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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > London > Private client > Charities and not-for-profit > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Charities and not-for-profit
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Next generation lawyers

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Bates Wells  ‘takes the times to understand its clients’ values and priorities and then gives advice that is accurate and practical’. The ‘very industriousPhilip Kirkpatrick heads the department and is an ‘imaginative and resourceful thinker’. Thea Longley  ‘attracts high-profile clients and retains their confidence’. Rosamund McCarthy provides ‘clear and sensible advice and works within deadlines’ and Stephanie Biden  provides a ‘consistently excellent service’. Luke Fletcher  gives ‘excellent advice and guidance’ and Laura Soley  is ‘very experienced and level-headed’. Lawrence Simanowitz  is praised for his ‘excellent communication skills and knowledge’. Abbie Rumbold  has particular expertise in the social enterprise sector and associate Lucy Rhodes ‘tenaciously digs away through historical documents to come up with highly useable advice and solutions’. Augustus Della-Porta  is now a partner and Julian Blake  joined Stone King LLP  Clients include Oxfam and the RNIB. The group continues to advise the Royal Albert Hall on various high profile and complex governance and constitutional issues relating to the Hall’s constitution – the constitution was created by Royal Charter and several acts of parliament dating back to 1876. The Samaritans, National Federation of Women’s Institutes and BBC Children in Need are also clients.

Farrer & Co  fields a ‘very responsive team that provides clear advice and guidance’. It is a ‘good all-round and solid team that always has someone available to assist who is a safe pair of hands’. The ‘excellentAnne-Marie Piper heads the team, which includes the ‘very professional and approachableJames Carleton, who is ‘experienced and pragmatic’; Elizabeth Jones, whose ‘response times are always quick and clients feel that the advice is realistic in terms of tailoring the advice to ensure that it is commercially viable'; 'superb' newly promoted partner James Maloney; and Sam MacDonald, who advises charities and other not-for-profit institutions on all aspects of UK charity law and related tax law. Another key member of the team is Julian Smith who advises a wide range of foundations and functional charities including those organisations that have been established by statute or by Royal charter. At associate level Laetitia Ransley  is ‘extremely professional and thorough. She provides clear and concise yet comprehensive advice’. Philip Reed  is also ‘effective and personable’. The ‘strong’ team continues to advise Leonard Cheshire Disability (a major international disability charity) on a wide range of issues. In other key matters it advised on the establishment of the London Emergencies Trusts. This is a charity that was established to help victims of terror attacks and other emergencies in London.

Bircham Dyson Bell  has a team that is ‘always available for emergency enquiries and swift in its everyday working responses’. The group has ‘fantastic charity law expertise and a strong and effective relationship with the Charity Commission’. The ‘highly recommended’ Penny Chapman  heads the 13-partner team and is described as ‘the best in the arena and someone who has retained a massive enthusiasm for her job and a complete commitment to her clients. She has a very straightforward style, explains technical issues simply and advises with great integrity and practical judgement’. Jonathan Brinsden is ‘well connected in the not-for-profit sector’. Brinsden and associate Alice Unwin are both ‘very helpful, and knowledgeable’. Simon Weil is ‘highly recommended’ and charities counsel Nicola Evans  is ‘brilliant- she is the person to go to for any niche question on charity law and policy and for general charity know how’. It also continues to provide regular advice to the HALO Trust, one of the world’s leading landmine charities which employs thousands of people across the globe. Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity, Children’s Investment Fund Foundation and the Mothers’ Union are other major clients.

Lynn Povey  heads a team at Charles Russell Speechlys LLP  that ‘understands the charity sector intuitively and is sensitive to the pressures that charities are operating under’. Povey is adept at leading multi-disciplinary teams on complex charity transactions and is experienced at advising on property and development projects for charities. Consultant Mike Scott  has considerable experience of dealing with all issues surrounding charitable and not-for-profit organisations. Other members of the ‘first-class team’ include senior associate  Sarah Rowley, who is a ‘pleasure to work with, efficient and attuned to the needs of her charity clients’. The team continues to work closely with the National Museum of the Royal Navy on various projects including on the acquisition of HMS Warrior from the Warrior Preservation Trust Ltd. It also continues to advise Save the Children on all aspects of the management of its property portfolio. The Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund and Cancer Research UK are other important clients.

