Scottish Business Network

By Fraser Allen from Fraser Allen Communications

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Description

As a journalist and member of the Scottish Business Network, I was keen to start a fortnightly podcast interviewing the big personalities of the Scottish business world. Dip in - you'll hear from some amazing people!

Episode Date
Mark Bamforth
00:34:27
After growing up in Glasgow, Mark Bamforth spent spells working in the oil and whisky industries before embarking on an outstanding career as a biotech entrepreneur in the United States, where he has been based for many years. Mark talks through his career, and also shares his thoughts on Scottish innovation, the impact of COVID-19 and the way business needs to respond to the BlackLivesMatter protests. This interview by Fraser Allen was recorded on Zoom for a global audience of 90 business people at the online Scottish Business Network gathering on the 23rd June 2020. If you enjoy this episode, why not explore the archive? We have a wealth of fascinating interviews with big personalities from the world of Scottish business – you can subscribe to the Scottish Business Network podcast on iTunes, Spotify and numerous other providers.
Jul 01, 2020
Sara Roberts: The Healthy Nibbles entrepreneur
00:24:13
After an idyllic early childhood in New Zealand, Sara Roberts endured severe bullying when she returned to the UK, leading her to leave school at the age of just 14. That experience inspired her to succeed on her own terms, launch several businesses and thrive on her own self-reliance and resilience. Sara is now the entrepreneur behind Healthy Nibbles, providing healthy vending machines and snack boxes for the workplace and public spaces. I interviewed her on 16 June 2020.
Jun 17, 2020
Mel Young: Founder of the Homeless World Cup
00:34:07
Mel Young is one of Scotland’s greatest social entrepreneurs, responsible for establishing the Big Issue and founding the Homeless World Cup. And as well has having a hugely positive impact on the lives of the disadvantaged in Scotland, he has demonstrated considerable business acumen and leadership skills. Mel talks us through his career, the ways in which he would like to see charities and businesses learning from each other, and his new venture to discover a better way forward for society. This interview was recorded on Zoom in front of a global audience of Scottish business people as part of the online Scottish Business Network gathering in May 2020. www.allencomms.co.uk
Jun 03, 2020
Mollie Hughes: The youngest woman to ski solo to the South Pole
00:31:12
Despite only turning 30 this year, Edinburgh-based Mollie Hughes has climbed to the summit of Mount Everest not one but twice. And in January this year, she became the youngest woman in the world to ski solo from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole, No wonder she's now making such a big impact as a motivational speaker. Interviewed by Fraser Allen on 18 May 2020. [For enquiries to book Mollie as a speaker, visit www.speakerbuzz.co.uk]
May 18, 2020
Michael Mancini: Furniture designer extraordinaire
00:17:24
Hailing from an Italian/Scottish family in Ayrshire, Michael Mancini could have got involved in the family ice cream business but, from an early age, he had a passion for woodworking and furniture design. His company, 1718, now creates outstanding furniture for clients across the world. Here he tells the story of his career to date. Recorded pre-lockdown, in Glasgow, February 2020.
May 04, 2020
Crisis Special 2: The Investor, the Diplomat & the Online Entrepreneur
00:33:55
Fraser Allen interviews Alasdair McKinnon (CEO of the Scottish Investment Trust), Ellen Wong (Principal Officer at the US Consulate in Edinburgh and Adam Hunter (Chief Commercial Officer of the online pharmaceutical delivery service PHLO). All three share their experiences of managing their way through the COVID-19 crisis and the lessons they have learned to date.
Apr 21, 2020
Crisis Special 1: Our Man in China, Stranded in Thailand & the Musician's Tale
00:49:38
Kicking off a new format for the podcast series, Fraser Allen interviews three personalities from the Scottish business world about the way the coronavirus crisis is affecting them, how they are managing the situation and what they have learnt from the experience so far. It's a truly international episode. We speak to Tom Simpson from the China-British Business Council in Beijing; Becky Woodhouse, the CEO of Pure Spa and Beauty, who is battling to manage her business while stranded in Thailand; and Scottish singer Ainsley Hamill, who also brings some wonderful music to this episode.
