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Archive for the ‘Press Releases’ Category

Smarties challenge for Hunter Hall Pupils

Monday, February 26th, 2018

Hunter Hall School in Penrith is well on the way to raising funds for their new state of the art S.T.E.M (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) facility, which they hope to build within the next two years.

The school has been undertaking many fundraising initiatives since 2017, including their most recent which was a ‘Silver Smarties’ Challenge.  Children from across the school were tasked with helping parents, family, friends and neighbours with household tasks and chores and in return swapped Smarties for silver coins. Each Friday assembly the children added their spoils to the total and told each other how they had helped make their contribution to the school’s fundraising. Jobs included; washing the car, laying the fire, cleaning out the shoe cupboard, cleaning out pets, feeding the pigs and making winter homes for animals to shelter from left over bracken in the fields!

It fell upon Year 6 pupils, along with Head of Mathematics Mr Philip Sturgess to count all of the silver coins collected since the challenge was set prior to the Christmas break.  The children managed to raise a magnificent £656.81, which brings the total fundraising sum to £22,270.14.

Hunter Hall School aims to raise at least £75,000 which will support the building and fitting of a new bespoke S.T.E.M Centre.  This will be built on the site of an old classroom building, thereby further enhancing their facilities to provide a 21st century establishment from which the children can enthuse about subjects such as Science. As always, Hunter Hall remains keen to continue links with the community and in time offer the facility for others to also benefit from as it does with its sports facilities.

The next event in the fundraising calendar is the Spring Ball on St Patricks Day, Saturday 17th of March at The Roundthorn. The Spring Ball is not just open to Hunter Hall parents, but to all members of the local community who are all very welcome to come along prior to booking through the school.

The school will be continuing to run many fundraising events throughout the year and hope that with support from the local community, businesses and alumni they will reach their target.

If you run a business who may be able to support the school in their challenge, please contact them on 01768 891291 or donations can be made online at


Lake District brewery launches wholesale ales

Friday, February 23rd, 2018

Brack’N’Brew, the micro-brewery based at the Brackenrigg Inn on the shores of Ullswater has recently launched a range of 500ml bottles to complement its existing real ales brewed on site.  The wholesale beers are being stocked across the UK and the local brewery has seen a spike in sales as a result.

Brack’N’Brew was born in March 2015 when an old horse stable at the back of the Brackenrigg Inn Watermillock, was converted into the brew house.  After a few months of trialling recipes, the first ale named ‘Boathouse Blonde’ was brewed and served in the bar at the Brackenrigg Inn.

The Brewery currently has five regular ales available at the Brackenrigg, Inn, including Alfred’s Golden Ale, The Rambling Bookkeeper Bitter, The Steamer Stout and Aira Force IPA.  Seasonal ales make an appearance throughout the year; including a Marmalade ale as part of Dalemain’s Marmalade Festival on the 17th March.

The new 500ml bottle range, has been well received locally and is stocked in a variety of bars, restaurants and shops across the county including Chestnut House in Pooley Bridge, The Sunn Inn Newton Reigny, The Kings Arms in Stainton, Glenridding Mini Market, The Royal at Dockray, Beer Shop Ambleside, House of Malt in Carlisle and Embers Bar in Carlisle.

The bottled beers are also being shipped further afield to Leicester, Nottingham, Wigan, Ingleton and Clitheroe.

Ben Clementson is the Master Brewer behind Brack’N’Brew’s Ales and has been with the brewery from day one. Ben comments,

“We always had a plan to sell our beers in other establishments across Cumbria right from the start.  The range of new bottles have been very well received and we have noticed an increase in sales as a result.  We are very much looking forward to working with more stockists across the country.”

As well as supplying their 500ml bottle range of beers to retailers and bars, Brack’N’Brew is looking to supply their cask ales to an exclusive number of pubs in Cumbria.  The Brewery wants to ensure the exclusivity of the ales, but hopes to supply a select number of establishments with their range of ales in the next year, as well as opening an online shop to sell their bottled craft ales via the internet.



