Charlotte Gillan - Managing Partner
Born in Singapore, and educated in England, Charlotte became a partner at Classic Canes in 2005 and was appointed Managing Partner in 2010. After graduating in Politics & Philosophy BSc (Hons) from the University of Bristol, Charlotte specialised in luxury goods sales and marketing, working for the Asprey jewellery group and Glenvarigill motor group (Porsche and Ferrari dealers). She was also a noted freelance features writer and now is a regular contributor to trade magazines. Her interests include long distance walking, riding, fashion, gardening and reading. Email Charlotte
Diana Porter - Partner
Born in England and brought up in New Zealand, Diana's sales background includes working for such household names as Avis and Lyons, where she learned many of the sales and administration skills that are used at Classic Canes. With her husband Ben, Diana founded Classic Canes in 1982. In the early days she sold rustic walking sticks to the local shops, often accompanied by her small children. Today she works across all areas of the business from sales to despatch. In her spare time, she enjoys riding and gardening.
Ben Porter - Partner
Born in Ghana, Ben was brought up in South Africa and Kenya. After representing Kenya at the 1958 Cardiff 'Empire Games' (now the Commonwealth Games), Ben read Philosophy & Economics at the University of Wales. He then joined the Ford Motor Company's management training scheme and worked in countries all around the world. Having built up Classic Canes' stockist network, he now concentrates on the forestry and production side of the business. His other interests include cycling (he regularly competes in seniors' races), walking and forestry. Email Ben
Pippa Firmin - Financial Controller
Pippa joined us in June 2010 as our Financial Controller. She is in charge of ensuring that the wheels of commerce run smoothly for Classic Canes as well as undertaking many other diverse duties in our busy office including purchasing, IT and management of our little fleet of 4x4s and forestry vehicles. South African by birth, she and her family have now lived in the UK for some years. Pippa is a keen follower of cricket and assures us she would always support Somerset over South Africa. Email Pippa
Alyson Partridge - Office Manager
Formidably organised, Alyson has been with Classic Canes since 2006. From an administrative background, she ensures that all domestic and export orders are promptly processed and despatched, manages the sales office and ensures that everyone at Classic Canes knows what they should be doing and when. Away from Classic Canes, she enjoys amateur dramatics and attends all the latest London shows. Email Alyson
Laura Gowers - Customer Services Advisor
Laura joined Classic Canes as our Customer Services Advisor in 2013, having previously worked in the charity sector. She now knows more about walking sticks than you would think possible to learn in one year. She enjoys advising our customers over the telephone and at trade fairs and also assists in many areas of the business including the website and the sales strategy. Laura is a keen horsewoman and falconer and is currently learning to shoot. Email Laura
Stephen Atkin - Warehouse Manager
Stephen joined Classic Canes in March 2012 and brought with him many years of warehouse management experience. He looks after all aspects of our warehouse including goods in, goods out and quality control. He also ensures our health & safety standards are everything they should be, maintains the property and vehicles, and lends a hand in the workshop. His many hobbies include motorbikes and photography. Email Steve
Valerie Manley, Tina Lacey & Shirley Lacey - Warehouse Assistants
Cheerful, energetic and diligent, the hard work of our packing team ensures orders are despatched promptly and arrive in good condition. They have worked with us for approximately 70 years between the three of them. Valerie has been at Classic Canes since 1989, making her our longest continually serving employee. Shirley has been with us even longer, with a few career breaks to have babies along the way, and Tina has been here for over a decade.
Alan White - Workshop Assistant
Alan has one of the most enviable jobs at Classic Canes. Since 2006 he has worked in our workshops, producing by hand the rustic hiking staffs, knobsticks, thumb sticks and other products that help give our company its unique identity.
Boris, Ted, Sammy & Jimmy - Security
The Classic Canes Golden Retrievers guard the premises vigorously and occasionally model for our catalogues. The dog depicted in our company logo is a Golden Retriever. In the best family business tradition, they are all related: Sammy (13) and Ted (11) are half-brothers, while Boris (6) and Jimmy (3) are nephews and cousins. Boris was named after the London mayor, for his shock of unruly blond hair and for the general air of chaos and scandal that surrounds him.
José & Catarina - Pest Control
José and Catarina have been with Classic Canes for two years, having arrived as kittens. Walking stick varnish is very attractive to mice and, as we are surrounded by woodland, the cats have to work hard to defend the warehouse, especially in the autumn and winter. In between assignments, they lounge about being spoiled by the office staff and watching orders emerge from the fax machine.