Latest News from RIAT

Latest News from RIAT

Latest News from RIAT: UK’s first female fast-jet fighter pilot is keynote speaker at inaugural business event at Europe’s biggest air show 

Latest news from The Royal International Air Tattoo’s Business Club

Jo Salter, the UK’s first female fighter pilot, will be the keynote speaker at the inaugural Business Club event at this year’s Royal International Air Tattoo. 

She was the first female fast-jet pilot flying The Tornado GR1. She admits that her first flight was the high point of her career at that time of her life. Today, Jo is the Chief of Staff to the Head of Technology and Investment at PwC (Price Waterhouse Cooper)

Helen Webb, Head of Marketing for the Royal International Air Tattoo, said: “We are thrilled Jo has agreed to come along and share her inspirational story with us. She is still heavily linked to the RAF, is a trustee of the RAF Club and a member of 601 Squadron RAuxAF. We know our guests will enjoy hearing more of her experiences.”

Jo was inspired to join the RAF after attending several airshows during her childhood in Croydon. After taking A levels in maths, physics and electronics, she applied to join and, aged 18, became an engineering officer in the Comms-Electronic branch. She also knows Wiltshire and the Cotswolds well as she spent three years studying for her undergraduate degree at Shrivenham and lived nearby during those years. 

“I am looking forward to sharing my view that leadership and achievement are about the person rather than the sector someone works in or the size of their business. I ran my own consultancy for some time and I have learned that from personal experience,” Jo said.

“Diversity isn’t just about gender, race or religion, it’s about thinking differently and allowing people to be their true selves in the workplace.”

Jo will be one of a number of speakers at The Air Tattoo Business Club which will be held for the first time at the show where companies can network in one of the Air Tattoo’s premier hospitality suites.

Guests will spend the day with like-minded organisations, enjoy business round-table discussions with pilots and aircrew who will drop in throughout the day for photo opportunities.

The event starts at 9.00am with refreshments and structured networking followed by guest speakers from 10am-11am.  The flying display is from 11am-3pm with lunch served during this time – those who want to stay in the room can take part in facilitated round-table discussions. Afternoon tea will follow at 3.00pm with guests departing from 4.30pm.

The cost is £220 (plus VAT) per person.  Details are available here or email 

Optimum hosts its first Swindon business breakfast

Optimum hosts its first Swindon business breakfast

Optimum hosts its first Swindon business breakfast.

Swindon-based Optimum Professional Services are throwing open its doors next month, for its first networking event in its new headquarters: a free breakfast for local businesses.

The firm, which provides accountancy and legal services, relocated in March from serviced offices to far larger and newly renovated premises in Stratton. 

On Wednesday June 5, the team will host the free networking breakfast, from 7.30-9am.

All local business people are welcome but you must book!

For more information or to book to attend the networking event on June 5, email, phone 01793 538 198 or visit

‘When we were looking for new offices, one of the criteria was to have a large enough space to host free events so we could add value to the service we offer to our clients and the local business community,’ said Richard Mathews, CEO of Optimum.

‘This first event is a general networking breakfast. We also plan to run themed events with presentations which will benefit businesses across various sectors. For example, we hope to run an event for landlords to update them on various legislative changes.’

Optimum combines, under one roof, a range of professional services.

The accountancy team offer business planning, personal and business tax planning, audit, bookkeeping, and payroll. While the legal team offer wills and probate, commercial and residential conveyancing and associated services. Things such as such as equity release, powers of attorney, remortgaging, land acquisition and sale.

optimum hosts business breakfast - the optimum team

For more information or to book to attend the networking event on June 5, email, phone 01793 538 198 or visit

See also:

And – Swindon Business Village –

Get Business fit with Business Village

Get Business fit with Business Village

29 December 2018

Get Business fit with Business Village

Free event will help businesses and their owners get fit for 2019

Getting fit for 2019, in personal and business life, will be the focus of a free event kicking off the New Year for breakfast networking group Swindon Business Village.

Ian Locke and Shirley Hensher will jointly deliver a presentation: ‘Fit for business: achieving personal wellbeing is key to your business success’ on Thursday January 10.

Get business fit for business village

Ian is a personal trainer and nutrition coach. He runs Thrive Personal Training, helping people move, eat and live in ways which improve their health and wellbeing. Shirley, under her business banner The Change Agent, enables corporate professionals and business owners to shape working lives which fit with their values and aspirations.

Shirley said: “The presentation is aimed at helping business owners who want to manage their health and fitness with the same level of energy and focus with which they manage their business. In other words, business owners who need motivation or support to create the opportunities for more ‘me time’ in their working week.”

Ian added: “For many of us, we are the most valuable asset our business has but we often ignore our own wellbeing in favour of the needs of the business. At the heart of our presentation is the question, your business needs you, but are you fit for business?”

The event, on Thursday January 10, is the first after the group’s Christmas break, and is free to anyone wanting to attend, as well as Business Village regulars.

It runs from 7.30-9am at The Campanile, West Swindon, and includes networking, one-minute introductions and breakfast. The usual charge for each weekly, Thursday meeting is £10 for booking online in advance (£9 early bird) or £12 on the door. The group charges no membership fee.

For more information and to book for the presentation, and other events on the Swindon Business Village calendar, visit

In their separate businesses, Ian and Shirley both work with corporate executives and business owners seeking personal transformation.

For more information about The Change Agent visit and for Thrive Personal Training visit

Swindon’s Famous Duck Race: It’s Quackers!

Swindon’s Famous Duck Race: It’s Quackers!

24th April 2018


Swindon’s Famous Duck Race: It’s Quackers!