Hempsons ’ ‘knowledge of the charities sector is second to none. Its advice is of excellent quality and it is served with a positive ‘can do’ attitude’. Ian Hempseed heads the department and has a ‘great ability to get things done’; Hempseed garners considerable praise as someone who is ‘excellent on governance with a first-class understanding of charity law and company law’. On employment matters for charities Martin Cheyne  delivers ‘exceptional value for money with quick response times and great insight’ and associate Philippa Doyle  ‘always positively assists us’. The group acts for an impressive array of clients and has been advising the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (a Royal Charter corporation) on various matters including advising the Chief Executive on diverse governance issues such as on a series of changes to its by-laws. The team provides ‘effective advice due to its outstanding sector knowledge’. Other key clients include Turning Point, Salvation Army Trust as well as National Childbirth Trust.

At Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP  Jennifer Chambers  heads the philanthropy and charity team and routinely advises philanthropists on the suitability of various charitable vehicles, on the creation of foundations, on the terms of any grants and on tax-efficient ways of giving to charities. She is also a known name for advising charity trustees and those who transact with charities on all aspects of charity law issues and on philanthropy matters. The ‘extremely bright and thorough’ Emma-Jane Weider  is a ‘creative thinker and is a pleasure to deal with’. Weider regularly advises operating and grant-making charities in the arts and educational sectors and a range of religious and cross-border charities on diverse legal and governance issues. Ceris Gardner is skilled at advising charities and chartered bodies, grant-making and operational charities on constitutional, governance and taxation issues. Active clients include Leverhulme Trust, DS Smith Charitable Foundation, the Association of Taxation Technicians and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.

Russell-Cooke LLP has a growing team with six partners and seven associates who work exclusively for charity clients under the leadership of Andrew Studd. Studd is particularly well known for his work with charities on mergers, re-organisations and trading arrangements. Chris Rowse was promoted to partner. Rowse’s clients include 'several household name’ charities as well as a number of smaller voluntary bodies. He led the firm’s work for the Normandy Memorial Trust which was awarded £20m to build a D-Day memorial in France. Andrew Small joined the team from Stone King LLP and is highly regarded for his experience of advising charities and other third sector bodies on various property issues. Small has particular experience of advising on the property issues that arise from charity mergers and acquisitions as well as on property issues for schools. Jane Klauber is recommended for her employment law advice to charities. James Sinclair Taylor is praised for his particular understanding of the workings of the Charity Commission.  The department acts for a number of well-known names such as the British Heart Foundation, the Youth Hostel Association, Action for Blind People, World Vision UK and World Wildlife Fund.

Stone King LLP  has a number of excellent practitioners among them the ‘accessible and responsiveTim Rutherford  who is ‘happy to explain difficult issues and to then discuss solutions. He has a sound knowledge of charity law’. Jonathan Burchfield and Ann Phillips are praised for their ‘excellent response times and accessibility’ and Stephen Ravenscroft  and Reema Mathur are ‘highly rated’. The ‘experienced’  Hannah Kubie  is well regarded for her advice to charities on their commercial and financial arrangements and related matters such as on the application of public procurement rules and is praised for her ability to come up with ‘innovative solutions’. The team is lauded for its ‘well-presented advice’ and for the fact that there are ‘sufficient subject matter experts on hand to be able to tackle a wide range of questions’. Andrew Small  joined Russell-Cooke LLP  and the team recently added the ‘very bright’ Julian Blake to its ranks from Bates Wells Braithwaite. The national practice acts for over 200 of the country’s largest charities including household names. Highlights included Tom Murdoch ’s appointment by the Charity Commission to act as interim manager of the Central Gurdwara London which is the oldest established Sikh place of worship in Europe. The National Trust is another important client.

