Around the back of North Weald Airfield, within earshot of the drone of classic planes and high-performance cars speeding along the runways, is an un-prepossessing eighties warehouse which is home to Best Mailing Services UK (BMS) and HDCC member, Lyn Reed. Lyn has been managing director of BMS for “more years than I care to remember.” But it wasn’t always thus…. 


Her working career began at Rank Hovis McDougall, once owned by the famous J. Arthur Rank, who at one time employed over 3,000 people, many of them in Harlow. “I began as a punch card operator. I am not sure how many people today even know what that was.” She quickly progressed to NCR, tape encoder, operator and supervisor. The role was repetitive and she became disillusioned. “I needed something different,” she said, ‘something to get my teeth into!” 


At this point, Lyn’s new husband had left the army and had a role within the security services, and she was approached by MI5. After an extensive interview and vetting procedure she was given a position at the Joint Computer Bureau and tasked to set up a Secure Remote Location in London, to take the manual registry records and computerise them. At the time all the records used to identify the potential connections of individuals to groups identified as a risk to National Security were kept on card.  She sourced, interviewed and managed a team of twenty-five 18 and 19 year old girls who were employed to facilitate the three-year job. “It was a fantastic time,” Lyn laughs, “unfortunately I can’t tell you too much about it, or I’d have to shoot you..” 


After 5 years with the security services she moved on, having been ‘headhunted’ for a role with the famous Bowker Publishing House in Epping – employed as their chief computer manager and programmer. However after 6 years, the company was asset-stripped by its American owners, Rank Xerox, and was forced to close. Lyn’s business brain went into overdrive and she approached Xerox and convinced them that they should support her new venture, Best Mailing Services. That was in 1985. 


BMS are specialists in mailing services, print management, order fulfilment and data processes for all businesses. They were one of the first mailing and fulfilment houses to be accepted into the Royal Mail Strategic Partnership Scheme and have grown to become a respected provider of Direct Marketing Services throughout the UK and Internationally. Some of their clients include Kier, BAFTA and Kuoni. In March of this year she launched a Marketing and Fulfilment Hub with a local marketing agency, “One of the great lessons I have learnt in business,” she said, “is to try to be innovative, to move forward and try new avenues.” 


A very big part of Lyn’s life is her charity work. She has been a Samaritan since 2009, a ‘Befriender’ at Mind, mentoring and leads a homeless centre for Crisis at Christmas. ‘ homelessness is not inevitable, we work together to end it ‘. The main image shows Lyn in the Himalayas on a charity trip with other Samaritans in 2012.  

If you would like to contact Lyn at Best Mailing services you can give her a call on  01992 524343 or visit her website www.bestmailing.co.uk. 


Samaritans Harlow :  

01279 421110 




Phone: 01279 421 308 


Contact: Alison Wilson 



Crisis at Christmas:

Tel: 0300 636 1967




Howick & Brooker Property // Harlow Cricket Club

It’s no secret to anyone who knows him, that Alan Howick loves his cricket, and Harlow Cricket Club in particular. Alan first played at the Marigolds ground in Old Harlow as a colt in 1965. “Due to my entry into estate agency in the late sixties I was only able to play Sunday cricket although, if asked, I would say that I preferred social cricket and its traditions rather than the highly competitive league version.” He was captain of the Sunday side for 5 years in the 1980s, latterly Club Chairman (twice), Club Secretary (twice) and is now in the ninth year as Club President. 



Alan describes himself as ‘old-fashioned estate agent’ who is now in his 50th year in the industry. He is founding director of the Howick and Brooker Partnership, which has been practising in Old Harlow since 1975, and from their current home, Gothic House, since 1978.  Since formation, the agency has been instructed to sell many thousands of homes in Harlow and the neighbouring villages and as far off as Hertford, Dunmow and Saffron Walden. The company is also a member of the Guild of Professional Estate Agents. 


Howick and Brooker expanded in 2010 with the creation of HB Lettings Limited which has become a very successful business managing many hundreds of properties in and around Harlow. 


But his first love, apart from the Balinese dancer he met at 14 (skip this bit – Ed) has always been cricket. In 2015 he wrote and published ‘Cricket in Harlow – The first 139 years (I was there)’, and was instrumental in the development of the new pavilion at the ground, which opened in December 2016. “The project was kicked off by the hugely generous legacy of a former Club President, Vince Dunn, who left the Club a sum in excess of six figures,” said Alan. ‘The Club then managed to secure half a million pounds of lottery funding via Sports England and a number of other grants from charitable sources.” 


