the grass roots of football, Johnstone’s are searching for a ‘Marvellous Manager’ in the non-league game, who doubtless spends great lengths of time, money and stress on their beloved Sunday league sides.

If you can think of a suitable candidate, we’d love to hear from you on or email

Moreover, Johnstone’s Paint has just received the ultimate endorsement, with thousands of fans identifying the brand as the official partners of the Football League.

Following a Football League survey, Johnstone’s boasted a significant uplift in sponsorship awareness across all supporters – with 47 per cent citing the brand as the Football League’s official partners compared to 35 per cent in 2008.

This betters awareness of Carling, Nationwide and Eon, to name but three.
Southampton’s Rickie Lambert might argue it is all down to the power of his right foot and 73,000 Saints fans.

We call it the power of PR!
Have a good weekend everyone
Connect PR

Johnstone's Paint Trophy scouting for a marvellous manager!

The Johnstone’s Paint Trophy has launched a summer scouting mission to find some of the most marvellous non-league managers in the UK.

As proud of sponsors of the Football League Trophy, Johnstone’s has enjoyed its most successful season yet and would like to thank its grass roots fans courtesy of a new campaign to put amateur managers in the spotlight.

Whether it’s a promising Pardew or an ambitious Abbott, the trophy is inviting everyone to nominate their favourite amateur bosses who they think are in a league of their own.

The trophy has created a bespoke section on its website for the football fraternity to nominate its most deserving candidates.

Every nomination will be displayed on the website during August for fans to log on and vote for their favourite. The winner will receive the first ever ‘Johnstone’s Marvellous Manager’ trophy, a commemorative ball from the 2009/10 final and a new strip for his team. Ten runner’s up will each receive a Johnstone’s Paint Trophy replica ball.

Johnstone’s Paint Trophy’s sponsorship manager Teresa Hardwick said: “Now that the summer is here, we thought it would be the perfect time for teams to reflect on their achievements over the years, and nominate their manager for some national recognition.

“It could be a club coach of more than 20 years or a newer kid on the block who has masterminded some recent successes.

“We really want pub footballers, non league players and anyone else to dig out their stars of the dug-out for us to celebrate.”

Players who wish to nominate their manager will have until the 31st July to upload a picture and short explanation as to why they think their manager deserves to win.

So to be in with a chance crowning your manager the best in the UK, simply visit and complete the online entry form or alternatively email your pictures and details to
Johnstone’s. Bringing colour to the beautiful game.

Connect announces 20th appointment for 2010 as agency celebrates best ever year

Midlands marketing communications specialist Connect has appointed its 20th marketing specialist of the year as it celebrates its best ever year since the company was formed in 1993.

The appointments in 2010 come on the back of new business wins from Bentley Motors, Countrywide Farmers, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, Jaguar Land Rover and Marstons.

Rob Hampton, group MD, said that the growth was not just about new clients joining the agency but also about existing clients taking greater advantage of the full mix of integrated services and technologies offered by the agency: “We’ve had an extremely fast start to 2010. Our mission to provide one agency, more answers, has helped us increase our clients’ voice across all types of media.

“Our digital team now has 15 dedicated specialists and current projects include developing iPhone and other mobile applications across a range of clients, working with Land Rover on the launch of the new Evoque and further digital projects for Masterlease and Goodyear Dunlop.

“Connect PR has increased its work with Volkswagen UK by adding Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles to its passenger car work. This is alongside briefs in from Baxi and Bauer Media.”

Recent projects for Connect Advertising include the launch of Bentley’s Continental Supersports, the relaunch of Banks’s bitter and the launch of Goodyear’s EfficientGrip tyre. The agency is currently working with Countrywide Farmers, the leading UK business in the supply of products to the rural community, on a major new brand campaign and retail strategy.

Connect is now turning its attention to further recruitment with the agency actively seeking senior creatives. Rob said: “We know we have the right strategy in place to grow the business even further and we’re looking for like minded senior people to take us to the next stage in our development.”

It's a family affair at HiQ Chapel Ash

A familiar face at a popular fast fit centre in Wolverhampton is hanging up his keys and passing his business down to his son, after more than 40 years in the automotive industry.

For Colin Bennett at HiQ Chapel Ash, it’s a family affair after deciding to hand control of his successful centre to his son Simon, following years of tireless work.

And to celebrate the dawning of a new chapter at one of HiQ’s most established centres in the UK, £10,000 has been spent to fully rebrand and refurbish the centre.

Colin started out his career in 1968 working as a sales clerk for Goodyear and since then, has progressed into various managerial roles before becoming director of retail in 1992.