Top 100 in England

Thursday, November 23rd, 2017

The ‘Parent Power’ supplement from The Sunday Times has been published, citing Hunter Hall School in Penrith as one of the Top 100 Independent Preparatory Schools in England.

The paper, published on Sunday lists the Top 100 Schools based on SATs results taken in 2016 from  Preparatory schools across England. There are over 600 such schools who are members of the Independent Schools Association.  The results have been published by The Times for the last 25 years and uses a ranking system that aggregates the averaged scaled scores achieved by children in tests in reading, grammar and maths.  Hunter Hall achieved a score of 312 based on 15 pupils sitting the tests.

The way that SATs have been calculated since 2016 is via a new aggregate system, which looks at a scaled scores ranging from 240 to 360, (the old system based was based on the percentages of children reaching level 5 in tests).  The Sunday Times states that schools that get the best out of every pupil are the ones who have fared best in the list.

Hunter Hall is one of only seven schools based in the North West of England to make the Top 100 and the only school in Cumbria to make the list.

Donna Vinsome, Head Teacher at Hunter Hall School comments,

“We are absolutely thrilled to be listed as one of the top 100 schools in England.  This is another wonderful accolade for us and helps to substantiate what we as staff and governors feel; that children get an outstanding education at Hunter Hall in all areas of the curriculum both inside as well as outside of the classroom.

Hunter Hall was inspected recently by the Independent Schools Inspectorate who gave them a glowing report with 100% in all areas of compliance with no actions for improvement. They have also recently been shortlisted for two TES Education awards.

Donna continues,

“All these successes are down to the hard work and dedication of our fantastic team of specialist teachers we have at Hunter Hall School and the dedicated children we have the privilege to work with every day. I believe we are incredible value for money, giving children the best possible start in life from 3 through to 11 right here in Cumbria”.

Expansion into South Cumbria for System IT

Tuesday, November 21st, 2017

System IT Expansion.  I.T. support specialists System I.T. are delighted to announce the opening of a new office in Barrow, South Cumbria.   The expansion sees the IT company move into premises at the Phoenix Business Centre in Barrow, where they began operating in October.

Established in 2001 System I.T. operates across Cumbria and South West Scotland with offices in Carlisle and Workington supplying and maintaining computer network infrastructures through IT support and maintenance and the supply of IT hardware.

Managing Director of System I.T. Alan Taggart comments,

“System I T have made a commitment to providing specialist I T Support to existing clients and potential new clients in the area by taking on additional staff and opening an office in the centre of Barrow. Over the last 18 months we have steadily increased the number of customers that we look after in the south of the county to the point where it now makes perfect sense to have a permanent presence in the area. As a service provider it is essential that we have the right geographical coverage and resource going forward for all of our clients.”

Whilst specialising in school support, System I.T. works across many industry sectors and offers a comprehensive range of I.T support packages for commercial businesses throughout the county.  Alan continues,

“We’re excited to bring our expertise and experience of dealing with many differing types of industries and providing first class service and products to businesses in Barrow.”

For further information, please contact Lisa Jackson at Acorn Marketing (Cumbria) Ltd on 07751212662 or email Or contact System IT directly on 01228 516555.

Notes to Editors:

If you think your School or Business could benefit from an informal discussion or a free I.T. audit then please contact Alan Taggart at System I.T. on 01229 440578 or email to

Double celebrations for Hunter Hall School

Wednesday, November 8th, 2017

Hunter Hall School in Penrith, had important visitors at the end of September as the Independent School’s Inspectorate (ISI), an independent body approved by the government’s Department of Education called for two days.

The inspectors who visited Hunter Hall School; Cumbria’s only stand-alone preparatory school, looked at many facets of school life including the pastoral welfare of the children, safeguarding procedures and all aspects of health and safety. Parents and children were asked to complete questionnaires and the inspectors spent time talking to children, staff and governors, as well as pouring over policies and procedures and monitoring their implementation.

The school was delighted to get a 100% complete clean bill of health and therefore continues to be an outstanding school of excellence.

