Meet The Team

Mark Hamnett

Mark Hamnett

(Fishing Matters)

Mark started his career in retail business as a management trainee and after 6 years in store management moved overseas to further his career.  Working in the Middle East, Asia the USA and Europe he has a wide experience of sales and marketing in international markets.  He retired from the corporate world in 2009 as head of Corporate Development for a Swiss corporation,  returning to Somerset to establishing his own business, Fishing Matters with a focus on consulting, distribution, sales and marketing internationally.

Located in Wincanton, Mark joined the Chamber of Commerce to network with local businesses in 2017 and has been involved with the committee and more recently as Chair with the aim of supporting and encouraging new starter and established businesses with his experience in business development, sales and marketing.

Karen Russell

Karen Wolf MAAT

(Organise My Books)

Karen is a licenced, qualified Accountant, Book keeper and Small Business Advisor and has been running her own business Organise My Books for the past 9 years.   Along with over 25 years in office management and administration in a charity, small companies and retail industries and looking after a diverse range of clients, she has a wealth of experience in many different industries. In amongst all this, she managed to be a ‘stay at home’ mum and work part time whilst bringing up her children and managing the household finances, something she believes put her in good stead for being an accountant and business advisor for small businesses.

Karen is also a qualified First Aider and has been Treasurer for the Wincanton Chamber for over 8 years now. She has also volunteered as a treasurer for other local charities and PTA’s over the years and has been involved in the running and organising of many Chamber events as well as PTA fairs when her children were at primary school.

In her spare time, she is enjoys spending time walking her Great Dane, Blue and also sewing and crafting, adding baking to her interests since lockdown!

Sarah Hickling

Sarah Hickling

Social Media Secretary
(Your Time Coaching)

Sarah’s background is in retail and has undertaken a variety of roles including store management right through to UK & ROI Trading and Communications Manager at Clarks International.

She set up Your Time Coaching back in 2016 as she loves helping others through coaching, whether it is supporting someone in taking a new career direction or supporting someone along the way in their own business. She supports individuals in a structured way to get their work/life balance to where they want it to be.

Sarah joined the Wincanton Chamber Committee team as she really wanted to support the town and offer her services to local businesses.

Paul Hacker

Paul Hacker

Website Guru
(The Honbu – Nishikan Martial Arts)

Paul is the Chief Instructor of Nishikan Martial Arts which runs The Honbu based at The Tythings

He started learning karate in 1992 and become a professional karate instructor in 2002 and is also the coach for Millfield Schools and Kings Bruton.

In 2018 he started our own association which has around 200 members. They teach a realistic and practical form of martial art and adjusts the curriculum to suit the individual, their mantra is one size does not fit all.

After 28 years of training he currently holds the rank of 6th Dan Black belt.

Richard Wakely

Richard Wakely

Event Co-ordinator
(A.J Wakely & Sons)

A.J. Wakely & Sons is a family-run business that has been providing an independent funeral director service to the bereaved since 1897. For four generations the Wakely family has had a strong presence in the local community and has provided a personal, sensitive and caring service upon which our company’s reputation has steadily grown.

Richard has worked in hospitality and construction before adventuring off on his travels. They took him to Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and the Philippines. The latter was where he spent 3 years of his life developing implementing after school, sports and outreach programs for Mercy in Action. He then entered the family business 6 years ago and has steadily grown into his role as a funeral director looking after the offices in Wincanton and Sherborne. “It is such a privilege to support and guide those families who entrust us to look after their loved one’s funeral service”.

His hobbies are is Faith, family and sport.

Helen Hermanstein Smith

Helen Hermanstein Smith

(Acorn House Bakery)

Helen has been baking since 2008 and owns and runs Acorn House Bakery, a home-based baking business in Wincanton Somerset, selling luxury personalised treat boxes, filled with speciality cookies, desserts and confectionery.  Great care is taken, wherever possible, to only source local produced ingredients. Special dietary requirements are also catered for including diabetics, dairy free, gluten free and vegan. Many of Helen’s seasonal baked good can be purchased locally at Cole’s Yard Wincanton.

Helen trained in patisserie, chocolate making and cake decorating at Westminster Kingsway Catering College and the Cordon Bleu School in London.  Helen has exhibited her cake decorating skills at many cake exhibitions and has also appeared on Channel 4’s Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas, designing Christmas Cakes.
Before training to be a baker, Helen’s previous career was within IT; having worked for The Economist and for the GSM Association, both based in London.

In addition to running Acorn House Bakery, as part of her civic duty, Helen can also be seen sitting as a Magistrate on the Wiltshire Bench.  Helen has over 20 years’ experience as a Magistrate.
Helen has been a member of the Wincanton Chamber of Commerce since 2017.

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