He is considered as something of a revolutionary, having been an integral force behind the creation of the HiQ fast fit retail concept, which has now grown to 140 centres nationwide.

He was also a strong advocate of a franchise business model and was one of HiQ’s first ever franchisees, having taken the leap from Goodyear into his own centre in Chapel Ash, in 1997.

Colin said: “It has been a great journey with HiQ. Seeing how much the business has developed and how the industry has progressed has been staggering. When I started there weren’t even mobile phones or calculators.

“Over the years communications have become quicker and more immediate, having great effect upon business growth and customer reach.”

Taking over from his father, Simon has said how he plans to promote the business online to influence motorists more and keep their presence established among customers and prospects.

Colin added: “I’m very proud of the successes HiQ has accomplished and especially our centre in Chapel Ash. I know Simon will continue to achieve great things and continue to meet the needs of our customers on a day to day basis.”
For more information about HiQ Chapel Ash contact 01902 420234.

Thursday 8 July 2010

Corkills Volkswagen pledged to 'Get Stripped' for charity

Staff from Corkills Volkswagen took to the Wigan streets with collection buckets raising over £200 for Wigan and Leigh Hospice.

The team from the Wallgate retailer joined forces with the Wish FM ‘Get Stripped’ World Cup fundraising event which helped raise over £500 for the local hospice.

The ‘Get Stripped’ campaign saw radio listeners kindly donate a pound to Wigan & Leigh Hospice for the privilege of wearing their football strip to work.

Carl Hazelton, brand manager at Corkills Volkswagen said: “We had great fun supporting Wish FM’s fundraising event and are very grateful to the public for their generous donations.

“Our aim was to help raise awareness of the great work of the Hospice and although we didn’t achieve the results we wanted in the World Cup, we had a very successful outcome for Wigan & Leigh Hospice.”

The answer to a healthy mind lies in fishing

A staggering 84 per cent of women and 60 per cent of men say that they don’t feel they get enough time to themselves to relax. That’s the findings from a recent survey undertaken by The Go Fishing Show which found collectively that 71 per cent of people just don’t have enough time for the relaxing things in life.

“We always knew the figures would be high, but to find that over 80 per cent of women are struggling to cope is quite amazing,” said Jo Burton, a spokesperson for the Go Fishing Show.

“Taking time out is extremely important to your wellbeing,” said Mary Roberts, an independent cognitive behavioural psychologist. She adds: “A change of scenery can really help as it can improve your state of mind and provide a means of escape to take stock and feel more positive.

“Although stress means different things to different people, we all need time to ourselves to get away from daily life stresses including work or family pressures. When you examine fishing and all of its benefits, there is no doubt it can aid wellbeing and ease stress as it ticks all the boxes.

“ Fishing provides the ideal break and time for relaxation and contemplation, helping you switch off from tasks and can provide a sense of achievement after a successful catch. Not only that, the benefits of being outdoors are tremendous for wellbeing, including vitamin D from sunlight and being in a relaxing environment near water and wildlife can be very relaxing.

“And, for people who like to relax by spending quality time with loved ones, fishing is ideal for bonding with children, grandchildren and friends.”

Jo Burton adds: “We know that fishing is extremely popular in the UK as we get thousands of people attending our annual national show. We believe it is an ideal pastime to aid mental relaxation and wellbeing at it can be very peaceful and can help people get away from it all and have some time for themselves.”

The annual Go Fishing Show takes place at Cudmore Fisheries in Newcastle-under-Lyme, near Staffordshire, on 17 & 18 July. Whether you are a novice or a die-hard angler, the exhibition will be overflowing with fishing activities, including the prestigious Fish O’Mania competition, where Britain’s best anglers battle it out for a whopping £25k prize.

Additional attractions include World Champs Alley, giving you 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.

Not only that, whilst the kids take advantage of the numerous fairground rides and attractions, you can shop ‘til you drop at our retail zone with all of the leading manufacturers. Entry to the show is by ticket only with prices starting from £10 for adults with kids going free on Sunday. For further information on all of the show’s attraction, log on to: Avid anglers can follow the Go Fishing Show on Twitter and Facebook at or


Notes to Editors:

Mary Roberts operates as an independent cognitive behavioural therapist practicing in the Shropshire area. She can be contacted on 01743 247046 or

Go Fishing Show survey response: Almost half of respondents said they get less than five hours a week to themselves and the most popular methods of relaxation were sport (33 per cent), pampering (33 per cent) and reading a book or magazine (31 per cent).