Apr 07, 2020
Mark Beaumont: The business story behind the cycling legend
00:40:37
As well as many other endurance feats, Mark Beaumont has cycled around the globe twice, breaking the world record both times – a record he still holds today. Yet few realise that Mark is as comfortable in a business suit as he is in cycling Lycra. His experience in defining a venture, developing the finance, building the team and then successfully marketing the concept has led to a portfolio of activity supporting Scotland’s start-up ecosystem. Interviewed by Fraser Allen. www.allencomms.co.uk
Mar 24, 2020
John Newlands: The Scotsman who refused Fidel Castro's toast
00:32:38
There are two luxuries that John Newlands won't do without: dry cleaning and a good lunch. It therefore seemed only appropriate to convene over the latter to discuss his wonderfully colourful career in banking, commodities and investments. From an Edinburgh upbringing to a career in the City of London, via Brazil and Cuba (including a bold dinner-table challenge to the late Fidel Castro over the calibre of his locally distilled 'whisky'), John's story is a wonderful listen. Interviewed by Fraser Allen at Silk & Grain, City of London.
Mar 09, 2020
Brian Duffy: CEO, Watches of Switzerland
00:46:21
Brian Duffy describes his Glasgow childhood as a tour of the city’s housing schemes – which is quite a stretch from his current role as CEO of the luxury brand Watches of Switzerland. The story of how he got there, which includes launching the Playtex Wonderbra in the UK, working with Ralph Lauren and serving as a director with his beloved Celtic FC, is highly entertaining and full of unassuming but hard-earned wisdom. Podcast interview and and production by Fraser Allen of www.allencomms.co.uk, in association with the Scottish Business Network. All rights reserved.
Feb 24, 2020
Fraser Allen: Content marketing wizard* (*wizard costume not pictured)
00:27:28
The tables are turned in this episode as podcast host Fraser Allen is himself interviewed – by Sue Stockdale, host of the Access To Inspiration podcast. Fraser discusses the sale of his agency, White Light Media, his career to date (via selling magazines in the playground and narrowly avoiding jail in Turkey), plus observations on the world of marketing.
Feb 11, 2020
Norman Jackson: Rugby Special!
00:28:05
Norman Jackson is a chartered accountant who travelled the world working in the oil industry, going on to help many SMEs with strategic planning and corporate finance, and holding several non-exec director roles – including one for the past 11 years with London Scottish rugby club. To mark the start of rugby's Six Nations Championship, Norman offers us valuable and entertaining parallels between the worlds of sport and business. Interviewed by Fraser Allen at Maggie’s Centre, St Bart’s Hospital, London.
Jan 27, 2020
Russell Dalgleish: A big New Year for the Scottish Business Network
00:11:08
Before we kick off our regular series of in-depth podcast interviews for 2020, we speak to Russell Dalgleish about the exciting plans he and Scottish Business Network co-founder Christine Esson have for the year ahead. Interviewed by Fraser Allen over a rather unpredictable Skype line.
Jan 14, 2020
Ross Mickel: Leading a Scottish Housebuilding Dynasty
00:33:33
Ross Mickel hails from one of the great Scottish housebuilding dynasties, McTaggart & Mickel, which has built thousands of homes in Scotland and beyond since 1925 – although its origins actually go back to Victorian times. The company has also made a significant mark on the architectural and cultural landscape of Glasgow having been responsible for building many of the much-loved tenements in the West End. What's it like being born into a big family business, while having to ensure it adapts to the times? Ross Mickel reveals all with great humour and insights. Interviewed by Fraser Allen in front of a live audience at the Maggie's Centre at St Bartholomew's Hospital in London.
Dec 16, 2019
Sue Stockdale: Bringing 'Superhuman' performance to business
00:33:14
Sue Stockdale left school at 16 to join British Gas, and quickly climbed her way upwards – whilst also representing Scotland in athletics. An expedition to Kenya with Operation Rayleigh then proved a tipping point which led to further adventures, such as skiing to the North Pole and competing in Channel 4's Superhuman contest. These rich experiences – as well as building and then selling her own business – enable her to help people achieve more than they think they are capable. So strap on your boots and eat your greens - we're going on an adventure. Interviewed by Fraser Allen at London Scottish House in Westminster.
