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, mostly in the fine jewellery industry and the motor trade. She was also a noted freelance journalist, specialising in fashion, interiors and motoring. Her interests include 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. Diana founded Classic Canes in 1982, selling rustic walking sticks to the local shops, often accompanied by her small children. In her spare time, she serves on the committees of the local horticultural society and music society, and 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, 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 has recently joined Classic Canes as our Customer Services Advisor. She is now busy learning about our product range and our customers, whom she is looking forward to speaking to and meeting at trade fairs. 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.
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 63 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 celebrated her 10th anniversary at Classic Canes in July 2013.
Alan White - Workshop Assistant
Alan has one of the most enviable jobs at Classic Canes, producing by hand the rustic hiking staffs, knobsticks, thumb sticks and other products that help give our company its unique identity. Alan has worked at Classic Canes since 2006.
Boris, Ted, Sammy & Jimmy - Security
The Classic Canes Golden Retrievers guard the premises vigorously and, after extensive shampooing and brushing, 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 (12) and Ted (10) are half-brothers, while Boris (5) and Jimmy (2) are nephews and cousins. Boris is of course named after the London mayor, due to his shock of 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 premises, especially in the autumn and winter. In between assignments, they lounge about the office where they especially enjoy watching faxes emerge from the fax machine.
Charlotte's husband, who has his own company, but - being a keen fisherman - is also an enthusiastic volunteer for Classic Canes trade stand duty at the annual Tackle & Guns trade fair. Malcolm also kindly and willingly models for our catalogues, advertisements and posters. Family businesses often rely greatly on the unseen support of spouses and other family members; we are very grateful to Malcolm for his advice and his generous acts of assistance in the interests of Classic Canes.