The survey highlighted that 48 per cent of men turn to sport to take time out with fishing being the most popular activity. Over half of all people responding have taken part in fishing activities in the past, with a quarter regularly participating in the sport highlighting its popularity. In contrast, just 33 per cent have ever participated in competitive football (11 per cent participate regularly), 35 per cent in golf (with 6 per cent playing golf regularly) and 43 per cent in mountain biking (with 17 per cent participating regularly).


Start your summer in style with the sensational Amtico International sale.

From shabby chic woods and dynamic slates to sophisticated travertines, the sale offers a style to suit every taste.

With 13 stunning flooring designs available from only £58m² (normal price 70m²), customers are urged to take advantage of this special promotion before the offer ends.

Sian Lewis, marketing manager for Amtico International, said: “Amtico International continues to be the driving force behind some of the world’s most inspirational flooring designs. Our flooring is developed with the latest design trends in mind and we aim to offer customers the best value, so make sure you don’t miss out on this limited time offer.”

The exclusive offer is available at participating Amtico Flooring Specialists from 1st July to 30th September 2010.

For further information visit or call 08703 50 40 72 to find your nearest participating Amtico Flooring Specialist.


Issued on behalf of Amtico International by Connect PR

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


Super-fit cyclists from MK Dons FC completed a gruelling Lands End to John o’ Groats charity ride due to determination, hard work and the latest product from WD-40 company.

Six of the team’s members signed up for the challenge with the aim of raising £20,000 for Help For Heroes and MK Dons Sport and Education Trust (SET). Last month the group braved rain, screaming muscles and exhaustion to reach their goal in just ten days.

The cyclists had the backing of a number of supporters, including Milton Keynes-based WD-40, which manufactures a range of specialist lubricants under the 3-IN-ONE brand.

The company donated a quantity of its newly launched 3-IN-ONE Bike Maintenance product to ensure all six bikes have enough lubrication and protection to help them through the 1,000 mile ride prior to the team’s departure on June 5th.

Darren Oldroyd, director of football and community for MK Dons SET, said: “The experience was very challenging and not helped by the disappointing weather – it rained for six of the 10 days. The 3-IN-ONE Bike Maintenance product was very useful given those conditions.

“We found it superb as a cleaning product around the cassette and chain and a useful lubricant. Maintenance was a vital part of the challenge and every stage started and finished with bike maintenance, so the product was used extensively during the ride.”

The team, made up of Paul Mitchell, MK Dons community ambassador, Darren Oldroyd, James Parkinson, MK Dons head of partnerships, John Lloyd, MK Dons business development executive and Dave Pearson from Milton Keynes-based company Filmology, were the first cyclists in the country to use the product.

David Whittome, head of UK marketing at WD-40, said: “Supporting charities is important to us, and we’re delighted MK Dons completed the challenge and found the 3-IN-ONE Bike Maintenance product an essential part of their kit during their quest.”

The ride has so far generated over £22,000 which will be divided equally amongst both charities.

Further donations can be made at

Wednesday 7 July 2010

Summer motoring in the South West boosted by Autogas

Motorists heading to the south west this summer could save up to a third on their fuel costs by converting to Autogas, which is now available at the Gordano services on the M5 motorway.

With many people still clutching tightly onto their purse strings, holidays are likely to take a hit again this year. But whilst the two week sojourn to the Maldives may be off the cards, or even a week in the Spanish Costas put off for at least another year, the UK holiday, or ‘staycation’ looks set to repeat its 2009 success.

The South West of England could benefit greatly from this trend again this summer with thousands heading to the region. Holidaymakers braving the M5 can find further ways to cut the cost of travelling thanks to the refurbishment of the Gordano services, located at the gateway to the South West, junction 19 of the M5.

As part of the refurbishment of the busy motorway services, Autogas has been installed at the Gordano forecourt. As a viable, alternative to petrol and diesel, Autogas offers motorists savings of more than a third on fuel costs* and can dramatically reduce the impact driving has on the environment.

Paul Oxford from Autogas explains the benefits for road users and the environment: “In the UK the popularity of LPG is increasing as motorists look to help the environment and cut fuel costs. Vehicles running on LPG produce far less carbon dioxide, but they also emit far fewer of the other harmful emissions such as oxides of nitrogen and microscopic particles, known as PM10s, which are found in diesel and petrol and have a damaging effect on the environment.

“In fact vehicles running on LPG produce 17 per cent less carbon dioxide than petrol. In terms of oxides of nitrogen, which is equally as harmful to the environment, Autogas delivers 120 per cent less than petrol and a staggering 2,000 per cent less than diesel.

