Hugh Ellins – Rowing Down the River….

Hugh Ellins, Associate Solicitor – Commercial

Rowing Down the River

This blog is not about development, planning, green energy, compulsory purchase or CLUEDS.  It is about 8 people over the August Bank Holiday weekend rowing from Lechlade to Teddington Lock in aid of the NSPCC in Swindon.

Some 15 years ago,  the well know ( in Swindon) , Swindon 6 (at that time 8) decided to row the same trip for the same cause.  As this year is the 25th year of fund raising in Swindon for the NSPCC the idea is mooted that we should do it again.  A little seed grew and now some of are doing it again.

Unfortunately, of the original 8 only 4 are still rowing that is Alan Fletcher, Peter Mapson, Michael Shirley and myself.  On this occasion we are being aided by 4 younger men.   That sounds a good idea but as we have found in training it creates it own problems.  We discovered the first problem at the Reading Rowing Club who are not only generously lending us the boat but also through Des Norton giving us a lot of help in training.  Oh yes, we are in training.  The distance is 124 miles which we intend to cover in 3 or 4 days.  That is a serious effort, but we shall do this in relays as the boat only holds 4 and a Cox.

The first problem is that the younger men (the boys) row with a longer stroke than us older men (the gentleman).  Initially this caused us many problems as the oars were going in and out of the water at different times.  Not only was there no passing resemblance to a smoothly operating rowing crew it meant that progress, when there was any,  was not running sleekly through the water but bearing a remarkably resemblance to a car whose timing was out.  Start splutter stop start splutter stop.  We are still not rowing with the style and rhythm of other rowers from the reading Rowing Club all whom seem to make their boats pass serenely by with little or no effort and are a joy to watch.  We are however improving so that we can get to a speed where our trainer on the bank (no he does not have a megaphone nor a bicycle) has to break out to a gentle trot.

Another problem which affects both the boys and the gentleman is getting in and out of the boat.  This is a greater problem for us gentleman.  When we were first introduced to the boat the aforementioned Des gave us clear instructions as to how this was to be achieved most efficiently and safely.  The theory is fine but practice less so.  Not only is there the issue of getting into a boat which is only slightly wider than the rowers then one has to bend into an even smaller area.  The idea is to gently sit on to the sliding seat.  That seat is clearly malignant as it has the knack of never being immediately below you as you go to sit down.  It is always at the end of the runner and where it firmly stays whatever encouragement you offer it.

Getting out has similar issues to which must be added the difficulty of unbending oneself after an hour or two’s rowing.   That results in a stiffening back and lack of mobility.

Then there is the scariest part which is putting the boat back in its resting place.  This consists of lifting it out of the water turning it through 180 degrees and then manoeuvring it over a floating platform up on to the bank then into the boatyard.  The yard is now full of other boats of a similar ilk.  All this has to be done without dropping the damn thing and particularly not the berth below our berth in the rack.   That is because as Des told us on the first occasion, we manoeuvred the boat that it is one of the GB boats.

All this effort is to enable us to accomplish the  row and raise a lot of money for the NSPCC.  If this blog inspires you to make a donation I  will  be delighted.  The donation can be made either by contacting me at Bevirs or by donating via the fundraising web page at

 As the NSPCC says every child who is worth fighting for.

Hugh 01.08.2019

Bevirs Law sponsors NSPCC Thames Row


24 – 26 AUGUST 2019 – Rowing 124 miles from Lechlade to Teddington

Bevirs are pleased to announce their sponsorship of this amazing challenge, helping raise money for the NSPCC.

Hugh Ellins, a Solicitor in our commercial team, is taking part in the challenge and will blog the trials and tribulations of training and competing in the challenge. Some 15 years ago Hugh Ellins was one of the original crew that decided to row the same trip for the same cause.  As this year is the 25th year of fund raising in Swindon for the NSPCC they decided they should do it again!

In 1992 the NSPCC recognised the need for a physical centre in Swindon to help local children and their families suffering the consequences of child abuse. At that time, although there had been an Inspector based in the town for over 100 years, there was no building in which to provide these services and NSPCC could not afford to establish such a unit without local funding.

In response some local businessmen and women formed a support group called “Swindon Business Cares for Children” which raised sufficient money in a year to purchase and equip a house which was officially opened as a Child Protection Centre by Princess Margaret in November 1993. 

Since then the Centre has continued to provide services to help children and their families to recover from the impact of abuse. The team works with children who have suffered from all types of abuse which includes physical, sexual and emotional abuse, neglect and those who have experienced domestic violence. 

The level of demand for the services of the Centre has grown dramatically over the years and over 800 children and adults were helped last year. Regrettably this trend continues and, due to the inevitable financial constraints, there is a waiting list of children in need of the services available at the Centre.