Dec 02, 2019
Rosemary McGinness: Global HR Expert
00:32:43
Rosemary McGinness is Chief People Officer at the Weir Group in Glasgow, overseeing 15,000 employees across 50 countries. Recently named by the Financial Times as one of the 100 most influential women in Engineering sector, she has built a highly impressive career around the world, making her way to the Weir Group via the likes of Rocco Forte and William Grant, Rosemary was interviewed by Fraser Allen of White Light Media at the Weir Group's headquarters in Glasgow.
Nov 18, 2019
Ivan McKee: Scottish Government Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation
00:37:37
Ivan McKee describes his ministerial role as that of 'Sales Director for Scotland' and combines his passion for Scotland's potential with the acumen of a highly successful businessman who knows a good MBO opportunity when he sees it. In this interview, he gives a rare insight into his business career, his adventures around the world and why he believes Scotland can thrive as an independent nation. Interviewed by Fraser Allen of White Light Media at the Scottish Parliament. . was interested in politics from an early age and, following a highly successful career in turning around ailing manufacturing businesses, he threw his support behind Scottish independence. This led him to stand as an MSP for the Scottish National Party and then become Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation. Ivan admits that the transition from running his own business to being a government minister wasn’t an easy one but is now relishing being what he describes as sales director for Scotland. We met at the Scottish Parliament on the 31st October – the day Brexit was due to happen – and talked about everything from volunteering in Bangladesh and aid comvoys to Bosnia, to making a living out of transforming badly managed factoriies and the business case for independence for Scotland.
Nov 04, 2019
Maggie Morrison: Globe-trotting IT evangelist
00:21:25
Maggie Morrison, currently Vice President and Client Partner at NTT Data UK, has a wealth of experience in IT and sales – and a thirst for travel. In the latest Scottish Business Network podcast, she shares some of the lessons from her career to date, including enjoyable diversions into the culture of the Isle of Lewis, American poetry, Eastern philosophy and Across The Universe by The Beatles. Interviewed by Fraser Allen from White Light Media in the Balmoral Hotel.
Oct 21, 2019
Magnus Wake: Scotland's rising star in the film world
00:35:47
Magnus Wake is one of Scotland’s finest film-makers, and has recently released his first full-length movie, Dark Sense. A tense thriller shot in Edinburgh, it’s the ambitious creation of a man who has had to spend as much time managing finance and stakeholders as he has behind the camera. His story is a fascinating glimpse of a demanding career – and the great news is that he has three more films in the pipeline. Interviewed by Fraser Allen at Magnus’s home in Edinburgh.
Oct 07, 2019
Anna MacDonald: Bringing music alive for child refugees
00:29:38
The career of Anna MacDonald, a London-based musician and doctor, changed when she visited an orphanage in Iraq in 2014. The experience compelled her and colleague Alyson Frazier to establish a charity called Play for Progress, which helps children and young people who have made it to the UK as a single refugees, without family or support. Play for Progress gives them the opportunity to immerse themselves in music, play instruments and learn to compose. It’s a wonderful outlet for children who, in many cases, have been through highly traumatic experiences and can sometimes struggle to express themselves. Anna tells the story behind Play for Progress as well as her other organisation, the Association for Exiled Scots. Interviewed by Fraser Allen of White Light Media in the Caledonian Club, London.
Sep 23, 2019
Michelle Thomson: Politician, musician and driver of change
00:48:04
Some successful people have one career - Michelle Thomson has had at least five, and we're still counting. Originally a professional musician, she's best known from her brief but high-profile spell as an MP. Yet she has also made her mark as a senior IT executive at Standard Life and Royal Bank of Scotland, as well as proving something of a property entrepreneur. And now together with former SNP colleague, Roger Mullin, she’s leading a consultancy called Momentous Change which, among other things, has been working on the establishment of the new Scottish Stock Exchange. Michelle discusses some of the major challenges she has overcome in a colourful career – and entertains us with a mini piano recital. Interviewed by Fraser Allen of White Light Media at her home in Edinburgh.
Sep 09, 2019
Maggie Berry: Tireless champion of women in business
00:32:07
After brief spells in a library and a bank, Dundonian Maggie Berry moved to London to work for a recruitment agency. It led to a high-profile career promoting diversity and the role of women in business – not only in Scotland and the UK but across the world. The founder of the Women in Technology Network, she is now Executive Director for Europe for WeConnect International, which helps women business owners to succeed in global markets. She’s also a former Young Global Leader at the World Economic Forum and, as you’ll hear, has an exciting guest list for her fantasy dinner party. Fraser Allen interviewed Maggie at the Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh.
