Say Cheese – What Happened at our Shepherds Purse Cheeses Members’ Evening


As predicted, Bowcliffe Drivers’ Club Members’ were out in force for our second cheese themed Members’ Evening held on 8th December. Alongside guests, we welcomed Judy Bell MBE of Shepherds Purse Cheeses and Johnny Pearson from Bowcliffe’s wine merchant, House of Townend to the sumptuous surrounds of the Drivers’ Club for an evening of cheese talk and tasting.

Cheese-samples Wine

Here’s an overview of what those who attended the exclusive evening enjoyed…

Around 50 members arrived on what was a chilly December evening, welcomed into the cosy Drivers’ Club with glasses of Prosecco and a roaring open fire. Once everybody had been given the chance to network and get comfortable, headline speaker and entrepreneur Judy Bell took centre stage. Judy spoke for around an hour and a half about Shepherds Purse Cheeses – the family business she has built from scratch which is now regarded as one of the UK’s leading independent cheese producers, with no less than seven artisanal cheeses and over 250 awards to the company name.

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As Judy took the audience on a journey through Shepherds Purse’s cheese making methods, guests were treated to the main event – platter upon platter of the finest Shepherds Purse cheeses, which were offered alongside a selection of complementary wines.


Judy spoke at length of the traditional, small batch method of cheese production they still employ to this day at Shepherds Purse, as well as giving guests an insight into a new cheese which will be launched by the company in spring. She also noted that they’re working on numerous more experimental cheese flavours at Shepherds Purse, including cheese containing gin – but went on to say that each cheese needs a different environment to be produced in – so choosing wisely is essential.

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Once Judy had finished her speech, Johnny Pearson from House of Townend spoke briefly about each of the hand-selected wines, helping guests to identify the flavours within each and noting perfect food and cheese pairings.


John Topham made sure guests weren’t left hungry (no chance after all that cheese!) and served up a delicious Lamb tagine with two dishes using the Shepherds Purse Blue cheese to showcase it; blue cheese & pear salad and figs with blue cheese wrapped in pancetta. Absolutely delectable.

Bowl-food Glasses

Guests were invited to try more of the House of Townend wines in the briefing room before leaving at around 10pm.

Feedback from the event has been superb, and we would like to thank Judy Bell MBE and Johnny Pearson for making the evening an excellent and unforgettable one.

Legendary Entrepreneurs Share Insight at Charity Event

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High-profile entrepreneurs James Lambert OBE, Lawrence Tomlinson and Jonathan Turner  – who have built their companies to a legendary status – shared the secrets of their success with Yorkshire business leaders at a one off seasonal charity event last week at Bowcliffe Hall.

The event was jointly spearheaded by Connect Gazelles – a not for profit organisation which enables ambitious entrepreneurs to learn from the region’s most successful business people and thereby create jobs and wealth in Yorkshire – and Bowcliffe Hall.

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It raised over £1,500 for the Hollybank Trust which nurtures and educates children and adults with profound and multiple learning disabilities and The Jaytee Foundation, which supports the education and personal development of young people.

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Attendees were given a powerful insight into the challenges and achievements of James Lambert OBE, the chairman of Burtons Biscuits who founded and grew R&R Ice Cream into an empire before handing over the reins in 2014.

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The region’s MDs and CEOs, who are all members of the Connect Gazelles, also heard from philanthropic entrepreneur Lawrence Tomlinson, founding chairman of LNT Group, which employs over 2,000 people across its five core businesses spanning healthcare, construction, chemicals, automotive and software.

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Jonathan Turner, chief executive of the Bayford Group, which marks its centenary in 2019, shared how he had developed an empire of diverse entrepreneurial businesses which include Be Fuelcards.

The CEO also hosted a tour of the multi award-wining Blackburn Wing – an integral part of his visionary £6m multi-phase restoration of Bowcliffe Hall – the former ancestral home of unsung Yorkshire aviation hero Robert Blackburn, who entertained high profile guests there including Lord Northcliffe and Winston Churchill.

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Nick Butler, CEO of Connect Yorkshire and Connect Gazelles, said: “It was tremendous to hear the inspirational careers of three of Yorkshire’s most successful entrepreneurs who also took part in a panel discussion – and to know that the funds we raised will make a difference to Hollybank Trust and The Jaytee Foundation. I would like to thank Jonathan and the whole team at Bowclife for providing such a great morning for all of us.”