Swindon Business Cares for Children continues to raise money to support the running of the Centre and since its inception has raised over £850,000. In 2005 the group rowed from Lechlade to Teddington raising over £17,000 and this year’s row is designed to replicate that event with four of the original team plus four of the “next generation” of fundraisers. To celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the opening of the Centre SBCC is committed to raising £25,000 to support the work undertaken there and this Thames Row is part of that fundraising effort.

We would encourage anyone to help support this challenge by donating via their fundraising webpage at:


Calne Bike Meet 27 July 2019

We are pleased to announce that we are once again supporting Calne Bike Meet following on from its success last year. Calne Bike Meet will take place on Saturday 27th July 2019.

Calne Bike Meet started life as Calne Motorcycle Meet and was the brain child of two local motorcycle enthusiasts and two Rotarians back in the year 2000.

The basic idea was to bring trade to the town and to “put Calne on the map”. The first year started small with just a few bike clubs and some private motorcyclists attending but that soon changed as word got around.

Just 4 years later in 2004 the event had grown with vintage, classic and veteran bikes coming in large numbers. Then there were the specialised clubs like Bath Classics, BSA, classic Japanese, BMW, Virago, Royal Enfield and many more, suffice to say, that every make and style of motorcycle comes to Calne in their thousands on the last Saturday of July every year and attracts many more thousands of spectators, filling the town centre for the whole day.

Now it has fulfilled its original aim and certainly put Calne on the map, as people come from all over the country, with some arriving from the continent. The main reason for this success is the fact that it is based in the town centre and is the only free event of its kind in the country, and the bikers are made to feel welcome.

This year, we wish, not only to sponsor, but once again participate in the days events. This will include volunteering as well as having a tombola to raise money which will offer some fantastic prizes .

This year we hope to raise some funds for Headway A Charity that we work closely with. The Bevirs Law Team will also be available for any questions you may have. 

For the further information, please take a look at the website 

New Appointment to head up Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence Team.

Bevirs Law is excited to announce the new appointment of Nicola Heales, Consultant Solicitor, who joins us to head up our Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence team.

Nicola qualified as a Solicitor in 1985 and is a personal injury and clinical negligence specialist, and her expertise is recognised by her accreditations with both the Law Society and APIL (Association of Personal Injury Lawyers). Nicola has been successful in a number of significant Personal Injury and clinical negligence cases during her career. Nicola has particular expertise in acting for people who have suffered brain and birth injuries as well as representing clients at inquests.

Nicola said: “I am delighted to be joining such a dedicated team at Bevirs Law. It is absolutely clear that the team all work hard together for the benefit of their clients. We are more than happy to travel and make home visits so we can advise people across the region. I think there is great potential for Bevirs Law to continue to grow its services to people who have experienced clinical negligence or suffered a personal injury across the South West and beyond.”

Nicola has also achieved a Band 1 ranking with Chambers, where individual lawyers are ranked in bands from 1 (highest)-6 (lowest). Being ranked in any band is a significant achievement.

Chambers UK states:

Nicola Heales in an experienced operator in the market and is active on serious head injury claims arising from RTAs. A client describes her as “excellent in every respect” adding that she is “caring and professional, with an eye for detail”.

Nicola has previously been appointed as a Visiting Lecturer with Birmingham University and the University of Gloucestershire and is also a Lay Member of the Medical Research and Ethics Committee for Wales.

Stuart McNeil, Senior Partner, said: “Nicola Heales brings unique expertise to Bevirs Law and is highly motivated to do justice for her clients. Nicola comes with a high level of personal injury and clinical negligence expertise and a highly approachable manner, which is crucial for this complex type of work.

Anyone who has suffered serious, life-changing injuries as a result of mistakes deserves the best representation without having to leave Wiltshire. We are absolutely delighted that Nicola is joining us and helping us to continue our growth across the region”.

If you have suffered as a result of personal injury or medical malpractice, we are here for you. Our experienced personal injury and medical negligence solicitors will take the time to understand what you are going through, helping you with the answers and compensation you deserve.

In the first instance please contact us. We are always happy to discuss your circumstances and the prospect of a legal remedy for the loss you have incurred, without obligation and charge.

You can contact Nicola Heales, Head of our Personal/Serious Injury Department, directly on 01249 814536.

Meet Alaina Owens – Associate Solicitor, Commercial

Alaina joined the team in April 2019 and is based in our Royal Wootton Bassett office.

Alaina deals with various types of commercial work, with a particular interest in commercial property matters, including sales and purchases, leases, financing, development and pension property work. Alaina also deals with matters relating to the sale, purchase, leasing, financing and development of agricultural land and properties.

Alaina is one of three new recruits and will join our commercial department which has seen considerable growth over the last two years and will strengthen the team headed up by Sonyia Woolnough, Partner and supported by Associate Solicitors’ Zoe Tibbles and Hugh Ellins.

Welcome to Bevirs Law Alaina!

