A Christmas Star

As our last blog for 2016 I’d like to pay tribute to an unsung hero of charity.  Since the company started back in 1975, Bryan Barker has been my family’s next-door neighbour.  His farm backs on to the grounds of my parent’s Old Rectory where we built our first workshop.  Now, only a couple of years off his 90th birthday, Bryan is still helping local charities and hospices by organising and delivering supplies of our school tea towels and giftware over-prints, plus slight rejects, for sale in their shops.  (We have a very strict quality control procedure where items are removed from the final deliveries if any small blemishes are spotted.  It is only the school products where we allow these donations to charity – not with any other customers where we have a strict non-disposal policy).


Bryan and myself sorting out some tea towels and bags for his charitable sales.

Over the years Bryan has worked tirelessly, raising many thousands of pounds.  He has always kept us informed of the amounts the various charities have raised.  It is fantastic to think that, from something that would normally be discarded, Bryan has been able to make a real difference to so many people.

So this year we would like to nominate Bryan Barker as the Star on our Christmas Tree!

Last week we also had an exciting visit from the National Trust’s film maker Kevin Babey and his father Ken, who assists him on his shoots.  When not working for the National Trust, Kevin is a free-lance film maker and works mainly for the BBC (his latest assignment was making a wildlife film project in Borneo).


Kevin filming in our busy Sewing Unit

We have been working in closer and closer collaboration with the National Trust over the last five years or so producing their tea towels and kitchen textiles.  The Trust wanted to make a video to celebrate British manufacturing at their Spring Conference and chose to feature our company.  They wanted to show the uniqueness of Countryside Art in that we design, print and manufacture the whole product within the one factory.  The Trust also wanted to promote the great quality of UK-made products and how our two organisations have formed such a close working partnership together.


Susie, packing up cushions for the National Trust and trying to pretend there isn’t a film crew looking over her shoulder!

We really enjoy working with all our customers to form such mutually beneficial bonds and are very pleased the National Trust appreciates all our efforts on their behalf.

So it only leaves me to say a huge thanks to ALL our customers, large and small for keeping us so busy throughout 2016 – we are already looking forward to 2017 and have some very exciting new projects planned – keep watching this space!

We hope you have a lovely, happy and relaxing Christmas and New Year.

Best wishes as always

Kathy Only (No Brookes) Signature

Kathy Brookes, Sales Director 

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