All standards were met with no further action required as a result of the inspection.  The children, staff, parents and governors were thrilled with the outcome, a report richly deserved. Head teacher of Hunter Hall School Donna Vinsome said,

“We are absolutely thrilled with the results of our latest inspection.  It has been a very worthwhile exercise and whilst it was never in any doubt what a super school Hunter Hall is, as a place to educate children, it was wonderful to hear a ringing endorsement that the school had met each standard with aplomb!”

Hunter Hall School opened in 1985 and has provided an independent education for hundreds of children from around the area since.  Hunter Hall School provides a strong foundation for learning, with exam results and senior school destinations including 11+ pass rates extremely high making the school a very appealing place for children to begin their education.

Mrs Vinsome continues,

“We work very hard to ensure our school and our pupils flourish and the results we achieve through inspections, exam results and secondary school places are evidence of this.  All the team and each of our pupils should feel very proud”

Hunter Hall School continues to provide very affordable independent education with fees well below the national norm offering extremely good value education. Fees are also inclusive of after school care which helps many hard working parents knowing that their children are being looked after at the end of the school day with fun structured activities taking place.

TES Education awards

Another reason to celebrate this week is that the school has been shortlisted for two awards from the Times Educational Supplement in the annual Independent School Awards – for Marketing Campaign of the year and an Independent State School partnership award

The awards, which take place at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London in February, celebrate those schools making remarkable strategic contributions to independent education.  From individuals to teams, TES look to applaud excellence and reward innovation; providing benchmarks for the sector as a whole.


Highly Commended for Cumbrian Homes Site Manager

Wednesday, April 12th, 2017

Cumbrian Homes are proud to announce that Gary Fleckney, Site Manager at their development Carleton Manor Park in Penrith has been awarded Highly Commended in the LABC Northern Regional Warranty Site Manager Awards 2017.

The Site Manager Award recognises the outstanding contributions of site managers working on LABC Warranty sites for their vision for quality in construction. LABC Warranty Risk Management Surveyors are responsible for nominating site managers who go the extra mile. Presented at each of the LABC Regional Building Excellence Awards, the regional winners go forward to secure a place at the Grand Finals held later this year.

With over 3000 eligible site managers, it is a great achievement to have been selected as one of the regional finalists. Mike Swatton, LABC Warranty Business Development Director and Head Judge commented, “The standard of qualifiers across the board has been exceptional, once again raising the bar for construction standards”.

LABC Warranty works in partnership with Local Authority Building Control (LABC) to provide structural warranties. Their partnership with LABC means they can provide building control and warranty for developers throughout England and Wales using the combined technical expertise of over 3,500 surveyors.

Gary Fleckney was highly commended in the LABC Warranty Northern Regional Site Manager Award for his site at Carleton Manor Park in Penrith. Having amassed nearly 30 years managerial experience in a wide range of traditional and timber frame new build and refurbishment projects, Gary joined Cumbrian Homes in May 2015 as Construction Manager.  In addition to managing his own site at Carleton Manor Park he also oversees all current ongoing projects and has an overview in maintaining Health and Safety, Quality and Construction Standards.

Nigel Pallister, Managing Director of Cumbrian Homes commented,

“We are extremely proud of Gary gaining the recognition of Highly Commended in the LABC Warranty Site Manager Awards.  At Cumbrian Homes quality, excellent workmanship and maintaining high standards is our priority and Gary carries out these principles thoroughly.  He helps to ensure the smooth running of our Carleton Manor Park site and is a credit to our business.”

Hunter Hall pupils ditch the pitch for ballet

Thursday, March 30th, 2017

Year six pupils at Hunter Hall School in Penrith have been introduced to the world of ballet this term as a way of improving and developing their fitness and core body strength.

Bishop Yard School of Dance teacher Miss. Booth (parent of Grace Addison) has been asked to deliver ballet lessons to the year six group, who are working towards producing a contemporary dance routine of their own.

The lessons have come about after Mr Andrew Hetherington; Director of Sport at Hunter Hall was inspired by sports clubs using dance to improve their fitness.  Members of Carlisle United and the youth team at Wigan Warriors have been participating in ballet sessions to develop their flexibility and strength and to assist in injury prevention.