The resulting Clubhouse is an extraordinarily modern and stylish construct that still retains the traditional feel of a village cricket pavilion. It is not only home to xxxx cricket teams, both male and female of all age groups, but is also used as a facility for community and social groups who often have nowhere else to meet. 


If you would like to contact Alan or the Harlow Cricket Club, please use the details below 

Howick and Brooker – 01279 418888 

Alan Howick – alan.howick@hbproperty.co.uk 

Harlow Cricket Club – http://harlow.play-cricket.com 


The Harlow Arena

The Harlow Arena is part of (and affiliated with) Harlow Town Football Club and is situated on Elizabeth way, CM195BE. It has invented itself as a venue and social hub, benefitting the community and local businesses alike.

When Tommy Cunningham took over Harlow Town FC in February 2010 he had a vision for developing the existing premises into something that would benefit both the Club and the town in general. Since then the club has been promoted to the Premier Division of the Isthmian League, which represents the seventh level of the English football league system.

The former Chelsea, QPR and Wimbledon (Crazy Gang) player rebranded stadium and its facilities as The Harlow Arena, introducing a new club shop, updating the members’ areas and sprucing up the whole ground in general.

Tommy, who was also Harlow Town’s manager between 2003 – 2007, said: “Harlow’s football team have progressed really well since Danny (Chapman) took over as manager. We wanted our facilities to match that.”

The Arena now boasts a new marquee opened in 2016 which offers a unique pitch-side setting with an incorporated bar, dance-floor area and seating for up to 160 guests. It also has dedicated heating for the colder months and the ability to open up the sides for an “al fresco” setting. There is also a ‘Function Suite’ which has a large bar and dance- floor area, multiple possible layouts and seating for up to 160 people. It has hosted all kinds of events, from exhibitions and corporate events to comedy nights and private functions, such as weddings and birthday parties. There is also a Sports Bar complete with widescreen that is ideal for smaller events, and the ‘Directors’ Suite’ which offers a contemporary setting for meetings, corporate training sessions or lunches.

There has been a determined push towards engaging businesses over the past year. The football club is proud to be a member of the Chamber of Commerce and a number of HDCC events have been held in The Arena, primarily breakfast business networking, all local business are welcome to attend and should look to book through the Chamber’s website. There are a number of sponsorship offers available to business customers too, which offer considerable benefits to businesses excluding the obvious; those of increased visibility and aiding the local community.

If you would like to contact The Harlow Arena please use the links below

01279 443196



03 – LEARN

We’ve collated some excellent top tips from members, associates and contacts to whet your appetite for learning more.

STEVE CHEW – Magnificent Stuff

  1. The brain is designed to learn. If you don’t learn it will atrophy.
  2. Technology changes ridiculously quickly – constant training is imperative.
  3. I know it’s unfashionable but… READ things!



  1. Training – you can never be ‘too smart’; there is always something to be learned from someone, no matter how lowly you consider their current position to be.
  2. Development – one thing we can always be sure of is change. Try to be positive about change. A flexible mindset will help you cope.
  3. Growth – This ought to be contained within your business plan. Who are your ideal clients? How do you approach them? Who are your competitors?



  1. For start-ups, when writing a business plan double the costs and half the income forecasts.
  2. Pay invoices within 30 days and you will be more likely to be paid quicker.


PAUL BARTLET – Price Bailey

  1. Look for changes in the sector you are in. Are there opportunities for new service lines? Keep things fresh!
  2. Listen – there is a reason why we have two ears and one mouth and the key is using them in proportion. The difficult part is mastering the skill. Listen to learn rather than listening to respond.
  3. Learn – explore opportunities to broaden your skills.



TREVOR STANESBY – Blue Pig Creative

  1. Keep to your word.
  2. Do not over promise on what you can do.
  3. Listen to your client.


ED PEARSON – Entrepreneurs Network

  1. Make sure you’re embracing the right problems.
  2. There is always stuff popping up in business that can potentially derail you but solving the right issues that get you moving towards your goals and ensuring growth.


LYN REED – Best Mailing Services

  1. Build a strong relationship with your client.
  2. Stay connected.
  3. Pick up the phone! It is not all about email.
  4. Go that extra mile & be proactive.
  5. Offer help & knowledge for free; it doesn’t have to be about something you can charge for.
  6. Be happy, stay positive and show interest.



If you would like any help with any of the topics discussed please feel free to contact us at info@magnificentstuff.net 


No regrets in life, just lessons learnt.

Sharing knowledge strengthens our own personal development and helps others benefit too.


