Thank you to all those who helped in 2011 . . .

. . . especially in the following activities:


After standing up and speaking at a public meeting, I was elected to the committee and then voted chairman of a new business group in North Devon. Thanks to my fellow directors and support from members, COMBEbusiness has established itself to promote business around the Ilfracombe, Woolacombe and Combe Martin area of North Devon.

This has been an inspiring year and the turnout and participation at our monthly meetings has been phenomenal. In 2012 COMBEbusiness plans to provide tailored support and training for businesses in the area.

Ilfracombe courteous town initiative

Again, the response from business and residents of Ilfracombe has been tremendous. This pilot initiative, run by and the National Campaign for Courtesy, has trialled a campaign to recognise courteous businesses in the town and focus on the positive aspects of business and work.

During the course of the initiative, I have met hundreds of people in business in the town and have been amazed by the response when people realise that someone has nominated them for an award to recognise their courtesy: it means so much to them.

North Devon 101 Apprentices campaign

In my role as business writer for the North Devon Journal, I had no idea how the North Devon Employment and Skills Board’s campaign to sign up 101 apprentices in 101 days would succeed. As it turned out, the commitment from North Devon’s employers, jobseekers, schools, colleges and residents was impressive. We beat the target and will be repeating the campaign in 2012. Watch out in the North Devon Journal.

North Devon Journal Business Awards

This was the first time that the North Devon Journal had run its business awards and again the response was enthusiastic. We met some great businesses and judging the winners was very difficult. The awards evening was a contrast to many other events in this time of economic uncertainty in that it focused entirely on genuine achievement and success.

North Devon Business Alliance

As a founding member of the NDBA, I’ve always enjoyed its friendly, professional lunches and events. Blogging, discussion on LinkedIn and interaction on twitter help to bring this vibrant business community together and in 2011 I’ve got to know even more business people across North Devon through the NDBA. In 2012 I look forward to getting to know even more.

Studio Theatre car boot sales

I also organised six fund-raising car boot sales for Studio Theatre on the seafront at Ilfracombe. I know many people love these and come from Bideford, Barnstaple and elsewhere because the atmosphere is so enjoyable. I was considering giving these up, but this week bumped into a car booter who thanked me and pleaded with me to run them again in 2012. I shall have to think seriously about this.

So thank you to all who have supported these organisations and activities and have made all the hard work in organising them worthwhile.

I plan to do some more gardening, DIY and things for myself in 2012, but already there are many projects and events in the pipeline for some of the above organisations above.

Let’s hope 2012 is even more successful!

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