Swindon Old Town Rotary

Right then listeners! I’ve been trying to get something written on here about the Old Town Rotary (one of them) and their world famous, in Swindon, duck race for I don’t know how long! And as the time is drawing near for this quackers event I thought I’d best get on with it.

Here’s the when and where part:

Bank Holiday Monday May 28th 2018

at Westcott Recreation Ground (opposite ‘The Runner’ pub)

Wootton Bassett Road, Swindon

supported by

Nationwide Building Society


McArthur Glen Outlet Village

featuring the Blue Cross Fun Dog Show

Swindon's Famous Duck Race


Find the Duck Race on Facebook:

Public Duck Sales

Please note you will be able to get your duck tickets for this year’s race from us at Asda Saturday 31 March,10am to 4pm, The Co-Op Old Town 14 April 10am to 4pm, GWH 25 April 9am to 3pm;

Christchurch Beer Festival 11, 6pm to 10pm & 12 May

10.30am to 4.30pm GWH 9 to 3pm; Co-Op Old Town 19 May 10am to 4pm

It’s a fun day out, all in a great cause – and you never know – your duck might win!

 And now to Swindon Old Town Rotary


‘The Rotary Club of Swindon Old Town meets every Wednesday morning to share breakfast with likeminded friends before work.

We meet on Wednesday mornings at Hotel 20 (formerly the Kings) in Wood Street SN1 4AB for breakfast. In just over an hour a week, you’ll have the opportunity to meet other professionals who want to offer their service in the community, share ideas for fundraising, hear great speakers and get connected with the local community.  Together we can do so much more.  For more details contact us at


Now a bit about the Rotary Club in general: You might not be aware bit the Rotary Club is an international, global organisation of:

‘1.2 million neighbors, friends, leaders, and problem-solvers who see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change – across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.’

The Rotary movement began in 1905 in Chicago when Paul Harris, a Chicago attorney, formed the Rotary Club of Chicago on the 23rd February. Rotary’s name came from the group’s early practice of rotating meetings among the offices of its members.  Who knew? Not me.

The Rotary International Logo



Business Village doing the business

Business Village doing the business

30th January 2017


Since donning my business hat with AA Editorial Services I’ve dipped my toe into a few networking groups with varying degrees of pleasure and satisfaction. One that I particularly enjoy is Business Village.


But rather than write about it myself I asked another regular at the group, Jo Smyth, to write a blog post about it. And you can find out a wee bit more about Jo at the end of the post.

So with no further ado – though actually I now want to know more about Jo’s insomnia?!

Business networking: what’s all that about?

Ask a non-business owner what marketing is and they’ll probably reply “advertising”. Or, if you’re lucky, “sponsorship and advertising”.

Of course, advertising and sponsorship can and do form part of a marketing plan. But one very important element of business marketing, particularly for business owners who are operating at a relatively local level, is business networking.

For the uninitiated, business networking involves getting together, often over breakfast or lunch, and – well – networking. There may or may not be presentations; there’s usually a chance to address the room briefly about your business, but pretty much that’s it.

So you may be wondering how this is marketing. Is it standing around ‘selling’ to people? Well, no.

In fact those who try to sell overtly aren’t welcome. If you eavesdrop on the chatter at a networking event you’ll hear people talking about their holidays, their families, their new grandchild (guilty as charged, Born Again Swindonian Angela!) and what they are doing for Christmas. They also talk about business – how it’s going, what their plans are – but in-your- face “please buy from me” is a no-no.

In essence, business networking is just like any other networking; it’s forming relationships with people so, should you need their services, or should you hear of someone who needs their services, you can refer them on, or engage them yourself. Equally, it is to be hoped that if they need your services, they will pick up the phone.

Think of it like social networking for businesses: Facebook, only face-to- face and with a business slant.

There are many and varied business networking groups in Swindon. Most require an annual membership fee, others insist you attend each week, some are women only. A few are free, and you get to chat over a coffee.

One which I personally favour, and which I know is a big hit with our esteemed Born Again Swindonian, is Business Village.

It doesn’t charge a membership fee, just £10 pay-as- you-go. It’s weekly, on a Thursday at The Campanile, and the format varies but we always chat, network, and enjoy a breakfast. There are presentations, business problem solving sessions, and the chance to talk about your business and make and receive referrals.

We get a good number of attendees – up to 30 some weeks – and we do pass business among ourselves. I have a number of clients at Business Village and others who I have met through Business Village connections. Equally, I have been pleased to refer myself and others to business people I have met at Business Village. I use one of them to fix my IT and another to fix my insomnia (but that’s another story …)

Business networking as a form of marketing isn’t a magic wand. It’s been described as fishing not farming. The more often you go, the stronger the relationships you build, and the more business you will get. It’s a simple but effective formula.

Business Village doing Charity Businesss

Recently, Business Village had a bit of extra money in the pot. It is non profit-making, so the organisers were delighted to be able to donate £200 each to TWIGS, a community garden project, and to the youth organisation Inner Flame. Both excellent, home-grown Swindon charities.

The photograph below (taken by Stuart Harrison photography) shows Hew Helps of Business Village presenting the ‘show’ cheque to David Wreathall who represents Inner Flame and Chris Loveday representing Twigs.

BV cheque presentation at business village

Business Village presentations 26th January 2017. Pictures Stuart Harrison Photography.

So, all in all, we get something out of Business Village and we give something back. Job done!

Business Village meets each Thursday for breakfast and networking at The Campanile Hotel, on the Delta Business Park, Swindon, from 7.30-9am. The group charges no membership fee, just £10 per visit, and all are welcome. To book, visit

About Jo Smyth

Jo Smyth runs PR and copywriting agency Word Worker, based near Swindon, working with SMEs to help get them noticed and increase their sales using the power of the media: online, offline and social.

Ready my latest, and very punny blog post here: