New Appointments

The directors are pleased to announce the promotion of Sarah Playford to Associate as of 1 September 2023.

Ashdown Hurrey take great pride in their history of training and development of accountants within the firm. Sarah joined the firm as a trainee, and her progress confirms the firm’s commitment to “growing our own” accountants, well versed in the ethos and culture of the Practice.

Sarah joined the firm in 2009, having become interested in accountancy when she started AAT training whilst working with another local business. She completed her AAT qualification in 2010 and continued her studies to qualify as a Certified Accountant in 2014.

Having worked with Carl Read for many years, Sarah is now growing her own client base whilst supporting Rachel with her training and development. A proud Mum of two, Sarah spends her time outside of work enjoying getting out and about with her family as well as helping her husband run the family business and renovating her home.

Heidi's Hike

In 2022 we lost our dear friend and colleague, Heidi, to cancer. Heidi was such a fun-loving, bubbly and beautiful lady who brought so much laughter and happiness into our lives. She loved being active and often shared stories of her long walks with her dog, her keep fit classes and her horse riding capers. We wanted to hold an annual event in her memory and as most of us have never been on a horse, we thought a walk would be safer and the idea of the “Heidi's Hike” was born.

On 24 June 2023, our team of 37 walkers completed a gruelling 17 miles in the blazing sun across 1066 land from Pevensey to Battle. In total we raised in excess £5,000 for St Micahel's Hospice and we couldn't be more proud of all who took on the challenge.

Women in Business Lunch Club

We hold lunches every three months for Women in Business.

Launched in 2005, the Ashdown Hurrey Women in Business Lunch Club set new standards for networking in East Sussex, and many others have followed suit.

The lunches give an opportunity for like minded ladies to network in an informal atmosphere whilst enjoying superb food. The events often host guest speakers which make the lunch club a must for women in business from Hastings and the wider Rother area.

Hosted by the team at Ashdown Hurrey, each of the quarterly meetings are an excellent opportunity to network, share experience and enjoy a well-earned break from the office.

If you know of anyone who would like to be a guest speaker at a future lunch, please contact Louise on 01424 730300 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


New Appointments

The directors are pleased to announce the promotion of Martin Copland to Director and Natalie Wordsworth to Associate as of 1 April 2023.

Ashdown Hurrey take great pride in their history of training and development of accountants within the firm. Both Martin and Natalie joined the firm as trainees, and their progress confirms the firm’s commitment to “growing our own” accountants, well versed in the ethos and culture of the Practice.

Martin had completed a placement year at Ashdown Hurrey as part of his degree from the University of Hertfordshire, before joining the practice formally in 2009. He then progressed quickly through the ACCA examinations to qualify in 2012. Martin’s work ethic has always been extremely high and this has no doubt accelerated his rise to Director at Ashdown Hurrey. The willingness to accept new responsibilities, whilst managing a challenging workload and overseeing a client base are just some of the examples that have proven that Martin is more than ready for this role. Martin describes himself as a music fanatic, the louder and faster the better, his own guitar playing being at a more leisurely pace. If he is not listening to or playing music, he is likely to be watching it live and he does include the odd bit of socialising with his friends, when he is not entertaining his daughter.

Natalie joined the firm as a trainee Accounting Technician (AAT) in 2003 before continuing her studies to qualify as a Certified Accountant (ACCA) in 2010. Natalie has worked with Carl Read for a number of years and has assisted with the growth of those clients, overseeing a number of clients within that portfolio. Natalie looks after the HR requirements of the Bexhill and Battle offices which also includes dealing with training and recruitment. She enjoys helping schools with their careers events and work experience placements and is now an Enterprise Advisor for a local secondary school. Outside of work, Natalie enjoys spending time with her son and daughter. She goes running at least 3 times a week come rain or shine and loves to shop! Having dreamed of being an accountant since the age of 12, Natalie is very happy to have been promoted within the firm in the career that she always wanted.

Sam Carter - Ukrainian Business Start Ups

Sam Carter, director at our Hastings office, was a recent speaker to a group of individuals from Ukraine. The guests in attendance were in the process of setting up and running their own businesses in the UK after having to leave their country.

The event was organised by Let's do Business and hosted by Hastings Borough Council. A big thank you to everyone involved.

Ashdown Hurrey - Battle Office Now Open

We are extremely pleased to announce a third Ashdown Hurrey office is now open in Battle, East Sussex.

Carl Read heads up the new office and is joined by his team in welcoming both existing and new clients at our newly refurbished premises.