Jonathan Turner said: “I was delighted to be part of the Connect Gazelles Living Legends charity event. It is a wonderful entrepreneurial network, the panel discussion I participated in with Jamie and Lawrence was good fun and we all learnt something and were delighted to also ‘put something back’ into our local communities.”

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Samantha Goodhart, director of Bon Coeur Fine Wines, said: “The entrepreneurs motivated and inspired us – reinforcing the importance of innovation, tenacity and employing the best people in building exceptional businesses. It was also great that the event supported worthy local causes.”

– See more at:

RIBA ‘Great British Buildings’ Event

Blackburn Wing

Earlier in the Year, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) awarded the Blackburn Wing the ‘RIBA Yorkshire Award 2015’ and ‘Client of the Year 2015’ to Jonathan Turner and the Bayford Group.

Last week, key members of the architect community and notable figures from RIBA were invited to a behind the scenes talk and tour of the award-winning development. During the day, guests discovered the stories behind the building, what inspired the architects and what it means to have won the RIBA prize.

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The group enjoyed networking in Bowcliffe Hall’s sumptuous private members Drivers’ Club, before a talk led by Oliver Clark from The Harris Partnership (the Blackburn Wing architects) and a tour of the Wing itself by ‘Client of the Year 2015’ Jonathan Turner.

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Judges described the Blackburn Wing as “A tour de force of bravado, worthy of its inspiration, its location, and the passion of its client. Whilst equally bold in both its conception and final form, its aptness to its siting within both a historic environment and amongst precious trees is admirably, and surprisingly, sympathetic.

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Jonathan Turner commented on the Great British Buildings event, saying, “I was delighted that RIBA had recognised the Bowcliffe Wing and myself with two awards. A real honour. I was naturally delighted to be able to host them for a talk and visit to Bowcliffe and for them to see the Wing.”

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Five minutes with Jonathan Turner, Bayford & Co CEO, Bowcliffe Hall Custodian and Swashbuckling Entrepreneur…

Jonathan Turner Interview

Last week Bayford & Co Chief Executive and Bowcliffe Hall owner, Jonathan Turner (or JT as he’s better known), headed to the Yorkshire Post offices to spend the day as acting business editor. Later that same day, actual business editor Bernard Ginns posted a picture with Jonathan – hailing him ‘Yorkshire’s swashbuckling entrepreneur’.

For those of you who have met Jonathan, there’s more than a little of the ‘swashbuckling’ about him. Overflowing with energy, charm, enthusiasm and known for his penchant for putting the cat amongst the pigeons and causing complete chaos to the best-made business plans with the introduction of a new-fangled business ideas – Jonathan Turner is a man who knows how to make money, and have fun doing it.

We sat him down and held his attention (for as long as possible) to try and find out a little more about his way of doing business.

Did you know what you wanted to do when you were younger?

I went to business school and whilst I was there I found time to read books about Lord Hanson and Jimmy Goldsmith and a great book called ‘A Growing Concern’ by Nigel Broakes who built up Trafalgar House. So I used to read all these books about these entrepreneurs. I’m not saying that’s what I ‘knew’ I wanted to be – but perhaps it was an indication of where my enthusiasm lay.

And how old were you when you became CEO of Bayford & Co?

About the right age I guess

You embarked on a FAMBO (A Family Management Buyout) of the Bayford Group – can you tell us a little more about that?

We embarked on it in 2000, and I finished it in 2004. It’s really quite different buying a family business than any other.

In what way?

Well in most family businesses, most people either inherit them or everyone falls out of love and they end up selling them. It’s rare; in fact I’ve not met anybody else in the last 11 years that has bought a family business. I was very lucky to have the opportunity.

Did you find it energising/isolating – a bit of both?

It was quite a nightmare really because I wanted to do it, and everybody else wanted to do it – or they thought they did at the time. There were a lot of shareholders – though two clearly in control – and other family members and each understandably had their own slightly different agenda.

It was ridiculously challenging and unbelievably emotional, because you’ve got my father, my uncle, my brother, my cousin, my mother, other aunties and uncles. You can imagine all the different opinions and issues.

Do you ever switch off?

Never. I’ve got a pad and paper next to my bed so when I wake up I’ll write down something and then I’ll wake up and think what on earth does that say?!

What’s your inspiration in the business then?

There isn’t one, I’ve no idea.

What makes you tick?

