Financial director celebrates 25 years’ service to Salop Leisure

The financial director of an award-winning Shropshire and Mid Wales leisure company is celebrating 25 years’ service to the business

Stephen Higgins joined Salop Leisure on December 1, 1993, when it was known as Salop Caravans, having previously served the company for four years as an external auditor employed by Whittingham Riddell in Shrewsbury.

During his time at Salop Leisure, the company moved its Shrewsbury headquarters from Meole Brace to state-of-the-art premises at Emstrey in 2006, which provided the springboard for major expansion and diversification.

Today, the company has satellite sales centres in Machynlleth and Stourport-on-Severn and owns nine caravan parks, the Love2Stay resort and Love Plants specialist plants centre.

Stephen, who will be retiring next March, began his career with Whittingham Riddell in 1972 and worked for the company for 22 years before moving to Salop Leisure.

Working alongside Tony Bywater, Salop Leisure’s chairman, he has contributed to significant business growth – turnover has increased from £5 million to around £40 million and staffing has risen from 60 to 300.

“I have the utmost admiration for Tony who still has the vision and passion to drive the business forward,” said Stephen. “He was the litmus paper that ignited my enthusiasm to take the business forward on a financial front and he remains an inspiration to the accounts team.

“I have especially enjoyed seeing the development of our young accounts team who have so much knowledge of the business and the caravan industry.

“It has been challenging at times, but it has led ultimately to my wife, Kate and I becoming the joint owners of Foggy Bottom Holiday Home Park at Churchstoke, which is managed by our son, Scott.”

Stephen was joined at Salop Leisure, at different times, by his three children, Amy, Emma and Scott, who went on to become sales and marketing manager.

Mr Bywater said: “Stephen has played a major part in the progress the company has made over the last 25 years.”