Mr Hetherington said,

 “I was keen for the children to develop their sporting talents to the full and was inspired after researching and reading about Wigan Warriors rugby players who were on a mission to break down ballet stereotypes – the team take weekly classes in ballet to improve posture, and reduce injury particularly to ankles and knees.”

Whilst there is much press coverage of ‘couch potato’ children and studies showing that approximately half of children are overweight by the age of 7, Hunter Hall School takes sport and fitness very seriously, believing that physical well-being goes hand in hand with mental wellbeing.  A fit and healthy body leads to a fit and healthy mind, which is ripe for learning.

The children of Hunter Hall School, both girls and boys have embraced the lessons, are up for the challenge and look forward to learning a new dimension of their games curriculum.

Yellowbus Solutions to bring High Speed Internet to Westlakes

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

Warrington based Yellowbus Solutions have recently expanded their operation into Cumbria and have begun work improving the network infrastructure in and around Westlakes Science and Technology Park.

Since opening the new office at the start of the year, Yellowbus Solutions have been making significant efforts to improve the Westlakes internet infrastructure with the aim of bringing super-fast broadband speeds to the area.

The company, which has been operating out of their Warrington HQ since 2000, moved into the Innovation Centre in December and is already providing IT services to many Westlakes based firms.  Yellowbus Solutions are specialists in managed IT support, cloud solutions, hosted telephony and internet services.  The move to Cumbria came following an acquisition of Furness Internet’s connectivity infrastructure at the site.

Michael Pemberton, CEO of Britain’s Energy Coast, the owners and operators of Westlakes Science & Technology Park, welcomed Yellowbus Solutions;

“Not only does the arrival of Yellowbus signify a great investment into Cumbria by a firm committed to local growth and employment, but it also brings a strengthen relationship with BEC and a key Westlakes infrastructure partner. We have been actively reviewing services at Westlakes to ensure the site is a top choice for businesses in the area, and connectivity is a critical upgrade area for us. We are pleased to see Yellowbus get to work quickly the region and make positive steps towards upgrading the capacity and quality of the broadband connections at our site.”

Yellowbus Solutions have a strong track record providing internet and other IT services to the nuclear industry and will put its experiences of running the connectivity network at Birchwood Park in Warrington, where they are based, to good use as it expands at Westlakes.

Connectivity has long been a pressure point for Cumbrian businesses and both BEC and Yellowbus believe the upgrades to the infrastructure at Westlakes will be of significant benefit to tenants at Westlakes.

Commenting on the expansion and upgrade, Michael Ruck, Director of Yellowbus said;

“The expansion into Westlakes Science & Technology Park was a natural decision for Yellowbus.  We have worked on several projects in Cumbria within the nuclear and engineering industries. These are a growing and important part of the UK’s economy and companies operating in these sectors require an IT infrastructure that is reliable, secure, efficient and flexible. Yellowbus has secured its reputation in those areas and we are confident we can deliver for Cumbrian businesses.”

Moving into Cumbria will allow Yellowbus to offer innovative products and services to an ever expanding client base throughout the North West Science Corridor and beyond.

Anyone wishing for further information regarding the new connectivity options around Westlakes are encouraged to contact Jacob Glover on 01946 552 633

A first for Cumbria – virtual reality tours at Carleton Manor Park, Penrith

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

Cumbrian Homes have launched the next phase of their housing development at Carleton Manor Park in Penrith, with an innovative new Virtual Reality tour of the site and 13 new apartments.

 The 360o computer generated virtual tour allows the buyer to actually see what the site is going to look like once complete and takes away the guess work for buyers.  When customers visit the site and stand in one of the several hotspots, the smart technology allows the user to view a 360o Augmented Reality (AR) virtual representation of the development on Smartphones or Tablets.  The tour gives a real sense of how the development is going to look and you can ‘virtually’ walk around.

The tour was created by James Bullimore at Jabster Ltd, who is based in Skirwith, near Penrith.  James has over 20 years of experience working in 3D design.  The Carleton Manor development has been expertly 3D modelled and textured by James to Architects drawings and specifications.  These 3D house models have then been positioned within a 3D landscape of Carleton Manor Park with accurate contouring based on Ordnance Survey Benchmark (OSBM) topographic survey maps.

