Each year a new panel of impeccably independent Judges are solely responsible for deciding the Exeter Living Awards Winners. They will give time to go through all the Finalists’ nominations with care.
Ben de Cruz / Managing Partner, Haines Watts Chartered Accountants
Ben is the managing partner of Haines Watts Chartered Accountants in the South West, which runs six offices across the region. He has been working with small and medium sized businesses, mainly in the owner managed business sector, for over 30 years and has built up a wealth of experience on how successful businesses are run, across a wide range of industry sectors.
Until recently, Ben was the longstanding treasurer of the Exeter Chamber of Commerce.
Ben has lived in central Exeter for 25 years with his family and pets. His hobby is walking battlefields in Europe and beyond.
Deborah Maeve Clark / Owner, Southernhay House
Born in Karachi, Deborah grew up in Kenya and Swaziland, then moved to London. She graduated in Law from Caius College Cambridge. Deborah quickly progressed to a Partner within Watson Farley and Williams specialising in International Asset Finance. She moved to Paris-based Norton Rose, to specialise in Aviation and Cross Boarder Leasing.
In 2001 Deborah bought Burgh Island with her partner Tony Orchard and together turned round a failing business. Deborah bought Southernhay House in 2010 and personally oversaw its conversion to a city-centre boutique hotel.
Deborah describes herself as, “Meddler in business, fingers in pies, hot for gossip, warm hearted, arrogant and self-styled Exeter ambassador”.
Dr Sally Basker / Chief Executive, Exeter Science Park
Sally is chief executive of Exeter Science Park, a JV between Devon County Council, East Devon District Council, Exeter City Council and the University of Exeter. It supports innovative science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medical companies to deliver extraordinary growth by hosting them in flexible accommodation, mentoring them to drive growth and connecting them to an innovation ecosystem.
Sally has over 15-years’ board/senior-level R&D and innovation experience in the highly-regulated aerospace, defence, navigation and nuclear sectors, including business development for a new South African space-based programme and technology business units for the UK Atomic Energy Authority and she led the General Lighthouse Authorities’ technology research programme.
Jane Corry / Novelist
Jane Corry is a novelist, published by Penguin. Her recent books – My Husband’s Wife and Blood Sisters – were in the Sunday Times top ten best-seller list. The Dead Ex comes out in June. Jane is also a journalist and runs creative writing courses all over the world. Until moving to Devon nine years ago, she was a tutor at Oxford University. In addition, she is a Royal Literary Fund Fellow and has worked at Exeter University, encouraging students to develop their writing skills. Jane lives with her husband in beautiful Sidmouth where she helped to found the Sidmouth Literary Festival.
Jilly Greed / Managing Director, One Voice Media & PR
With over 30 years experience in the industry, Jilly Greed is managing director and founder of One Voice Media & PR. Located in Southernhay, Exeter, One Voice is the longest established marketing, PR and digital media company in the city. With a team of eleven, One Voice has extensive experience in a wide range of sectors including retail, b2b, tourism, exhibitions and events, property development, food and farming.
As an entrepreneurial businesswoman, Jilly has been involved in numerous client marketing and PR campaigns, bringing in-depth business expertise and knowledge.
Julian Tagg / Chairman, Exeter City FC
Julian went to Exeter College and graduated in Education at Exeter University. He lectured in Physical Education and Sports Psychology at Exeter College for 20 years before retiring to concentrate on property and his children’s Summer Camp.
Football looms large: supporter from 9; ball boy at 12; signed as player at 15; coaching from 19; reserves manager until a serious knee injury ended his playing career at 23; and developed the Academy.
Executive posts include vice chair of the Trust; chairman of the City Community Trust; chief executive for two years; executive director (football) from 2013; and Julian is now chairman of Exeter City FC.
Ollie Allen / Secretary, Devon County Show
Ollie Allen has just celebrated her 21st year as the secretary of the Devon County Show, which will be held this year on May 17-19. She heads up a small team of staff at the Westpoint showground just outside of Exeter, as well as over 400 voluntary stewards, who all work together to stage Devon’s largest annual event – the County Show. She is a vice president of the Devon Federation of Young Farmers Clubs, a member of the Devon Committee for the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution, a Council member and previous chairman of the ASAO (Association of Show and Agricultural Organisations).
Patrick Cunningham / Chief Executive, Exeter Phoenix
A place at Exeter University brought Patrick to the city of Exeter and began his long history of music promotion in the South West. Since 2003 Patrick has been responsible for artistic and chief executive direction at Exeter Phoenix. Whilst working in music promotions he has co-founded the famous Cavern Club in Exeter and published Event South West magazine. Patrick’s responsibilities also include programming live performances at Exeter Phoenix, from music, to comedy and theatre.
Patrick would describe himself as committed, energetic, hard-working, inquisitive and questioning. Patrick loves the city of Exeter because it’s easy-going, cosmopolitan, friendly has such potential and is an attractive place to live.
Roger Wilkinson / Chief Executive, Wilkinson Grant & co.
Roger has worked in the local property market for around 35 years, dealing in the sale and acquisition of all types of residential, commercial, development and investment property.
Roger actively promotes high professional standards in estate agency, encouraging personal development and engaging with the local community. He embraces real work experience not just for students, but graduates and also women returning to work.
Father of six, Roger is a former chairman of the Exeter Estate Agents Association and has sat on the influential Advisory Panel for the Guild of Professional Estate Agents.
Sam Farmer / Founder, Sam Farmer
Sam is a stay at home dad who retrained in Cosmetic Science after seeing how sexual stereotypes were used to sell deodorant to his teenage son and daughter.
After two years in development and education, Sam launched his Unisex Personal Care range for teenagers through SpaceNK in 2014. It is now available nationwide.
Sam sits on the Council of the SCS (Society of Cosmetic Scientists) and is an Ambassador for their National 'Scrub Up On Science’ Schools Education Programme. He has spoken at The Royal Society of Chemistry, Voxburner, London Museum of Fashion and many industry events. Sam is married to actress Caroline Quentin and still works from home.