We have two ears & one mouth

We should use them appropriately. Too often we are selective in what we hear and carry out the wrong instructions. When given a task to undertake; such as a brief for a project, ‘listen’. Write notes as you go along and ask questions. Never make assumptions and always confirm you understand what is required. Adjust where necessary, until you are satisfied the task is correct. It will save you time, reduce risk and possibly money later.

Manners cost nothing

My parents taught me to respect others from a young age and it has served me well in the workplace. People are more inclined to give assistance if you are polite, patient and show gratitude. Having worked to deadline-driven environments, with fast turnarounds; last minute requests were common. No one likes demands placed upon them when time is limited, even when it is part of their job role. Tell someone their efforts were valued and appreciated, they may be more willing to help you next time…There is always a next time! 

Be respectful 

No need to yell! Being shouted at and humiliated should be forbidden in any work environment, but unfortunately, it still happens. If this should happen to you, do not be tempted to react in the same manner. Instead, balance your emotions, compose yourself and respond calmly. It is likely the aggressor is also undergoing immense pressure elsewhere, so try to react calmly and professionally; chances are they may return later to apologize. Stress in the workplace is on the rise, be considerate of your colleagues’ needs; offering to help or carry out simple tasks yourself could relieve some pressure. 


There is no ‘I’ in team 

We are generally at work for at least 35 hours a week and are integrated with people from different backgrounds, status, skills, experience and personalities; thus, creating an environment to co-exist amicably should be encouraged. Know your strengths – stepping in to assist or mentor a colleague when needed will improve relationships and boost team morale. If you are working on a similar piece of work, campaign or project as another team, communicate regularly to ensure your work is aligned and constant. This will improve efficiency, visibility and brand consistency. 


Respect other people’s time 

I was employed by a company that had an agreed 7 minute ‘late’ window for all meetings. Unfortunately, this decision was unfair and affected those who turned up on time, as frequently, last items on the Agenda were either rushed or left out. Deadlines are put in place for a reason and if missed could have numerous knock on effects, for example, hefty fines by external governance for late submissions. Therefore, it is imperative to create key milestones to track progress and meet deadlines. Schedule calendar reminders to ensure that tasks are being completed as planned – stop, review and adjust. 


Written by: Althea Blake 

Founder and Senior Consultant of ROOTS POD Ltd 

A project management consultancy in Harlow. www.rootspod.co.uk 




Bury Road, Old Harlow, CM17 0ED 

Image result for the victoria hall theatre harlow

The Victoria Hall Theatre is a special community theatre, set in a beautiful historic building in the heart of Old Harlow. It was built in 1888 and funded by public subscriptions, managed by The Victoria Hall Company. The main hall accommodated 300 people; additional rooms were added upstairs c. 1911. 


In 1920, the hall was purchased by the Parish Council, and with the development of the New Town, was under the ownership of Harlow District Council from 1955-1964. It was sold to Essex County Council in 1964 and run as Mark Hall Youth Centre, with the basement being used as a disco venue. 


In 1995, the Harlow Playhouse temporarily ceased functioning and consequently local amateur theatre companies had nowhere to stage productions. It was suggested that Victoria Hall might be adapted to form a community theatre. 

Image result for the victoria hall theatre harlow

With the aid of keen volunteers and a generous donation from Longman Publishers (now Pearson Education) the conversion was begun. The Victoria Hall Performing Arts Association was formed to run the building and subsequently registered as a charity. When Essex County Council decided they wanted to sell the building, the VHPAA set about fundraising in order to raise the money to purchase it – which it did in 2010. 


Many local theatre groups, entertainers and children use the theatre for their productions and all the money is ploughed back into improving the building for the users and audiences. With approximately 24 productions a year, the theatre is almost constantly in use and still run by volunteers. 


If you would like to get involved with volunteering at the theatre, please get in touch via our Facebook page or by emailing: vhpaa.org@gmail.com 




“Dad always had these great stories,’ said Phil, ‘He played bass with all the greats of that period, Vince Hill, Jack Jones, Tommy Cooper, Bruce Forsythe…”

Image result for phil williams musician harlow

t’s fair to say that Phil Williams has spent his whole life in music and the Music Industry. His Dad, Don Williams, was a well-known and respected session musician in the 60s and 70s, constantly gigging and filling Phil’s early life with his music and sense of humour: ‘Dad always had these great stories,’ said Phil, ‘He played bass with all the greats of that period, Vince Hill, Jack Jones, Tommy Cooper, Bruce Forsythe….er, Rolf Harris…’ 


Phil started his own musical career as a freelance bass player in Brighton and he got his first big break being asked to join Kim Wilde on her 1992 World Tour. Shortly after Phil was one of the founding members of  ‘World On Fire’ who were signed to MCA Records. An album of their previously un-released tracks is due out in May 2017.  


