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.

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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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