Cumbrian Homes use high-quality products and features in their homes, which add to the customers buying experience.  Having a virtual tour of Carleton Manor Park is a modern sales tool that can inform customers and help them to make important decisions when buying a new home.

Scott Edwards, Commercial Manager at Cumbrian Homes said,

“Technology is becoming increasingly prevalent in all aspects of our lives, and we’re continually developing as a company to ensure we’re at the forefront of this. 

Not only do we use innovative building materials and technology in our homes, but we are now leading the way in how we sell our homes too.  Many other developers use 360o videos of houses they have already built.  However, where our tour is unique is that it is based on computer generated designs taken from architect’s drawings and site plans.  This provides a really powerful tool for our homebuyers, giving increased confidence and allowing them to visualise their new home and its environment before construction even starts – we believe we’re one of the first in the UK, and certainly  Cumbria, to offer this!”

At the launch of The Manor apartment block at Carleton Manor Park, visitors can view the tour with Virtual Reality (VR) goggles making for immersive viewing.  They can also experience firsthand what the interior of the apartment block will look like, which will also be available for VR viewing for the first time.  The Virtual Reality experience delivers a sense of realism allowing the viewer to feel like they are actually walking around Carleton Manor Park and inside the Manor building and apartments, with the aid of virtual reality goggles.

Scott added,

“We’re always looking for innovative ways to improve the customer experience and while physical viewings will always be important to get a sense of scale, virtual reality can really bring the space to life before it exists and help our buyers make informed decisions. We actively encourage earlier buyer involvement so they can truly personalise their new home with us – so we feel the VR and AR technologies are an exciting and logical fit for us. ”

 Customers will be able to make use of the virtual reality technology on-site using smartphones and tablets, or off-site via a smartphone with a virtual reality cardboard viewer, or by visiting where the tour can be viewed on screen.

 The Manor apartment block and its flanking buildings contain 13 luxury apartments, including 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments, from £228,000.


Hunter Hall pupil’s poetry inspiration

Monday, January 30th, 2017

Pupils at Hunter Hall recently welcomed Holly Corfield Carr, the Wordsworth Trust’s Poet in Residence in to school.  Holly spent an afternoon running poetry workshops with children in Years’ 2 and 3 and Year 6.

The younger classes’ workshop, on the theme of ‘Caves’ invited the children to collaborate in building their own portable, private space through imaginative writing.  Responding via the senses, they played games with echoes, wore headsets to simulate a cave’s ‘white noise’ and explored what happens to language in the dark!

Year 6 enjoyed a separate session entitled ‘Cairns’, in which each child was invited to select a small pebble from a small mound of stones that Holly had collected from the local area. With magnifying glasses and wet sponges, the children were able to bring out the patterns and colours of the stone. As a fun introduction to the geology of the Lakes, this workshop offered a superb starter for the children to write, arrange and ‘edit’ their own poem taking inspiration from rocks gathered in the Lake District; just as Wordsworth found his inspiration for poetry writing from the environment around him.

Year 6 pupils Connie Clutterbuck-Riley and Emily Hetherington explained that:

“After Holly had taught us some interesting facts about Wordsworth, we were given rocks that were aged between three and four million years old. We were told to use similes and metaphors to describe our rocks.  We all really enjoyed the afternoon and the poetry writing and would love to do the workshop again.”

Here is Connie’s poem, inspired by Wordsworth;

My Rock

My rock is like dozens of grains of sand

Spread out on the sunny beach near the tropical palm trees,

Glimmering and glistening under the topaz sky.

Some grains are wet and lonely,

Drowned by the aquamarine wave water

Hollowing the ground.

Others are so positive and dry that they burn in the golden sun.


Deputy Head Teacher Antonia Taylor commented,

“We were delighted to welcome Holly into school.  The children loved the workshops and learned a lot about creative writing and the local area – we have some budding poets amongst our pupils who were really inspired by Wordsworth and his love of the Lakes and writing.”

 Hunter Hall’s next Open Event is taking place from 27th – 31st March 2017.  To find out more about visit or call 01768 891291 to book an appointment