Con Alexander heads the national team at VWV, which acts for more than 1000 charities including national clients such as Citizen Advice and City & Guilds London Institute. It also advises a large number of charitable independent schools and major school charities such as Eton College, Rugby School and Education Development Trust. Other areas of expertise include advising local authorities on charity law and charity trusteeships. The team  advises faith charities as well including the Diocese of Gloucester, the Diocese of Truro and several regional Synods of the United Reformed Church. The team added Paul Voller to its ranks from Bircham Dyson Bell. Both Voller and associate Elizabeth Knight  are praised for being ‘calm and very experienced in charity law’. The group is currently advising on the restructuring of the Nightingale Fellowship and its associated charities to create a single organisation known as ‘One Fellowship’. Birmingham Association for Mental Health, Birmingham Royal Ballet and Avon Autistic Foundation Ltd are other significant clients.

At Withers LLP  the ‘overall level of service is outstanding, with prompt responses forthcoming coupled with insightful advice and robust knowledge’. Alison Paines  ensures that the ‘quality of the advice is always first-class; few others have such in-depth knowledge of NHS charities as she does’. Paines’ clients include an eclectic mix of service providers, grant-makers, educational bodies, aid agencies and research institutes as well as individual and corporate philanthropists. She has particular expertise in strategic and governance advice. Chris Priestley  provides ‘superb advice, always encompassing thebigger picture’ as well as incorporating the finer details’. Priestley has a wealth of experience of advising charities, social enterprises and other not-for-profit bodies on all aspects of their operations and regulation.

Wrigleys Solicitors LLP  has a number of well-regarded practitioners including Malcolm Lynch, the ‘excellentSylvie Nunn, and ‘very experienced’ newly promoted partner Peter Parker. Highlights included continuing to advise the Sisters of the Cross and Passion (the Catholic international religious order) on a wide range of issues including on various property transactions, governance, restructuring, regulatory and employment law advice. In another key matter the team advised Ampleforth Abbey Trustees on the transfer of an entire parish from Ampleforth Abbey Trustees to the local diocese. This transfer included all parish properties (the church, monastery, presbytery, schools, ancillary accommodation and parish shop). It has also advised the trustees of Leeds Teaching Hospitals Charitable Foundation and Leeds Hospital Charitable Foundation on the process of re-categorising and rationalising a significant amount of funds ahead of the charity’s conversion to independent status.

Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP's team is headed by senior associate Shivaji Shiva, who has a particular focus on social care charities and national membership charities in the sport and physical activity sectors. The team continues to act for charities of all sizes nationwide and is acting for a growing number of national providers of health and social care. Matthew Wort  leads the firm’s work in the health and social care sector; an employment lawyer with a particular focus on health and social care charities, Wort is ‘extremely professional, friendly and accessible’. The team is also well known for its advice to clients in the social housing sector including charitable housing providers. Highlights included acting for Broadening Choices for Older People (BCOP) a care provider for the elderly, in respect of the refinancing of two large care homes in the West Midlands. The group also acted for BCOP’s new mortgagee and worked to a very tight timescale to complete this commercially important refinancing projects.

The team at Blake Morgan LLP operates across offices in Southampton, Oxford, Portsmouth, London, Reading and Cardiff and is headed by Ben Brice  (a legal director) from Bircham Dyson Bell. The group provides a full range of legal services to charities, not-for-profit organisations and social enterprises. Areas of expertise include advising charities that are governed by an Act of Parliament as well as advising international charities that are working in dysfunctional and dangerous political regimes and disaster areas. The team continues to advise Sailors’ Society on various matters such as governance arrangements/amendments to the charity’s constitution and on charity fundraising – this includes assisting with negotiations for sponsorship support agreements. Catch 22 Charity Limited, Pilgrims Friend Society, Oxfam and Wessex Children’s Hospice Trust are other major clients.

Fieldfisher fields an ‘excellent team that provides responses in a timely manner’. The ‘amiable and helpful’ Graeme Nuttall is ‘thoughtful and proactive’. On the employment side Margaret Davis and the head of private client Penny Wotton are both ‘first-class’. The group advises not-for-profit social enterprises in the health sector such as City Health Care Partnership CIC on a broad range of issues ranging from commercial contracts and real estate to mergers and acquisitions. Other key clients include Sport England, Bloodwise (Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research) as well as Nursing and Midwifery Council. General Optical Council , Central Surrey Health Limited and Architectural Association are also clients.