The full address is as follows:

Top Floor
Regent House
Mitre Way
East Sussex
TN33 0BQ

Contact a member of our team by phone on 01424 739234 or by email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Gemma Newstead BFP FCCA ACA - Promotion to Director

GemmaS 2021

Ashdown Hurrey are pleased to announce that Gemma Newstead joined the current board of directors as of 1 April 2022. Gemma has worked her way through the ranks at Ashdown Hurrey since joining the firm as a trainee in 2006 under the wing of Partner Ann Grant. Since Ann retired, Gemma has taken ownership of her clients and continued to develop her varied portfolio particularly focused on property investor and developers, which in recent years has seen a surge in activity. Gemma is one of three directors based in the Bexhill office where her skillset is invaluable to the long-term success of the firm.

Gemma continues to work with local schools helping with their careers events alongside other members of our team. She also assists a local school on their board of governors.

Gemma describes herself as an armchair sports fan, when time permits and her daughter actually allows her time to watch a match! She has divided loyalties, her father is an avid Crystal Palace supporter and with her husband a loyal Brighton supporter; it’s not a good mix on derby day!  

Gemma is excited to embark on this new role within the firm and we wish her every success. Congratulations, Gemma!


AH 40th 2


Mayday 1981 saw Buck’s Fizz topping the pop charts with Making Your Mind Up, Rubik’s Cube confirming that teenagers were more nimble fingered than their parents and Dungeons and Dragons establishing itself as an alternative to fresh air! At the same time two enterprising young accountants, the eponymous Merfyn Ashdown and Peter Hurrey decided to launch their new venture.

Merfyn and Peter were finding the requirements of being part of a large Eastbourne based accounting practice a bit restrictive for their own plans. They jointly ran that firm’s Bexhill office and wanted the freedom to explore any other business opportunities which might present themselves.  The existing staff at that time comprised a loyal secretary and part time accounts preparer. To cover their potential absences, they decided to recruit a newly qualified accountant, who would be available to “mind the shop” and help with the leg work. Patrick Lee was added to the team and Ashdown Hurrey was launched.

Although the plan was to remain small, the adrenaline kick from the launch and the support of clients in fact led to a period of significant growth. Peter Hurrey retained his strong links with Eastbourne and it was not long before a temporary office presence was established soon followed by a permanent location. The eighties was a decade when the hide bound formality of the professions was under attack from practitioners and clients who wanted more accessible and resourceful solutions to their business needs. Those prepared to offer such services prospered while some of those slow to adapt, felt the pressure of unexpected competition.

The Ashdown Hurrey approach was to offer the benefits of a progressive city type practice but available in a provincial location. This meant significant investment in training staff, in up to date technology with a client focused attitude. The early expansion was sustained with the opening of further offices in Hastings, Hove, Newport IOW, Tunbridge Wells and Northiam.

Office growth was supported by strategic link ups with other practices who shared the core values and this achieved the benefit of significant critical mass. The increased numbers of clients also demanded an additional range of services. Rather than just making recommendations to trusted service suppliers, it was recognised that some services would dovetail with the core accountancy services and separate companies were added to provide Financial Services, Payroll and Computer Services. These companies all had their own professional experts to deliver service of the standard expected by the clientele.

While the eighties and nineties saw the growth of regulation within the professions, it was not too intrusive and AH ensured that it maintained and exceeded all requirements. These decades also saw the heavy effect of inflation, financial volatility and the boom and bust economy. When your clients are affected, you are affected and the need to support and advise clients during difficult times enabled the firm to earn and maintain client trust.

As the practice grew, the number of partners grew and they were spread out geographically over the various localities. Partners tend to be strong willed opinionated individuals and perhaps echoing the aspirations which led to Merfyn and Peter to launch AH, some of those running the individual offices, decided that they wanted to run their own show. This saw the Eastbourne, Hove, Newport and Tunbridge Wells offices leave to do their own thing. The Northiam office had already been absorbed into Hastings so just the Hastings and Bexhill offices remained. It is pleasing to see that all the offices which left the group have themselves prospered and good relations have been maintained throughout. With the reduction in client volume, the additional service company providers moved to independence but Spectrum in particular continues to be our preferred Financial Services provider and retains close links with the practice.

Hastings and Bexhill  are geographically close and the business environment is similar and these two offices continue to work closely together. Both offices have benefited from the mergers and acquisitions of a number of other local practices. Hamilton and Wilton was a major accounting firm in Bexhill for decades and following a short lived and unproductive period as part of a national company joined AH thirty years ago. Numbers of clients and staff from those days are still involved and the Bexhill office itself came with the deal. Later at the turn of the century, the Hastings office of the Kent orientated practice McCabe Ford Williams linked up. Again a number of staff and partners continue to be heavily involved. More recent amalgamations have seen us joined by Silk and Co and Willliams and co, with the continuing presence of their partners and staff.