Aug 26, 2019
Matt Alder: World-leading talent acquisition expert
00:30:33
An early adopter with a love for technology and an eye for an opportunity, Matt Alder is one of the world's leading talent acquisition experts. From his base in North Berwick, on the East Lothian Riviera, his updates on trends and innovations in TA are awaited with bated breath by professionals across the globe – particularly in the US. And key to his success has been a podcast series that has so far racked up three quarters of a million listens. Tune in to find out how he did it. Matt Alder was interviewed in his office by Fraser Allen of White Light Media.
Aug 12, 2019
Lance & Alasdair Gauld: The father and son partnership
00:27:32
Lance Gauld is a self-confessed adrenalin addict who loves participating in four sports: motor racing, skiing, mountain biking and running a business. He’s the man behind Cloud Cover IT, a rapidly growing Glasgow-based company. And now he has brought his son, industrial designer Alasdair Gauld, on board to help drive the business forward. Lance and Alasdair were interviewed by Fraser Allen of White Light Media at Cloud Cover IT's HQ.
Jul 29, 2019
Summer Review: Brain food, confessions and entertaining tales from 20 Scottish business superstars
00:29:38
For our 21st episode, presenter Fraser Allen reviews the series to date with clips from all 20 interviewees.
Jul 15, 2019
Simon Skinner: The man who turned around the National Trust for Scotland
00:32:30
After making his name in the NHS and a brief spell at the AA, Simon Skinner entered the financial services sector, ultimately becoming Chief Executive of AEGON Ireland. However, personal circumstances led him to return across the Irish Sea and he has spent the past four years turning around the fortunes of the National Trust for Scotland. Fraser Allen of White Light Media interviewed Simon at the headquarters of the Trust, in Edinburgh.
Jun 24, 2019
Lorna Jack: The driving force behind the Law Society of Scotland
00:49:29
Aberdeenshire-born Lorna trained with Arthur Andersen as an accountant, left to join the then-pioneering world of cable TV and then embarked on a successful career with Scottish Enterprise, ending up as President of the Americas (quite a title for the CV). She then returned to Scotland to take on the challenge of modernising the Law Society of Scotland. Vivacious and energetic, she's a natural leader – and this is an entertaining romp through the career of a lifelong 'Girl Guide badge collector' with a lust for life and travel . Her story even includes the recitation of a poem – and a very good one at that. Fraser Allen of White Light Media interviewed Lorna at the headquarters of the Law Society of Scotland in central Edinburgh.
Jun 11, 2019
Stephanie Robinson: Meet the HR expert
00:30:36
Ask a business owner what their biggest problem is and the answer is often ‘people’. Workflows can be mapped, production lines can be automated and customer promises can be made, but if you have serious HR challenges, everything can be derailed. Step forward Stephanie Robinson. Coming from an entrepreneurial family, she created a business called Solve HR which provides bespoke HR support to organisations. As well as talking us through her career, Stephanie offers insights into some of the most common challenges she helps businesses with – and how she helps employees as well as employers. Fraser Allen of White Light Media interviewed Stephanie at the Bonham Hotel in London.
May 27, 2019
Edel Harris: Award-winning social entrepreneur
00:35:14
In 2017, Edel Harris became the first woman to be named EY Scotland Entrepreneur of the Year. What arguably made that an even greater achievement was that she is CEO of a third sector organisation – the Aberdeen-based health and social care charity Cornerstone. Edel is a strong and charismatic leader, but also down-to-earth, which helps her carry people through times of significant change. She began her career as a police officer, left to start a family and then worked her way up to CEO status after returning to work at admin level and gaining a first-class honours degree through the Open University. From an Irish background but brought up in England, she has since been adopted by Scotland, is a director of the Scottish Council for Development and Industry, and is big fan of Aberdeen Football Club. Edel was interviewed in front of a live Scottish Business Network audience, at the London HQ of Bristows LLP, by Fraser Allen of White Light Media. The interview took place at the offices of Bristows, on Victoria Embankment, and I began by asking Edel where she grew up
May 13, 2019
Hannah Taylor: Fierce ambition in the world of magazines
00:38:59
As a young single mother juggling a degree at Napier University with a full-time job, Hannah Taylor took the bold decision to launch a magazine. She Is Fierce was launched on a tiny budget yet the creativity, intelligence and distinctive voice of the project turned many heads. Remarkably, against all odds, Hannah has since turned She Is Fierce into a full-time job, has an investor on board and big plans for the future. Listen in for an inspiring triumph of imagination and creativity. Interviewed by Fraser Allen of White Light Media at Hannah's home in Edinburgh.