Forsters LLP advises individual philanthropists, charities and other not-for-profit organisations both in the UK and worldwide. Other areas of expertise include advising on the tax implications of giving to charity both in the UK and abroad. In addition the team acts for the trustees of a wide range of charities (with a particular emphasis on those involved in education, social care and the arts). Carole Cook is one of the key members of the three-partner practice and specialises in advising UK and overseas individuals on tax, trust, estate and succession planning issues connected with philanthropic matters. Rupert Mead is also recommended along with Fiona Smith. The department is well known for its particular specialism in advising on dual qualified UK/US charities and frequently advises on structures for effective charitable giving and through Zakat.

Harbottle & Lewis LLP provides advice that is ‘considered, thorough and appropriate at all times’. Clients appreciate that Colin Howes’ ‘input is always excellent. His advice draws on his knowledge of and expertise at dealing with the Charity Commission’. Clients are ‘particularly impressed by his ability to bring a complex negotiation to a speedy conclusion without exerting undue pressure’. Howes is a long standing member of Comic Relief and the team continues to advise the charity on various matters encompassing charity law alongside broader issues relating to reputation management, fundraising and other issues such as data protection. Howes is also a board adviser to Virgin Unite (which is the Virgin Group’s charitable foundation). The team continues to advise corporate foundations, media-related fundraising charities and subsidised arts organisations as well as a number of new and innovative charities. David Scott advises some very high profile charities on all charity law issues in addition to advising high-net-worth individuals on their personal philanthropy.

Hunters Law LLP  is an ‘established firm with strong ethical standards and a very loyal client base which is founded on its depth of expertise in this field’. Practice head Paul Almy advises on all aspects of charity law with particular expertise in advising on commercial and residential property, company and commercial affairs and on employment matters for charity clients. Both Dominik Opalinski and Wilfrid Vernor-Miles  are ‘highly knowledgeable and technically excellent with strong client skills’. Opalinski has established niche expertise as a child protection adviser to numerous national and international clients many of whom are registered charities or NGOs. The skilled team acts for a broad range of charities, schools, sports clubs, humanitarian organisations, religious societies, staff associations, trade unions and many other not-for-profit organisations. It has substantial experience of handling complex matters with a cross-border or international dimension, with particular expertise in Africa.

The ‘outstanding’ team at Winckworth Sherwood LLP  includes Joanna Bussell, who is an ‘excellent lawyer who has a first-class legal brain and an ability to apply a pragmatic and common-sense approach to problems’. The ‘calm under pressure’ Bussell is particularly well known for her expertise in the establishment of not-for-profit organisations to work with local authorities. Consultant Simon Randall  is ‘responsive and an excellent negotiator’. The team advises on the full array of charity issues from restructuring and governance through to trustee training. It has a particular focus on leisure, arts and cultural charities. Aiden Hargreaves-Smith  acts for a wide range of private and institutional clients including diocesan boards of finance, individual parishes and clergy as well as Bishops and Cathedral Chapters. He is well regarded for his work with ecclesiastical charities and is a trustee of several substantial charities. Imperial War Museum, Southwold and Waveney Valley Regeneration Society as well as Epping Forest District Council are all key clients.

The ‘outstanding’ team at Bristows LLP  is known for its particular expertise in advising charities operating principally in the science, engineering and technology sector as well as in the arts and culture arena. It has particular strength in advising charities on all the legal aspects relating to medical research. The ‘brilliantMark Hawes  shows ‘forensic attention to detail and to strategy’ and Miranda Cass  is recommended for her specialism in advising charities on the various taxation issues that they face. Robert Bond serves as a trustee of the South West Grid for Learning – the firm advises it on various commercial, IP/IT and data protection issues. Clients says that Bond ‘has provided exceptional support and advice in particular in relation to data protection and GDPR’. Other key clients include Alzheimer’s Research UK.

