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9 rising stars from the Ribble Valley

PUBLISHED: 17:33 23 November 2015 | UPDATED: 16:36 26 November 2015

Grace Davies (credit: Rosie Hardy)

Grace Davies (credit: Rosie Hardy)

Rosie Hardy

They represent the future of our region - the young men and women who are the business and entertainment stars of tomorrow

There’s an old saying that you are never too young to think big. That’s certainly true in the Ribble Valley where young people are forging careers in a remarkably wide range of areas.

From budding showbusiness stars to fine dining chefs to brilliant business people, these young men and women are laying the foundations that will help to maintain this region as a powerhouse of creativity and endeavour. Here we look at a few who caught our eye.

Ella Shaw
Singer/songwriter
The 19-year-old from Langho has achieved so much in 2015, yet 2016 looks like it could be even more exciting with her first album on the horizon.
The versatile youngster, whose style is reminiscent of Ed Sheeran, has been singing since long before she could reach the microphone but her breakthrough came earlier this year when she had a hugely successful run on Britain’s Got Talent with Simon Cowell saying she was ‘mega, mega talented.’
Ella has recently returned from Hong Kong where she was working on the soundtrack for a new film. ‘I’m loving it,’ she said. ‘It’s so much fun but I couldn’t have done it without the brilliant support of my mum and dad.’

Hywel Griffith
Head Chef
He has been cooking up a storm at the Freemasons in Wiswell since 2013. The 32-year-old, who trained at catering college in his native Wales, earned his fine dining stripes working with head chef Paul Gayler at the five star Lanesborough in London’s Hyde Park. He has also worked in other top establishments including at the renowned Chester Grosvenor Hotel.
His move to The Ribble Valley came when he was appointed head chef at Paul Heathcote’s Longridge restaurant before joining chef-patron Steven Smith, producing show-stopping food at the Freemasons, an award-winning dining inn which made the top spot in the Waitrose Good Food Guide’s Top 50 Pubs.

Grace Davies
Singer and musician
Ex-Clitheroe Royal Grammar School student Grace is set to have a sparkling 2016. Through sheer determination, this summer the 18-year-old from Langho successfully released her debut EP, My Kingdom, without the help of a management team. She has also been noticed by the BBC Introducing scheme helping to the launch the careers of some of the UK’s most successful artists, and has her tracks available for sale on iTunes.

Tom Jones
Vintner
Tom opened award-winning Whalley Wine Shop just over five years ago after the closure of the old Thresher store which he managed. He expected to turnover ten per cent less than Thresher, but sales were ten per cent up and in five years business has doubled.
Tom, who is 30 and comes from Ribchester, described his business mantra as ‘service, service, service’ and adds: ‘We get to really know our customers and understand what they want.’ Don’t be surprised to see Tom expanding into a second location.

Tom Heywood
Business
Award-winning Tom has work experience students who are just two years younger than him but he’s not in the least fazed by running a business at the grand old age of 18. His entrepreneurial skills came to light at Ribblesdale High where he did a roaring trade in Chinese headphones sold to his schoolmates. Instead of going to college to study business, he decided to set one up, Clever Printing UK, of Clitheroe.
They now do business nationwide after Tom spotted a gap in the market to do short runs of branded products for companies - everything from mugs to mousemats. He’s been in operation for three years and annual growth is running at 60 per cent.

Kieren Spencer
Actor
Kieren set up School For Stage in 2014 at the age of 24. The professional actor and entrepreneur runs the school at Longridge High, where he takes full advantage of the facilities to deliver classes for singing, acting and dance to young, eager performers. The 25-year-old teaches drama, and his team includes a singing tutor and a dance tutor. Due to the popularity of School For Stage in Longridge, Kieren has also expanded to Lytham St Annes to serve Blackpool and the Fylde.

Aled Williams
Head Chef
This 33-year-old former Gordon Ramsay scholarship winner and Great British Menu chef has travelled the globe working in some of the best restaurants including the Fat Duck in Bray, Bathers Pavilion in Sydney and Gordon Ramsay at The London in New York. It was the perfect match when he joined Northcote in 2014 as senior sous chef before taking the helm as head chef earlier this year. It was during his time on the Great British Menu that he became the youngest chef to be crowned regional champion on the show, aged just 28.

Ben Ferguson
Business
Ben’s innovative company, H2O, creates remarkable displays using water and glass to create stunning water walls. Some of Europe’s blue chip companies and premier venues now have his creations in their reception areas and offices.
The product was designed and developed by 35-year-old Ben, who is based in Clitheroe, and his bespoke water features are now starting to attract international attention. They’ve just broken into the US market and there are signs the domestic market is opening up with people wanting H2O’s artistic creations in their homes.

 

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