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Winston's Wish is a charity which started locally, but now operates nationally. GIN had supported them since the start and our total giving has now reached £22,600, raised from various events covering music events to swimming, running, cycling and even iron man achievements. Well done to all of those involved. The Winston's Wish team really value our support and look forward to us taking part in other challenges.

Gloucestershire Independent Network is known for being a friendly networking group with a sense of fun. This was clearly shown when visitor Sam Parrent visited us at Hatherly Manor last week to talk about his new business renting out crazy carts for parties and events. Sam brought one of his electric carts along and once he had done a demonstration, it was decided that a few timed races between members would be in order. You can see from the photos that this brought out a healthy competitive streak in all of us. Whatever your business, you'll receive a warm welcome at GIN.

Smartphone images by Jonathon Watkins (PhotoGlow Photography)

Friendly & fun networking? A racing certainty!

Friendly & fun networking? A racing certainty!

Friendly & fun networking? A racing certainty!

Friendly & fun networking? A racing certainty!

Welcome to 2017: another great prospective year of business and GIN networking ahead. It was a great way to finish 2016 with just over 1 million pounds of confirmed business passed amongst the 30 strong members of the group in the last 12 months. Getting up early clearly works! This figure has grown year on year in our seven years of meeting so here's to another million plus in 2017.

We will be holding a special breakfast at the Gloucestershire Business Show on 19th May.

Our guest speaker will be Alex Rose, Managing Director of Beards Fine Jewellry.

'Diamonds are Forever - the longevity of a family business'

It is a rare thing for a business to remain in one family for 212 years and we are pleased to welcome Alex who will talk about the business continuity needed together with significant developments that have kept Beards relevant, successful and still trading. Hopefully with a few jewels thrown in for good measure!

In 2014 Alex became Managing Director of Beards Fine Jewellers which was founded in 1804. He took the helm of the family run business from his mother Angela Rose. He now runs a team of 20 staff over the London and Cheltenham sites, whose roles include Goldsmiths, Diamond Setters, Sales Assistants and Management.

He had prepared well, having trained in London with hands on experience at Cartier and the then the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) where he gained his gemological accreditations.

Prior to becoming MD Alex gained invaluable experience in management at Beards, and spent time honing processes and making things as lean as possible: an invaluable experience which saw Beards through the difficult recession period.

Beards are proud to offer our customers an all-encompassing retail experience, from shopping in store and online, to watch and jewellery repairs, valuations and bespoke commissions. They are now recognized as part of the IIP Program (Investors In People), as well as being recognized in the National Jewellery Awards for achievements in the trade.

Beards proudly support local charities, including the much-acclaimed 'Beards Diamond Rush', which has raised £20,000 for Maggie's Cancer Care Centres.

Tickets are expected to be popular and a snip at just £18 to include a lovely breakfast.

To book your place - we exect these to be in high demand please visit


by Kathryn Minchew (aka the Pyromaniac Chef)

I've been a member of GIN for over three years but it was only recently that I retired my seat as a copywriter and decided to make cooking my priority. Last month I decided that the best way to launch my new business was via crowd funding and I threw myself into creating a campaign, organising pledge gifts and planning a launch party.

I launched at 7pm on Tuesday with cocktails and canapés for a party of sixteen. I was thrilled to raise 10% in the first 24 hours. What followed has left me staggered and humbled. At 7.30pm this evening I hit 25%. In just over 48 hours.

The direct contribution from GIN was a party attendee and four pledges at today's breakfast meeting. The indirect contribution is priceless.

At this morning's meeting we were talking about business longevity and the role that a support network plays in what builds and sustains us. Pyromaniac Chef may only be two days old but I have the wisdom of many many decades through a room full of fellow business owners each cheering me on.

Tonight I feel everything is possible. That's the magic of GIN.