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP acts for a broad range of charitable clients including a number of trusts and foundations that have been established by international high-net-worth individuals through to an increasing number of corporate charitable foundations. It also continues to advise donors, founders, charities and trustees as well as wealthy families in the co-ordination and management of their international charitable giving. The team has a particular expertise in the Orthodox Jewish charitable sector. Martin Paisner acts as a trustee of a considerable number of family trusts regularly advising across multiple generations. Associate Nicola Allison routinely advises a range of charities and not for profit organisations on a myriad of issues such as structuring, incorporation and registration. Clients include Wolfson Foundation and Wolfson Family Charitable Trust, Maurice and Vivienne Wohl Philanthropic Foundation and Weizmann UK.

The ‘conscientious’ team at Druces LLP ‘takes really great care of its lay clients. The team is willing to go that extra mile’. The ‘readily available’ Richard Monkcom is ‘very realistic and is able to respond quickly to problems. He has extensive knowledge of charity law’. The ‘excellent’ Helen Freely  is ‘always really pleasant and willing to fully engage with her clients while at the same time showing a great degree of humanity’. Senior associate Caroline Cropley regularly advises charities on various corporate issues. The multi-disciplinary team is drawn from lawyers across a range of disciplines that brings together specialisms in taxation, employment, corporate, commercial, property as well as litigation. This is alongside its considerable expertise in charity law. The Dogs Trust is a major client. It acts for a variety of private charities, independent schools, medical charities, religious orders and city livery companies. In addition the group advises a broad range of individuals on the tax implications of charitable giving and sets up and runs many family charities. It also acts for charities where an estate (with charitable beneficiaries) is disputed and has a particular expertise in the area of disputed estates containing high value artwork.

Macfarlanes LLP ’s clients range from family grant-making foundations through to high-profile operational charities that are active in a number of sectors from education and healthcare through to sustainable development. Much of the department’s work has a cross-border element and the group routinely advises international philanthropists and charities on their UK activities as well as advising English charities on how to comply with UK regulations when operating abroad. Notable clients include Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity, The DFN Charitable Foundation and Longshot Kids Foundation (Kidzania). The team has been advising the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity on a variety of charity law matters and also on data protection issues. Head of department Nicholas Harries  along with senior solicitors Clarissa Lyons  and Emma Cox are recommended. The skilled team advises on the full spectrum of issues such as advising on the responsibilities of charity trustees through to advising on the tax issues that affect charities including gift aid and tax-efficient charitable giving.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP  has a team with ‘genuine expertise in this area’. The team that ‘really knows its stuff’ advises on a wide range of matters and is currently advising the Museum of London on its relocation to Smithfields Market. It also acted for the international development charity CARE International (that is based in Geneva) in setting up a branch in the UK. Ian Davis  specialises in advising charities, voluntary sector organisations and public bodies. Sharron Webster  is recommended for her corporate advice to a wide range of charities particularly those operating in the housing, leisure, cultural, recreational as well as the educational sectors. Emma Burrows  is skilled at advising on all aspects of employment law to charities. UK Youth and Ambition and the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society are other important clients.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP  has a ‘very responsive team that is easily accessible even out of hours. The team’s knowledge is excellent’. Head of team is Emma Moody  who ‘wins peoples’ trust quickly’. The' approachable, pragmatic and knowledgeableJo Coleman  provides ‘well explained advice and delivers to time and within estimate’. The national team has an international reach and advises a broad range of clients such as service providers, corporate and family foundations, grant makers as well as professional societies. It has particular expertise in the education, health and care as well as the religious sectors. Highlights included advising the United Synagogue on the funding and structuring arrangements that were required to develop one of the United Synagogue’s flagship synagogues. The advice included negotiating the funding arrangements with a local charitable trust as well as advising on other issues such as the transfer of land. Gateshead College and Addaction are other major clients.

Boodle Hatfield LLP undertakes a wide range of work for leading charities such as the Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre and also has an excellent practice in philanthropy. It routinely advises corporates, family businesses and individuals on major philanthropy projects. It has been advising a major international corporate on the establishment and ongoing governance of a UK corporate charitable foundation. Simon Rylatt heads the team and is a ‘steady hand at the helm’. Senior associate Eleanor Sepanski regularly deals with governance issues as well as philanthropy and CSR planning for companies. The skilled team is adept at advising corporate clients and family offices on various matters such as structuring philanthropic initiatives, establishing new charities, liaising with the Charity Commission as well as acting as trustees.