I don’t know, challenges, the next challenges. Make a difference and have fun. Have fun and make money in that order, I’ve said it all my life. And if I’m not enjoying it, then I won’t do it. I want to work with people that enjoy working with me. I don’t want to work with miserable people.

Who else do you admire in business?

I just admire dogged, determined successful people. On the day my son took his school exams I told him that he’s Rory Mcllroy. He said ‘What do you mean?’ so I said ‘How do you think Rory Mcllroy won the open?’ And he said ‘he worked hard dad’. So I said ‘How are you any different to Rory Mcllroy if you work hard? If you work hard you will be successful.’

Would you have done anything differently looking back?

No. I’m one of these rare people that are very lucky to be doing what they wanted to do 30 years ago.

If someone were starting out today what advice would you give to them?

Focus, which I’m not good at. But whether you want to buy a business or sell a business, complete a family buyout, or create a Wing or design some light fittings, just focus and get on with it.

Don’t let people put you off, the amount of people that have told me that what I’m doing is madness and crazy and then later thought OK I get it. Ignore the detractors because you will get dozens of them, whether that’s people around you in the business, whether it’s the bank or the taxman – they will say you can’t do this/that.

What’s your earliest memory?

Good question – one of my fondest memories is going to school with my Dad in his Jenson interceptor listening to T-Rex or Suzy Quattro on the 8 track stereo, very cool. I was probably about 6 or 7 then, we used to live in a little house in Horsforth in Leeds, in a cul-de-sac that I remember well.

If you could pass a new law what would it be and why?

I won’t comment on that, I’m known to occasionally say the wrong thing.

What would be your X factor audition song?

‘Lucky Man’ by The Verve. I played that when I was stranded in the Gobi desert in Outer Mongolia after 8 hours of not seeing anybody (Jonathan’s 100 year old car had broken down during the Peking to Paris rally in 40-degree heat). Adam – who I was travelling with – and I were telling each other the most pathetic, juvenile jokes as we got more and more delirious because we had no water.

It’s true as you get dehydrated you get crazy, really, really crazy. We’ve got some film footage of it, I remember playing the Lucky Man on my iPod and thinking you’re a lucky man if you’re going to get out of this.

What would you consign to room 101?

Negative people – some people are born negative.

What’s your biggest vice?

Collecting junk e.g. my ice cream truck – the milk float from Eastenders – my aeroplane… does it fly?! Of course it doesn’t!

Who would you play in the film of your life?

Me. Bill Nighy perhaps, Jack Nicholson. Jude Law perhaps – he’s cheeky. I have got away with a hell of a lot over the years just by being cheeky and smiling at people. Charm gets you everywhere. Including a reasonable amount of hot water. That is a fact.

So describe your perfect day then?

Every day is a perfect day. You wake up in the morning and think thank god that happened. You make your own luck.

Ideal day away from the office?

Scotland, holidays, kids, rallying through some slightly dangerous places.

Who would you like to have dinner with and why?

Cameron Diaz or Kylie because they are quite cute. But seriously, I don’t get phased by anyone. Whoever it was would need to make me laugh. No point having dinner with Putin he doesn’t look much fun.

What charities do you work with?

I’m an ambassador for the Archbishop of York, so the Archbishop of York’s Youth Trust. My job is to help him promote the work that the youth trust does around Northern England. I’ve also got my own charity, the JayTee Foundation set up to help young disadvantaged children in Yorkshire.

What was your first job?

My first job was great. I was at Newcastle Polytechnic, now called Northumbria University, and I did a business degree and these two women, Sue and Trish came in. They ran a toiletries, textile and cosmetics business. They stood on the stage and told us all about toiletries and textiles and I thought that’s such a cool business. They were girls and they were quite good looking so I thought, I want to go work for them. So, I contacted them afterwards and went to see them and they gave me a job for sixth months selling mainly out on the road knocking on doors..

I was 21 and they were great, they made pomanders the things that you squeeze and smell, they made scented cushions, coat hangers – bath salts, Mickey Mouse bubble baths – really girly stuff.

They said to me go to Selfridges, Jonathan, and see if you can sell them this (Minnie Mouse bubble bath, Minnie Mouse bath salts etc.). So, I went down to Selfridges and sat with this woman I remember she was called Sue Purchin, and I must have charmed her as she bought all the products. When I went back the girls were beside themselves saying we’ve been trying to sell to Selfridges for years. Then they said go to Next and try sell them it, so I did and I got a big order from Next and they said this is unbelievable. Go to BHS and sell them it, and so I did.