Apr 29, 2019
Andrew Morrison: Award-winning entrepreneur & bid specialist
00:52:12
Bids and tenders are critical pipelines of new revenue for some businesses. However, putting a bid together can be stressful, time-consuming and, when it doesn’t go your way, very frustrating. As someone with a wealth of experience on the client side of bids, latterly with British Gas, Andrew Morrison spotted this and, in 2014, set up AM Bid, a business focused on getting his pitch clients over the winning line. In this episode, Andrew provides us with a mini-masterclass on the challenges of bidding, as well as revealing how he has meticulously built a business that is set to turnover £1m this year. Interviewed by Fraser Allen of White Light Media at Andrew's home, deep in the East Lothian countryside.
Apr 15, 2019
Tomás Carruthers: The man behind the Scottish Stock Exchange that collapsed before it started
00:27:13
Plans for a new Scottish Stock Exchange are well advanced, and the driving force behind it is Edinburgh-based Tomás Carruthers. It's a project he's been thinking about since his early days as an investment tech entrepreneur in Cambridge – and he's determined that it will encourage positive social and environmental change. Fraser Allen from White Light Media interviewed Tomás at the project's HQ, just off Charlotte Square in Edinburgh.
Apr 01, 2019
Poonam Gupta: The girl from Delhi who took on the world
00:18:12
Originally from Delhi, Poonam Gupta came to Scotland to begin married life with her husband. But she was ambitious and, after carrying out meticulous research, decided to create a business in Greenock trading paper globally. Building the company from scratch with no money to invest, its huge success is a testament to her shrewdness, hard work and talent for building trust with customers and suppliers. Poonam is also a shining example of the value of integrity in outstanding business leadership. Interviewed by Fraser Allen from White Light Media at the PG Paper HQ in Greenock.
Mar 18, 2019
Rhona Baillie: The 'bird from the chippy' transforming hospice care
00:27:47
Rhona Baillie is the driving force behind the Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice in Glasgow, which is seen as setting new standards in hospice care across the world. As CEO, she draws on a career in nursing and her earlier experiences working in a chip shop to bring people along with her in creating better ways of doing things. Interviewed by Fraser Allen of White Light Media at the Hospice, whilst keeping an eye out through the window for the fox cubs living in Bellahouston Park.
Mar 04, 2019
Mel Sherwood: The pitch & presentation expert
00:41:32
Ever had to pitch to a potential client or investor, or speak at a conference? And ever felt full of dread about how you're going to do it? If so, Mel Sherwood can help. Channelling her experience as an accomplished public speaker and actress (as well as the stage-fright she has experienced as a singer) she helps people make a big impression when they most need to. We hear about Mel's journey from Melbourne to Edinburgh, and get a big bunch of tips for handling those tricky pitches and presentations. Interviewed by Fraser Allen from White Light Media in Mel's home.
Feb 20, 2019
Sheila Flavell: From policewoman to business guru
00:36:11
It's the 1970s. A young policewoman is standing for hours in the freezing rain in Glasgow. All she has for comfort is a jar of pickled onions. "There must be more to life than this," she thinks. It turned out there was. Today Sheila Flavell is COO of FDM Group, the only company listed on the Stock Exchange that has a married couple on the board (husband Rod Flavell is CEO). Sheila tells the unpredictable story of her career with many laughs, honesty about the ups and downs and business insights aplenty. You will also hear the extraordinary anecdote of 'spot the organ' – not for the faint-hearted. Sheila is a brilliant storyteller and a great champion for women in business. This episode was recorded in front of a live audience at the offices of Shepherd & Wedderburn, next to St Paul's Cathedral in London, in January 2019. Interview conducted by Fraser Allen of White Light Media.
Jan 28, 2019
Gary Turner: The charismatic champion of small business owners
00:40:07
From innocent escapades as a 15-year-old 'digital shoplifter' in Glasgow to developing the highly disruptive accountancy platform Xero, Gary Turner has a fascinating and uplifting tale to tell. Inspired both by his parents and by observing life in small businesses throughout central Scotland (the financial pressures, the hopes and fears; the chipped mugs and the daily sandwich van), Gary is firmly on the side of SMEs, and tells his story with passion, humour and warmth. Interviewed by Fraser Allen of White Light Media via Skype.
Jan 15, 2019
George Mackintosh: From farmboy to global tech adventurer
00:40:53
George Mackintosh is a modern-day business adventurer, always looking for the next big thing – and usually finding it. A natural storyteller, his often humorous tale of shrewd opportunism is a great example to budding entrepreneurs. This interview was conducted live in front of an audience at the Caledonian Club in London by Fraser Allen.
Dec 27, 2018
Alistair Gray: Scotland's sporting game changer
00:42:16
He played a key role in transforming Scottish sport, made a similar impact in Ireland, modernised the English FA and worked with brands such as NCR and Famous Grouse. Intriguingly, he also spent two hours in the company of Roy Keane after Ireland's football captain stormed out of the 2002 World Cup. He's Scotland's best-kept sporting secret and eminently qualified to write his new book, The Game Changer. Interviewed by Fraser Allen of White Light Media at the Waldorf Astoria in Edinburgh.
Dec 11, 2018
Clare Campbell: The Highland entrepreneur reinventing tartan
00:28:10
Clare Campbell's business, Prickly Thistle, creates bespoke tartan designs for clients across the world, woven at her mill in north-east Scotland. But beneath Clare's evident passion for the craftsmanship of her brand, lies the steady, beating heart of a chartered accountant. She is ambitious and this business is one to watch. Interviewed by Fraser Allen of White Light Media at the Central Court in London.
Nov 28, 2018
Russell Dalgleish: Serial entrepreneur and co-founder of the Scottish Business Network
00:19:27
Russell Dalgleish was offered a career in banking but saw his future in technology. And far from wishing to be chained to a desk, he wanted to travel the world with his laptop. With his business consultancy Exolta, his role as founder of the Scottish Business Network and a plethora of investor and NED roles, he is now a very well-kent figure in the Scottish business scene, with fascinating stories to tell. Interviewed by Fraser Allen of White Light Media at the IoD, Edinburgh.
Nov 13, 2018
Christie Doran: The racing driver who shot out of nowhere
00:18:34
When Christie Doran saw an appeal in a newspaper for rookies to be trained up in motor racing, she seemed an unlikely candidate. Aged just 15, not only did she not have a driving licence, she knew nothing whatsoever about cars. Seven years on, she has established a reputation as a successful competitive driver – it turns out she was a natural. But as Fraser Allen discovers, her career is also a business. Interviewed by Fraser Allen of White Light Media at the Balmoral Hotel Edinburgh.
Oct 29, 2018
Professor Russell Napier: The Library of Mistakes
00:21:27
Tucked away in a charming mews building in central Edinburgh is an antidote to the repeated hubris that causes banks to collapse, businesses to fail and empires to crumble. Professor Russell Napier established the Library of Mistakes to help us learn from all the cock-ups we have already made, and really shouldn't be making again. Interviewed by Fraser Allen of White Light Media at the Library of Mistakes in Edinburgh.
Oct 15, 2018
Julie Ashworth: Round The World Yachtswoman turned global entrepreneur
00:32:43
Julie Ashworth interrupted a successful career at Tesco to take part in the first ever Round The World Yacht Race – despite the fact that she knew nothing about sailing and couldn't swim. Thoughtful and funny, Julie reveals the lessons she learned from that experience and the platform it created for a diverse and successful career as an entrepreneur. Interviewed by Fraser Allen of White Light Media at Julie's home in Edinburgh.
Oct 01, 2018
Tweedie Brown: Soldier, businessman and bon vivant
00:29:50
Tweedie Brown was the senior British commanding officer in Berlin when the wall came tumbling down. It's one of many colourful events in the career of a high-achieving soldier, businessman, impresario and bon vivant. Interviewed by Fraser Allen of White Light Media in Waterloo Place, London.
Sep 15, 2018