The ‘technically excellentDavid Goepel  heads the team at Edwin Coe LLP . The group is increasingly advising on the structuring and on the establishment of new charities for private individuals and families. Goepel has recently advised a number of UK charities on a variety of issues and also has extensive experience of advising charitable donors often in a cross-border context on establishing and registering family charitable foundations. He also advises on how to facilitate cross-border charitable gifts in a tax efficient way. The team continues to advise Theatre Royal Haymarket’s charity on its conversion from a charitable trust to a charitable company limited by guarantee. The work has included advising on the new governing documents and on other employment, contractual and IP issues as a result of the transfer. The Lion Youth Club, Save our Sons and the Salvation Army International Trustee Company are other major clients.

Glynne Stanfield  heads the charity team at Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP  and Paul Pugh  heads the third sector services team. The team in the last year has acted for over 250 charities and has particular expertise in advising research institutions and grant makers on various matters such as governance, international giving, social investments and tax. It recently advised the Royal Society of Chemistry on its benevolent fund and on the powers of the trustee in relation to the fund. Turning Point, South Downs National Trust and Royal College of General Practitioners are other major clients. It also acts for Dementia Research Institute, Further Education Trust for Leadership and Dewsbury Endowed Schools Foundation.

Cambridge-based Neil Burton heads the team at Mills & Reeve LLP. Burton ‘inspires confidence with his mixture of technical knowledge and pragmatism’. Senior associate Mark Ashton is ‘approachable and responsive’. The team has been busy advising on various matters. Highlights included UK Sport instructing the team to carry out governance reviews for a number of UK Sport and Sport England funded organisations. These organisations included  British Amateur Boxing Association, British Rowing and the British Paralympic Association. The team had to ensure that these organisations' articles of association met the requirements of the new Code of Sports Governance. The team’s remit also included recommending appropriate constitutional amendments as necessary. In other matters on a complex deal it acted for Christian Blind Mission (CRM) in the merger of CRM UK and BasicNeeds. CRM is a major international charity that works in 59 countries, Other important clients include Sainsbury Laboratory, Big Issue Invest, Francis Crick Institute and the Federation of European Biochemical Societies.

Alison Talbot leads the charities practice at Penningtons Manches Cooper. Talbot is ‘extremely warm and has a great client manner but also has a fantastic depth of knowledge and an extremely tough edge when needed’. Senior associate Philip Collins heads the charity litigation practice and he is described as being ‘very hard-nosed and a tough litigator who has a strong commercial background that shows through in his charities work’. Talbot has a particular interest in supporting charities through organisational change, disputes and distress situations. She also specialises in legacy management and routinely advises finance departments on ways to generate income. She also assists charities that are appointed as executors or beneficiaries of wills on how to manage legal and tax issues resulting from gifts to charities. Her client base is focused primarily on large charities and on those charities in the education sector. Major clients include Oxford colleges, universities, academy schools, trusts and further education colleges. The team has been advising PDSA on a wide variety of legacy matters. Other significant clients include the National Trust, British Red Cross, Hearing Dogs for Deaf and Care Ashore.

The team at Pothecary Witham Weld Solicitors has the ‘ability to find answers which may not be obvious to others’. Head of team Gerald Kidd is ‘excellent’. Kidd has particular expertise in advising on the issues facing charities and religious institutions relating to governance, commercial and on general financial matters. Alexa Beale is ‘responsive, helpful and well-informed’. The firm is particularly known for its work with religious institutions and for its advice to many Catholic charities and the Methodist Church. It acts for various schools, care homes, finance boards, pension schemes and the trading arms of these bodies. It has recently been busy acting on a number of academy conversions, school acquisitions and large-scale developments of church buildings. It has a number of well-known clients such as The Baptist Union of Wales, Seafarers UK, Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases and Epworth Investment Management.

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