Phil was subsequently on the books of ‘Session Connection’, an agency specialising in matching quality musicians to big acts of the day. This led to numerous TV performances, primarily on Top of The Pops  (‘You arrived at stupid-o’clock, stayed for hours and the pay was shocking!’) in the 90s and early 2000s. He also spent the best part of four years touring with Keith Emerson, of Emerson, Lake and Palmer fame.  

He has worked with loads of acts over the years including Gary Barlow, Rick Astley, ABC, Go West and Limahl (erstwhile of Kajagoogoo). He still tours frequently, predominantly nowadays with Tony Hadley (Spandau Ballet) with whom he has worked for 25 years. “I’ve always loved touring with Tony,’ says Phil, “when we first met he said to me “the most important thing is we have a laugh and enjoy ourselves……”- perfect!’ 


He also writes and performs with his own group, the gloriously-monikered ‘Faint Signs of Intelligence’, and collaborates with numerous other artists. Phil and his young family moved to Harlow in 2003 after many years in Kent and Sussex. In between touring he teaches both bass and guitar from his home in Old Harlow, where he also has a small recording studio.


If you are interested in recording tracks yourself, or having guitar and bass lessons, why not give Phil a call on 07850 438906. We promise it won’t be boring! LIKE Phil Williams Bass and Guitar Tuition Facebook page.




It was on 25 March 1947 that Harlow was first designated a new town, so 2017 marks Harlow’s 70th birthday. 

“We want ‘Harlow is 70’ to be a celebration of Harlow, its people and its places – and for everyone to take pride in their town. Whether it’s the town’s arts, culture, architecture, community spirit, diversity or thriving business community, we have so much to celebrate in Harlow”, said the Leader of Harlow Council Jon Clempner. 



“It is really important to us that people get involved and are part of the celebrations. We want to work with businesses and local groups to maximise this occasion for Harlow. We are all immensely proud of our town, and this is our year to start shouting about what a great place Harlow is. “Meetings have been held with community and local business representatives with further meetings throughout 2017 to co-ordinate the official ‘Harlow is 70’ celebrations. So far over 100 people or organisations have approached the Council expressing interest in running events or projects, getting involved or supporting the celebrations in some way. The Council has allocated £20,000 to help support local events and projects.” The Council will be giving its own events like the annual Fireworks night a 70th theme. It is also considering organising a town parade in the summer followed by a celebration in the Town Park.



Harlow the pioneering town 

“In 1947 when Harlow first became a new town, people were given the opportunity to live and work in a bright, vibrant and welcoming place. ‘Harlow is 70’ will celebrate the past but also look ahead to the next 70 years, where history will continue to be made and new opportunities for people created,” Councillor Clempner added. 


“With the progress of Harlow Enterprise Zone, plans for Public Health England’s world class science hub, Garden Town designation, road and infrastructure improvements, including a new M11 motorway junction, there are so many opportunities to work together and create that bright future. “Harlow is a town of many firsts, from Sculpture Town to the birthplace of fibre optic technology, and this pioneering spirit will continue in the next 70 years.” 


Did you know? 

In its 70-year history Harlow has seen some important firsts, here are a few:


  • In 1951, ‘The Lawn’, designed by the town’s master planner Sir Frederick Gibberd, was the first residential housing block of its kind in the UK.



  • In 1966 fibre optic communications, which paved the way for modern technology like broadband Internet, were invented by Sir Charles Kao and George Hockham on the former Nortel site on London Road. That site is now the home of Harlow Enterprise Zone the place where tomorrow’s ideas could be invented which will change people’s lives in the future. 


  • In 2010 Harlow became the first Sculpture Town in the UK and the World with its unique public collection of 79 sculptures including works by Auguste Rodin, Henry Moore, Elizabeth Frink and Barbara Hepworth. 


The official symbol of Harlow is 70 


The Harlow 70th logo was a joint collaboration between Harlow College graphic design student Bradley Newson and graphic design tutor Mustafa Sidiki. Both were supported by local graphic design agencies Blue Pig Creative (www.bluepigcreative.co.uk and Hot Mash Creative (www.hot-mash.com) who both gave their time and expertise for free. The logo is being displayed on various buildings around the town and appearing on promotional materials. The variety of colours in the logo represents the celebration’s strapline – history, community and diversity. The green in the 70 is the town’s green open spaces. 


