Ashdown Hurrey Celebrates 40 Years!
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.
Hastings Legal Walk 2020
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 - https://www.facebook.com/AshdownHurrey
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.
To help ensure people can confidently plan their day, the club always runs from midday to 2.30pm.
Dates for 2021 will be confirmed once COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted.
For more information on our upcoming events or to book tickets, please visit https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/ashdown-hurrey-women-in-business-14622232116
Images from our recent lunches:
Ashdown Hurey Boosted by the Appointment of Two New Associates
The Directors of Ashdown Hurrey are pleased to announce that both Gemma Newstead and Martin Copland have successfully completed the Associate Programme having demonstrated the level of commitment and skills necessary to be formally recognised in this respect.
Ashdown Hurrey take great pride in their history of training and development of accountants within the firm. Both Gemma and Martin 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.
Gemma joined the practice in 2006 from Helenswood & William Parker 6th form, and passed her formal ACCA examinations in 2012. Since then, she has risen through the ranks in managerial roles to lead teams and provide expert advice to her varied client base. Her dedication to the firm’s future does not stop there as Gemma is an experienced member of the firm’s Sales and Marketing committee. She also assists in Ashdown Hurrey’s recruitment processes and dedicates time to local schools and their career progression days.
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 the Associate position 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.
The directors were very happy to appoint the two to Associate level and look forward to supporting them as their careers at Ashdown Hurrey develop. Planning and support have been given in preparing them for their new roles and their successes until now have confirmed their readiness to step up to increased responsibility. Well done Gemma and Martin for your performance to date and good luck for the future!
Photo 1 - Gemma Newstead & Martin Copland, Photo 2 - Jeffrey Moore, Gemma Newstead, Mark Weeks-Pearson & Martin Copland ( L - R)
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.
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.