It was only for six months and when I finished university they wanted me to go and work for them. I very nearly did as it was heaps of fun. We learnt that sex sells. I sold to the girls they sold to the boys. Genius.

If you weren’t doing what you were doing now, what would you do?

I could well be doing that (selling smellies), and I really enjoyed it!

What was your best subject at school?

English – I used to love English. Still do.

Cars aside, what are your hobbies?

I’m lucky to have a thirst for adventure. I want to go to Cuba, Nicaragua, Columbia, Buthan. I am lucky. My whole life is a hobby – I don’t have time for much more.

Top time saving tip?

Delegation – learn what you’re good at and stick to it. About 15 years ago I was running businesses and Liz [Managing Director, Liz Slater] was helping me. Liz was better with the detail than me as I’m chaotic, so it was decided Liz would run the business and I would do all the razzle dazzle.

When Alex Ferguson was managing Manchester United for all those years, he didn’t kick a ball once, and I say that all the time. So that’s just how our business is – if someone’s doing a good job I don’t need to bother them at all as I’d generally cock it up – it also saves time.

Favourite time of the day?

Waking up and I’m thinking I’m glad that happened.

Best thing about Yorkshire?

Being here, the people – the frank, openness and honesty. The sense of humour. The beer.

What’s your favourite garment?

I’m fond of my Union Jack jacket. I was racing at Goodwood and I went up to this guy and said ‘sorry I’ve never done this to anyone before but I’ve got to ask where did you get that jacket?’ So he told me and I bought one. Last year with some mates we did a 24 hour pre war race. The first time that cars pre 1939 had raced for 24 hours since 1938. I raced a 1926 Bentley and a 1933 8C Triumph with some fellow Yorkshire nutters.

I said to the organisers do we have to wear race suits – why is everyone wearing a race suit? They never wore race suits before the war. They said it’s up to you, so I wore the Union Jack jacket. So yes, I’m very fond of that.

What’s the best piece of advice anyone’s given you?

Somebody once said that no matter what you do for some people, they will never appreciate it and always keep asking for more. I remember that because it is emotional.

Worst mistake?

We’ve made loads of mistakes – I am prone to making mistakes – if you’re not making any you’re not learning and not taking any risks. It’s important to keep developing new ideas

In your opinion how much is risk taking and how much is entrepreneur characteristics?

It’s everything – that’s what it’s all about – that’s what defines an entrepreneur as opposed to somebody else. A very good friend of mine came to see me about 2 years ago. He was in paid employment with a full time job in a very high profile business. He told me he wanted to be an entrepreneur. And I said you’ll never be an entrepreneur – you’re a businessman. You’re in a high profile job, earning loads of money, it’s a PLC safe job – why do you want to leave it? You’re either like that or you’re not. Yes it’s more fun being a Pirate than being in the Navy but the pay is regular and predictable in the Navy!

What would you most likely to be remembered for?

Making people happy, in lots of different ways – maybe because I can tell a joke (often a shocker) or because I can maybe make people money or lose it! There are a lot of people that I’ve had a good laugh with – if I’m not having fun, learning or giving something then I won’t do it. That’s why I don’t watch telly – how can you sit and look at a box? It’s just not for me. I have to be doing something.

Bowcliffe Hall Members Event: Cheese Talk and Tasting from Judy Bell MBE at Shepherds Purse Artisan Cheeses


Following the unprecedented success of our first Drivers’ Club Members Evening in September, we’re delighted that Judy Bell MBE from Shepherds Purse Artisan Cheeses will be joining us for our December event.

A gutsy and passionate entrepreneur, Judy started Shepherds Purse Artisan Cheeses in 1987 and is now regarded as one of the UK’s leading independent cheese producers, with no less than seven artisanal cheeses and over 250 awards to the company name.


At 6.30pm on December 8th, Judy will be gracing Bowcliffe Hall’s Drivers’ Club to offer adoring cheese fans (that’s everyone, right?) a taste of her award-winning produce. She’ll be sharing her brilliant and inspiring story, one which began with everyone believing her ‘cheese dream’ was completely ‘baaamy’ and has ended up becoming one Rick Stein’s food heroes and a favourite with Prince Charles, not to mention being featured on Concorde’s menu and receiving a visit from a BBC favourite, Countryfile, earlier in the year.