Community Interest Companies

High Ellins – Blog April 2019

Community Interest Companies

Despite the fact that Community Interest Companies have now been around for a long time, we were only recently asked to be involved in the creation of a Community Interest Company (CIC).  The first question to ask is whether the intention of those promoting the company can fall within the definition of a CIC.  In broad terms, a CIC must be a company whereby there is no intention to make profit for distribution to the investors.  The intention is that any profit is made for the benefit of the community.  There is an ability to pay shareholders but this is subject to a cap.

In many ways a CIC is similar to a charity but the principal difference is that the intention is to use commercial expertise for the benefit of the community as distinct from doing this from a charitable perspective.  I appreciate that the line between the two is blurred.  There is one important point which is if a CIC is created it cannot be converted into a charity.  Having said that, a charity can use a CIC for its commercial activities.

There may be many reasons for not creating a charity but the principal will be that the objectives are not charitable objectives.  For example, a CIC may be used to save the village pub.  Whilst many of us consider that to be a laudable and worthwhile exercise it is not, by definition, charitable.

In setting up a CIC you have to have a clear idea of the community which you are trying to benefit.  A community may either be the whole of the population or a definable group within the UK or elsewhere.  The important point is that the community must share a common characteristic and be recognisable as a section of the community.  Reverting to the example of the village pub, to describe the community as regular drinkers of the pub, or a particular type of beer within a pub, is unlikely to be acceptable.  However, if the community is described as the residents of the particular village then that should be sufficient.  In case the readers should get the wrong impression of the significance of alcohol in my life, other examples could be the running of a bus service for a community or a community centre. 

What is a community is widely drawn.  For example, the residents of a particular area, people with leaning difficulties, sufferers from a particular disease.  In all this, there has to be a wider community interest so that a company set up to benefit the employees of a particular employer will not be sufficient.  If the primary interest is to benefit the employees or ex-employees of a particular employer then the wording in the creation of the CIC will have to be carefully considered. 

Certain activities are specifically excluded from being capable of being incorporated into a CIC.  I have already mentioned charities and another is a political party.

CICs are regulated by the CIC Regulator who will have to approve the creation of such company.

Leaving aside the fact that a CIC has to be set up for the benefit of the community and not for the purpose of making a profit to be distributed to its members, the company will be the subject of the requirements of running a limited company with directors and the necessity of filing documentation.

CICs have been successfully used but merely because they are a CIC does not guarantee the success of the activity.  For example, if the CIC has been set up to run a taxi service, if there are not enough people who are prepared to be taxi drivers the project will fail.  The CIC is an interesting and useful concept which has assisted many worthwhile projects to be incepted and then progressed.

Hugh Ellins – 4th April 2019

Congratulations Emily Clayton-Lang

Congratulations to Emily for passing her final exam which was contract law. Emily is now a graduate of CILEx and her qualification is Level 6 Diploma in Law and Practice. The CILEx Level 6 Diploma in Law and Practice is set and assessed at level 6, honours degree level.

Emily now has one-year qualifying employment left and Emily needs to complete a portfolio before she becomes a fellow of CILEx.

Well done from everyone at Bevirs Emily . We are very lucky to have you. 

Ridgeway and Swindon College Careers Fair

We have had a wonderful week doing both the Swindon College Career Fair and Ridgeway School which we have done for the last three years.

The Bevirs Law team always find it very valuable and it’s great to hear such positive feedback from the schools. Michelle Godwin and Michelle Bowyer, both from our Family Team, shared their love of law and their journey to law and the route they took.

It’s always lovely to hear that students have found our advice beneficial and how we have inspired them to become a successful lawyer one day.

Hugh Ellins Blog – Planning for the Future

Planning for the Future

Recently I attended one of Webb Paton’s excellent seminars on farming related matters. George Paton spoke on development issues that may affect farmers.

One of the points that was discussed is that both the Wiltshire Council and the Swindon Borough Council are beginning the process of renewing their Strategic Plans which, if approved, will set out the type of development that both Councils wish to see and also the broad areas in which that development will be permitted.

Although Wiltshire and Swindon are two independent Councils they are obligated, where appropriate, to work together and, indeed, have been under some pressure so to do.

The fact that the Councils are now working on their Plans is significant in terms of strategic planning for those with land holdings. There is both a positive and negative reason for this. The positive and negative reasons are two sides of the same coin.

By making representations at the appropriate times, a landowner may be able to influence where land is allocated for development and the type of development. On one side of the coin this may be that the land which would not otherwise be allocated for development is included in the Plan. On the other side of the coin the influence may be to ensure that the land that would have been allocated is excluded.

The importance of land being allocated for development is that the question is then not whether the land should be developed but the nature of the development. In other words, in boxing terms, rounds one and two of the three round fight have already been won.

If the land is not allocated and someone wants to develop it, there is a much greater difficulty in obtaining the relevant planning permissions. To keep to the fighting analogy, it is like fighting with one hand tied behind your back.

Taking all that into account what should a landowner do? My advice is that he should start preparing for making representations by discussing matters with the likes of George or myself.

Hugh Ellins – March 2019