“PM10, or small particle, emissions, which have been singled out in road pollution studies as being particularly harmful to children and people suffering from Asthma, are significantly reduced in vehicles running on Autogas; figures show 120 per cent less PM10 emissions than diesel vehicles.

“With 60,000 cars using the M5 every day, even a small increase in the number of vehicles using Autogas instead of petrol or diesel could have a huge impact.”

Paul adds: “LPG at Gordano services is currently retailing at 59.9 pence per litre compared to petrol at 126.9 pence per litre and 112.9 pence per litre for diesel**. As the differential between Autogas and other road fuels is greater now than it has ever been, the cost of conversion can be recouped even quicker.”

Converting a vehicle to run on LPG can be done quickly and easily by an approved converter and costs around £1,800. Although surprisingly few manufacturers are currently producing LPG powered vehicles, most petrol powered cars, and even light commercial vehicles, can be easily converted to run on LPG.

There are now more than 1,400 public access Autogas refuelling sites with the majority of these on petrol forecourts. Autogas is the UK’s leading supplier with more than 200 refuelling sites and ambitious plans to expand the network further over the next year.

To help drivers find their nearest LPG service station Autogas offers a free to download ‘point of interest’ file for leading satellite navigation systems. Users can log onto or to upload the Autogas locator file so that no matter where you they are in the UK they can find their nearest Autogas site.

- ENDS -

*41 per cent fuel costs calculated based on fuel costs taken from 07/07/10 for Gordano services, consumption figures taken from for a 2.0 140 petrol Laguna Sport Tourer and assuming a 20% reduction in fuel consumption for LPG
**www.whatprice.couk (07/07/010)

Tuesday 6 July 2010

Business is booming for HiQ Lancaster after £75,000 investment

A Lancaster businessman who is boasting a 25 per cent increase in his monthly turnover has immediately revealed the secret of his success - a £75,000 refurbishment of his premises.

Pete Nevison, the owner of HiQ in Scotforth Road, recently completed a full rebrand of his centre and has seen the business go from strength to strength as a result.

The £75,000 investment has included a new depot, forecourt and reception.

Money has also been spent to provide customers with the latest automotive equipment available to reflect the company’s commitment to position themselves as leading competitors in the fast-fit industry.

Franchisee and owner of the Lancaster centre, Mr Nevison said: “It is great to see the business doing so well. A 25 per cent increase in turnover is more than we anticipated and is in part owed to the rebranding of the centre.

“The centre itself is now a modern, fully-equipped garage that reflects our dedication to serve our local customers whatever their reason for visiting.

“It has been a great development that now replicates the success of my other centres in Workington and Keswick.”

The good news in Lancaster has been replicated nationally for HiQ, which has boasted a series of impressive quarter one results.

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.

Monday 5 July 2010


A Cirencester retailer is only one of a handful in the country to have trained its entire customer facing staff to provide specialist advice to Motability customers.

Northfield Garages Volkswagen has invested over £4,000 to ensure the eight staff give customers eligible for Motability allowances first class advice and support at the showroom.

All sales staff and service advisors are now able to offer expert advice on the scheme, which enables drivers with a disability to use their government-funded mobility allowance to obtain a brand new car every three years.

Depending on a customer’s needs and budget, the Motability team provide expert advice on choosing the right car under the scheme.

Mark Foulston, brand manager at the Cricklade Road retailer, said that it was vital the team were fully versed in the terms and benefits of the scheme and the full range of vehicles available.

He said: “Motability greatly increases quality of life for disabled people and provides them with much-valued independence without the associated costs of buying a new car, so we felt it was vital to invest in the necessary training to bring each member of staff up to speed on the scheme.

“It is important we have a team of expertly trained staff who can advise customers on Motability. We find most people with disabilities know about the scheme but do not necessarily know how it works or what cars would best suit them.

“Each member of the team is able to give customers clear advice on their eligibility for the scheme and how to apply, as well as details of which cars are available under it. They are also well placed to advise on what adjustments can be made to a car to make driving as easy as possible.”

The Motability scheme is available to anyone who receives the ‘higher rate mobility component’ of the Disability Living Allowance or the War Pensioners' Mobility Supplement.

It includes insurance, personal accident cover, after sales servicing and maintenance, full breakdown assistance from the RAC, an allowance of 60,000 miles over a three-year period, and free tyre replacement.

Mark added: “We’re confident that we can provide the best advice and service for people in the area who are thinking about applying for a car through the scheme, and we’re happy to share our expertise with anyone who wants to discuss their requirements and eligibility.”