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What: An evening of cheese talk and tasting from Shepherds Purse Artisan Cheeses founder, Judy Bell MBA, plus a selection of wines and port from Bowcliffe wine merchant, House of Townend and canapés from Executive Chef, John Topham.
Where: Bowcliffe Drivers’ Club
When: Tuesday 8th December 2015


A true family business, Judy’s family are fourth generation farmers and second gen cheese makers. Over the years, Judy has recruited a 20-strong team including her two daughters, Katy and Caroline. Though the business has seen significant growth, the family has chosen to steer clear of mass production, choosing instead to continue making small batches of handcrafted artisan cheeses on the family farm.


So if you’re someone who wouldn’t think twice about ordering a cheese board over a pud, and you love a success story that began life as a ‘baamy’ idea and through sheer determination, principles and perfectionism has become something truly special – then this is an evening you don’t want to miss.

Bowcliffe’s exclusive wine merchant, House of Townend will also be present on the evening, providing a selection of hand selected wines and ports to accompany the Shepherds Purse cheeses. A family-owned business trading for over 108 years, House of Townend has won Regional Wine Merchant of the Year for the past four years running.


In addition, our talented Executive Chef, John Topham will be serving complimentary canapés all evening – those who were at the first event will testify you won’t go hungry! We will also have the bar open for soft drinks, beers and anything else you would like if wine isn’t your tipple.

On a final note, at the last Members event a few wished that they hadn’t been driving and have said they won’t make the same mistake this time…

Numbers on the evening are limited, so if you would like to attend please RSVP early to avoid disappointment.


A Brand New Day for Bowcliffe’s Newly Renovated Morning Room


We’re delighted to let you know that our lovely Morning Room, situated on the ground floor at Bowcliffe Hall, has been lovingly renovated, restoring it to its former glory.

This beautiful, airy room with its period features and wall sash window looking out onto the charming Bowcliffe Estate, is perfect for boardroom style meetings or smaller theatre / cabaret style speaker events. With a southerly outlook, the Morning Room remains bright regardless of the winter weather, but has been fitted with blackout blinds ensuring maximum glare reduction for presentations whilst maintaining a comfortable temperature level for colleagues and guests.


Director of Property and Development, Lucinda Jennings, commented on the renovation, saying: “With vast amounts of work and restoration going on around the rest of the Estate, the Morning Room was beginning to look a little unloved and tired in comparison. We were determined to restore some grandeur into this beautiful room, injecting life, colour and highlighting period features. The project took six weeks to complete and included re-carpeting, the addition of soft furnishings, installation of focal points such as a feature mirror and light fittings and a newly paneled wall, which is in-keeping with the rest of the Hall. It has completely transformed the Room and I can vouch it is now a delightful space to spend time in.

As is the case for all of Bowcliffe Hall’s meeting and events spaces, completely bespoke packages for booking the Morning Room are welcomed, and our experienced and enormously talented events team will work with you to make sure everything runs precisely as it should.

Facilities available in the Morning Room include but are not exclusive to:

  • HDMI projector & screen
  • 42” plasma screen
  • Wi-Fi
  • On site IT advisory service
  • Conference Phone
  • Flipchart/White Board
Food for meeting room

Fancy something delicious to eat during your meeting in the delightful Morning Room? Bowcliffe can offer you a house butler service, providing refreshments and tantalising food through those all-important breaks. Want something specific or have guests with allergies or intolerances? We tailor food and service to any specific delegate needs.

To give you a better idea of what your tailored delegate rates could include, simply take a look below;

  • Arrival, Mid-Morning, Lunch & Afternoon Tea & Coffee.
  • Bacon Sandwich or Drivers Club breakfast for those early meetings
  • Fresh fruit available all day, still & sparkling water
  • A choice of a light working lunch, buffet lunch, or two-course Drivers Club lunch.
  • Delegate stationery
  • HDMI data projector & screen, white board, flip chart, 42” Plasma Screen.
  • House butler to meet & greet and assist throughout the day
  • Conference reception & Business Centre
  • FREE Wi-Fi with onsite IT advisory service
  • Free parking for 140 cars, with Chauffer (valet parking) available service
  • Day membership to Bowcliffe Hall Drivers Club
  • Natural daylight with blackout blinds
  • Breakout rooms available
  • Access to south facing lawns and terrace

The Morning Room accommodates 12 delegates in a boardroom style, 15 delegates plus speakers in a Cabaret style and up to 30 delegates plus a speaker when set up in a theatre style.

To book your meeting and discuss specific requirements, call us on 01937 541111 or email