Well forty years is a long time and there have been many changes. Under pinning the approach remains the commitment to our people; the staff, the clients and our business contacts. We continue to invest heavily in the training of our personnel, our technology and all our core values. We hope the next forty years will be as interesting and look forward to putting our people at the centre of our plans.


For a number of years we have supported this charity which needs support during these difficult times, more than ever. The 2020 Hastings Legal Walk was scheduled for September 7th but had to be postponed due to difficulties with social distancing for the teams taking part. At the suggestion of the organisers, we elected to arrange our own socially distanced walk over the same course on Monday 5th October. We divided our walkers into groups to avoid exceeding the limit of 6 people together.

As usual the funds raised were for for three local legal advice charities:- 1066 Citizens Advice, Hastings Advice & Representation Centre (HARC) and BHT Legal Advice. All of our sponsorship will be donated equally between the three charities.

We know from our own work how valuable the work of the legal advice charities is for disadvantaged people in and around Hastings. The need for help with debt, housing, benefits and community care has grown rapidly due to the lockdown and the charities need all the help they can get to meet that need.


Despite concerns about the weather, Ashdown Hurrey's annual Crazy Golf tournament took place in dry, and warmish weather on Friday 14 August 2020.

The team event was won by Hastings A by one point from Hastings B, followed by Bexhill and then the rest of the World. Sam Carter was the individual winner with a very good score of 40, narrowly defeating Patrick Lee on 42. 

Social distancing concerns meant that the traditional curry was omitted this year but a number of the team had a few drinks on Hastings pier after the golf. It was fantastic to continue our team building  despite difficult environmental circumstances which makes the events all the more important.


On 29 May 2020 Ashdown Hurrey's Ben & Holly completed walking 5 marathons in 5 days!

They provided daily updates and pictures of their monumental efforts which were made even more difficult by significant injuries to them both due to the demands of the task. By the end of the challenge they had managed to raise an incredible £4,015 for St. Michael's Hospice.

Their walking routes took them across most of 1066 country, which included gruelling Firehills and the dreaded Hastings Half Marathon route. Numerous staff joined them across the different legs of the challenge for support which may have made all the difference.

We are super proud of them both and hope you will be too after reading this.

Full updates can be found on our Facebook page -



1066 Walk 2018

The team set off from Pevensey tracing the Norman route to Battle Abbey over 16 miles. After a few stops at some local hostelries en-route, the team arrived in Battle mid-afternoon for tea and cakes in the Abbey. It was a most enjoyable day made all the better for raising over £1,000 in aid of St Michael's Hospice.

St Michael's Hospice Football Event 2018

Ashdown Hurrey were very pleased to be a main sponsor for the third year running of the sporting event held in aid of St Michael’s Hospice at Horntye Park on 28 July 2018.

This was the third year of the annual event which is organised by Sam Carter of Ashdown Hurrey, Nicky Histed of People Hub HR and Helen Usher of Stace & Co. They initially came up with the idea to run the event after taking part in various other sporting challenges where they would raise sponsorship but felt they wanted to do something that would actually get people involved rather than just asking for money.

The event was a huge success with just over £2,500 raised this year in addition to the £2,000 raised last year and £1,500 the year before.

As well as being a main sponsor of the event, there were a number of the team taking part - Ben Sallows from the Bexhill office alongside Marc Ransom, Nathan Adamson, Rolando Mauriello, Kai Mersh and Sam Carter from the Hastings office.

Ashdown Hurrey have always been very supportive of St Michael’s Hospice and many other charities, such as the Seaview Project. This support can range from sponsorship through to organising and raising sponsorship for taking part. To date the events that some of the staff have been involved in range from marathons (full & half), walking the Great Wall of China, sleeping in a box for the night and running through mud, just to mention a few!

Hastings Half Marathon

Ashdown Hurrey has regularly entered a team for the gruelling Hastings Half Marathon, running in aid of St Michael's Hopsice as part of the Hastings Chamber of Commerce team.


Dirty Dozen

Sam Carter (third left) and a group of business people took part in the Dirty Dozen Challenge. Over recent years, the team has raised thousands of pounds in aid of St Michael's Hospice.




Hastings Office
Tel: 01424 720222

Bexhill-on-Sea Office
Tel: 01424 730300

Battle Office
Tel: 01424 739234


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