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people news Peppa Pig and

friends say hi A host of new friends have greeted Caroline Weaver and Sarah McNicholl at Gemma International.

For the pair have just joined the company which has more than 30 key licences in its portfolio, including Disney, Peppa Pig, Hello Kitty and Moshi Monsters.

And Gemma

International is showing its commitment to growth by appointing the pair to the two newly-created positions.

Marketing manager Caroline has

more than eight years’ experience of building and developing brands, moving to Gemma from Carte Blanche.

In her new role, Caroline will be

focusing on developing the marketing strategy for Gemma’s impressive portfolio of characters on licensed greetings, gift packaging, party-ware, gift and stationery Customer projects manager Sarah joins the company from UK Greetings, and will be looking at customer service, sales support, category management and brokerage. T: 01264 388400

Philip punches

in as director Philip Dutton has been appointed as a non-executive director and chairman of International Greetings PLC audit committee.

Mr Dutton has developed his

career in retail and consumer facing businesses, holding several senior board roles of listed companies. International Greetings, which has its UK head offi ce in Hatfi eld, Herts, is one of the world’s leading designers, manufacturers, importers and distributors of greetings cards, giftwrap, stationery, gift bags and accessories. The 50-year-old moves from Punch

Taverns, where he was group fi nance director from 2007, prior to that he was fi nance director at Matalan for fi ve years. T: 01707 630630

Ironing out the tough spots

Men and ironing don’t usually belong in the same sentence but Paul Roberts couldn’t stop grinning as he pressed his pants – in the Sahara! The Emma Ball Ltd Commercial Director had just crossed the fi nish line of the 155-mile Marathon des Sables – the hardest foot race on Earth – with his trusty ironing board strapped to his back.

The event involves completing the equivalent of a marathon every day for six days in temperatures up to 50C.

“‘The other athletes were

expecting me to give them a rational answer as to why I was doing it,” said Paul, 45, “but there isn’t really one. It’s all about doing something extreme and taking pictures of yourself ironing in unusual locations. It really makes no more sense than that. “ And Paul’s intense six-month training regime – with work fi tted in too –

paid off when he fi nished an impressive 364th, beating more than half the 860-strong fi eld despite carrying the board as well as all his supplies for the trip in a rucksack.

After six stages - 21miles, 24m, 21km, 56m, 26m, 9m – with a rest day in the middle, Paul crossed the fi nish line: “And the ironing board came off! Seven days and 155 brutal miles later I was actually ironing in front of the world’s media – surreal! “A lot of the guys really didn’t want to get beaten by the bloke carrying an

ironing board around. But people do see that you are putting yourself out and I eventually got lots of support on the course.” The event organisers awarded Paul a special Most Extreme Competitor

certifi cate to mark his efforts. But he almost failed to fi nish the punishing race when a sand storm fl oored him during one brutal stage. Paul said: “One time the wind actually took me off my feet - I was on my back like a turtle and I couldn’t roll back on to my feet - it took me almost a minute to get back up. “I’m certainly the fi rst person ever to complete the race with a fi ve-foot piece of metal attached to his back and I imagine I’ll be the last. I don’t think people will be rushing to outdo me!” The super-fi t dad of 10-year-old Maddie has so far raised £6,000 for St

Richard’s Hospice, Worcester, and The Children’s Society. He added: “I’ve done all kinds of mad things, the whole extreme ironing thing has been going on for a while and I’ve done it for about seven years. “I’ve cycled from Land’s End to John O’Groats with the board, I was the

fi rst to do that with a board. That’s the point for me, to be the fi rst. “I competed in the world bog-snorkelling championships in Wales, I’ve done 24-hour marathon bike rides – it’s seen quite a bit of action my board! I’ve always had the same one although I did give it away at the fi nish line in the Sahara – to a local who proably has no idea what an ironing board is – because the logistics of getting it back were horrendous. “I feel fi ne. I’m running again although my feet were a bit of a mess but I got some treatment. It was such a brilliant event, I can recommend it to anyone – but you just need six months beforehand to commit to training!

“I’m not a runner but it seems a waste

of all this fi tness if I don’t do anything else.

“My next challenges are the Brecon Ultra 46-mile run around the Brecon Beacons and the Ring Of Fire around Anglesey. It’s 130 miles around the coastal path in three days and includes 15,000 feet of climbing!”

Tim joins James Stewart

James Stewart Printers have appointed Tim Johnson as Sales Manager. Tim’s long career in the greetings

card industry includes working with Andrew Brownsword,

Hallmark, Paper House and Is it Art.

Managing Director Aimee Joy said: “We are delighted Tim has joined us as we go through a period of growth in our greeting card division.” The Hertford-based fi rm’s services include B2 printing, fl ittering, die stamping, foiling and embossing. T: 01992 582531

Beverley sings

a Rainbow Red and yellow and pink and green – Beverley Jones is singing a rainbow thanks to her new job. With more than 27 years’ sales experience, Beverley has joined Rainbow Designs as the new Area Sales Manager for the Midlands. She will be working with independent retailers across the region for the leading licensed character manufacturer. Zara Grindrod,

Rainbow’s Director of Sales, said, “We are delighted to be welcoming Beverley on board.” T: 01329 227300


director leaves Carte Blanche commercial director Richard Edmondson has left the business with immediate effect. The greetings card, gifts and

homeware fi rm, best known for Tatty Teddy and My Blue Nose Friends announced Paul Haines is assuming interim responsibility for Licensing with Johnny Lancaster taking over International.

CEO Alister Marchant said:

“Richard has made a valued contribution to Carte Blanche over the years and leaves behind a legacy from which we can further build. ” T: 0870 6000 441 11

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