The logo is free for any business to use. To request a copy please drop an e-mail to emailcommunications@harlow.gov.uk. You can stay up to date on the celebrations here: 

FB – @Harlowis70 

TW – @Harlowis70 



If your business would like to get involved or find out more about sponsorship opportunities or if you have an idea about how Harlow can celebrate its 70th, contact Jane Greer, Head of Community Wellbeing at Harlow Council at  jane.greer@harlow.gov.uk<mailto:jane.greer@harlow.gov.uk> or telephone 01279 446406. 




There are very few people on this planet that can make cardboard sound interesting, but Noel Greenwood is one of them.


Noel’s company, GWD Ltd, have been doing ‘incredible things with cardboard’ since 1986, and in that time have established themselves as ‘probably’ the premier presentation packaging company in the UK.


“We started out designing and printing Point of Sale (PoS) material”, says Noel in his office, surrounded by shelves and shelves of incredible boxes in all manner of shapes and designs. “Presentation packaging was something that we developed upon over the years”. 


In the early 90s GWD started getting into the box business manufacturing ballotin and carton style boxes. This proved so successful that very soon they needed a specialist folder/gluer machine, however at 15 metre long, ‘we needed a bigger factory to house it too” says Noel, ‘so we took over the unit next door.” GWD expanded into rigid ‘paper over board’ boxes in 2000, and this has since become the mainstay of the company. 


Now employing approx. 30 people GWD are recognised as leaders in their field. They produce beautiful presentation packaging for florists, chocolatiers, confectioners, and all sorts of corporate clients for promotional and marketing purposes, indeed anyone who wishes to make a statement as to the quality of their wares. There is a psychological element here. A consumer looking upon a stunningly designed and packaged product will be likely to think that if a company cares so  much  and has given so much  thought  to  the presentation of it’s product in strongly suggests that it has given a similar amount of thought to the product itself. It shows a willingness to invest in the customer experience. It  breathes  quality.


Noel’s company have worked with many prestigious clients over the years such as Cornelia James (Glove Makers to HRH the queen), International Award winners Rococo Chocolates, and numerous other auspicious brands and individuals. They have made one off boxes for Elton John and,  last year, designed a ‘one-off’ presentation box for  Taylor’s Bulbs of Holbeach, (who hold The Royal Warrant as Bulb Growers to HRH The Queen) for a presentation to Her Majesty on the occasion of her 90th birthday. 


The skill and aptitude of GWD’s in-house designers and cardboard engineers is very high as the workmanship that goes into these creations can be extremely complex and time-consuming. It is a real ‘craft’ and the Company is a real local success story. 


If you would like to get in contact with Noel you can reach him on (01279) 416093 or at the company’s website: www.gwd.ltd.uk 


Instagram: visit

Facebook: visit

Twitter: visit



What about non-verbal communication?

What does your body language say about you? According to the experts we give our feelings away easily to anyone who cares to look.  If we don’t like someone, we’ll tend to stand or sit with our feet facing away from him or her. If we like do them we will naturally turn our feet, and therefore our bodies to face them.

A real smile, known as ‘The Duchenne Smile’ in scientific circles, includes the whole face, lips, eyes, cheeks and crinkling of the skin. A forced smile uses only the lips.  Next time someone smiles at you, check to see if it’s the full Duchenne, or just a little smirk!

Surprisingly, liars do look people in the eye, so as to appear more trustworthy, open and honest.  They are more likely to scratch their nose, or touch parts of their face however, if they are telling an untruth.  In some cultures eye contact can be seen as disrespectful, and in Japan it isn’t seen as rude to close one’s eyes during a conversation, it shows that you are blocking out all external interference so that you can concentrate on the person who is speaking to you.

So next time you really want to know what someone thinks of you, watch them carefully, is that smile real? Which way are their feet pointing? And what about your own body language? Are you telling your boss that you hate him, the lady in the post office that you fancy her, or your Accountant that you think he’s an idiot?  Be aware of what your body language says about you! 

The world of communication is expanding at an alarming rate. As businessmen and entrepreneurs we need to understand it and utilize it to it’s full effect.  If we were to offer advise in soundbites it would be to remember the basics: 

  • People buy from People – remember the personal touch goes a very long way in business 
  • Pick up the phone occasionally instead of emailing 
  • Visit your clients regularly and communicate face to face 
  • Use YOUR personality to bring your business to life! 


If you would like any help with any of the topics discussed please feel free to contact us at info@magnificentstuff.net