Business Diary: May 8

Cutty Sark  Photo: National Maritime Museum, London
Cutty Sark Photo: National Maritime Museum, London
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SOMETIMES a cool legal head is needed to stop a football team from plummeting into the abyss.

Darlington FC has been saved from liquidation by its fans, with hlw Keeble Hawson Solicitors, which has offices in Sheffield, Leeds and Doncaster, a key player in the deal.

A consortium of supporters called Darlington FC 1883 has completed the purchase of the business and assets of the club, ensuring the future of football in Darlington.

hlw Keeble Hawson advised Administrator Harvey Madden of Rowlands Accountants in the deal, which completed with just minutes to spare before the rescue deadline.

David Guest, insolvency partner with hlw Keeble Hawson, said: “It’s testament to the strength of feeling from the fans and wider community that, in the current financial climate, it was people power that rescued a football club from liquidation. There were a number of challenges to overcome and the whole team worked very hard with Darlington FC 1883 to ensure the long tradition of football in their town is still alive and kicking.”

A sailing yarn

IN the days before air freight, Yorkshire wool merchants relied on tough but nippy vessels like the Cutty Sark to keep them in business.

Bradford-based H Dawson Wool, the international wool supplier, has joined forces with one of the UK’s best tourist attractions to bring a slice of maritime history to life.

The global wool trader, which has operations in England, Australia, New Zealand, China, India, Italy and Ireland, is supplying wool for an interactive installation built to coincide with the reopening of the Cutty Sark, following a huge six-year conservation project.

H Dawson was founded in 1888 in Australia and its main business in those days was to buy wool and travel back with the wool to the UK.

Documents suggest that wool sourced by H Dawson Wool at this time would have been transported to the UK on ships such as Cutty Sark. The raw wool donated by H Dawson for the Cutty Sark will help to tell the story of the valuable fibre ‘from sheep to jumper’.

Cutty Sark was built in 1869 and in December 1883 it departed Newcastle, New South Wales in Australia with 4289 bales of wool and 12 casks of tallow, arriving back in London in just 83 days. This was 25 days faster than its nearest rival that year. The clipper was used to take Australian wool to Britain in time to catch the January wool sales.

The clipper’s final home is a dry dock in Greenwich, London. The wool donated by H Dawson will form the centrepiece of a permanent, hands-on experience for visitors.

Jo Dawson, the chief executive of H Dawson, said yesterday: “It’s highly likely that wool sourced by H Dawson in Australia travelled back to the UK on Cutty Sark at the end of the 19th century.

“We were delighted to be asked to contribute to this important project.”

‘Pasty tax’ poser

Chancellor George Osborne’s controversial ‘pasty tax’ poses bizarre logistical headaches for food retailers, according to Richard Rose, chief executive of butchery chain Crawshaw.

The tax grab, due to come into force in October, slaps a 20 per cent sales duty on warm food such as sausage rolls, pasties and roast chickens.

But it will only be levied on food which is sold at above ambient temperature.

Mr Rose said the Rotherham-based chain, which makes 38 per cent of its sales from hot meat joints including chickens and pork knuckles, is perplexed about how this will be measured and policed.

“We would have to stick a thermometer up the chicken’s backside and as soon as it gets to ambient we don’t have to pay VAT,” he said.

“We’ve got different chickens cooling down at different speeds. How do you manage that?”


Camping pitch

Student Jacob Hill, who aims to make life easier for festival goers by taking the hassle out of camping, could win an opportunity to pitch his idea to business magnate Sir Richard Branson.

Jacob, who is studying at the University of Huddersfield, has launched The Lazy Camper, which offers a ‘complete outdoors kit’ for campers. It includes essentials such as a sleeping bag, toilet seat covers, a poncho, camping stool, cutlery and stove.

Jacob has reached the final eight in a competition to win the chance to spend a day pitching to Sir Richard and three of his business friends to win a share of £5,000.

Votes are being cast to select the final four. Voting closes tomorrow at noon. Go to