Meet the team

Hebden Bridge Business Forum and the website is run by a wonderful diverse committee of local business people on a voluntary basis.

Alison Bartram

Chair & Recovery Programme Collective

With family born and raised in Halifax it was inevitable that I would end up planting firm roots somewhere in the beautiful Calder Valley and I am proud to have my business in Hebden Bridge. Heart Gallery opened on Market Street in 2006 to bring a different shopping experience to the town.

Passionate about working with local and UK based designers, makers, and artists I have worked hard to realise my dream whilst hopefully changing the way people think about how they shop and where they shop. I am happy to be part of a great team that is striving to keep Hebden Bridge a destination full of great independent businesses.

Roger Benn

Vice-chair & Recovery Programme Collective

I have lived in Hebden Bridge for over 30 years and married with 4 children and 5 grandchildren. A former police officer, I started my own travel business – Benchmark Travel – nearly 20 years ago.
First operating from home, I then moved the business to Top Land Country Business Park before taking over Whitesands Travel in 2012 when the merged business moved to its present home at Bridge End, Mytholmroyd  (opposite Sainsburys).  Benchmark Travel offers a full range of travel and holiday services including its own specialist tours. I am a member of Rotary and currently responsible for organising the Easter Monday Hebden Bridge Duck Race which this year will be an online event. I am also a member of the Hebden Bridge Recovery Group currently looking at ways to shape the future of HX7, both short and long term.

Paula Waring


I have worked in the retail industry for British Airports Authority, Norweb and the Cooperative Group as a Head Office Buyer and Marketing Director for over 20 years before re-training (following the arrival of three wonderful children) to teach Higher Education in Business, Management and Marketing at Calderdale, Burnley and Bradford Colleges and UCLAN University.

I now love working for the local family insurance business ‘Ryburne Brokers & Co’, established for over 50 years, and located on Market Street, Hebden Bridge. I am a strong advocate for Hebden Bridge and passionate about our local area having lived here for 28 years with my husband Simon, raising our three children.

Simon Waring

Networking Organiser

I am a partner in Ryburne Brokers and Co, independent insurance brokers who advise and arrange on all types of insurances, personal and commercial. We are one of the longest established firms and employers in Hebden Bridge. I was born and raised in Hebden Bridge, moved away after Uni but returned in 1993 with my wife Paula where we raised our 3 children.

I am passionate about Hebden Bridge and have seen the town struggle, re-invent itself and prosper. I believe a strong community needs a vibrant and successful local business core, where we all support each other and the town.

Sam Morton

Graphic Design & Social Media

I started in a small advertising agency learning skills that have underpinned my career. I became a photographic art director, moving to France to control photographic shoots and catalogues for the fashion industry. Rebranding the company and implementing protocols in three countries.

On returning to my native Yorkshire eight years ago I established Creative Noir up on the hills of Hebden Bridge, focusing on branding, photographic art direction and catalogue design for numerous businesses. I have branded and marketed Heptonstall Festival for 5 years. I also make Handmade Silver Jewellery; my design background plays a major part in my designs.

Sue Ellis

Secretary – Social Media

I have worked most of my life in sales, I was a Sales Director for the Silentnight Group for many years. But, after being beaten to death by targets I decided to go it alone and opened a Bespoke Beds & Interiors retail shop in Hebden Bridge called Junamoon on Crown Street, which was unfortunately just as demanding.
Wanting to ease off the pedal and achieve a slower pace to my life, I decided to change tack and run a holiday let in Hebden Bridge, ‘Hebden Royd House’ on Heptonstall Road. I find changing sheets much easier and less hassle!

I originate from south Manchester but have lived in the Calder Valley for the last 25 years and will never leave. I have a natural enthusiasm for the area and the people and want to put my knowledge and experience to good use, hence I joined the business forum several years ago and never looked back.

Haley Tansey

Recovery Programme Collective

I have lived in the Calder Valley since I was three years old and passionate about our patch of Gods own country. 
As a local businesswoman, I have been the landlady of The White Lion since 2017 and have also continued my parent’s, 30-year legacy and took ownership of Crown Street Fisheries in 2018. I have worked hard to ensure that the businesses buy local, support local and employ over 50 local people who are all part of my wider work family.

I have been a committee member of the business forum since 2018 and sit on the new Recovery Programme Collective for the Calder Valley. This programme wants to promote the area and organise some additional events, all the time recognising Hebden Bridge’s rich and diverse culture. The aim is to keep the town as a popular regional centre that is vibrant and active with a strong economy and strong sense of community.

Jo Gas

Social Media

I am a local lady from Todmorden. I worked for many years as a hairdresser in Hebden Bridge. Then at Calderdale College for 19 years and loved working in education, making a real difference to people’s lives. After a serious health scare, I dreamed of opening a stylish ladies clothing boutique. I made the brave decision to make my dream a reality, secured a prime location on the square in Hebden Bridge and Dragonfly Boutique was born.

I believe good customer service is essential, being welcoming, friendly and offering helpful advice is key to a successful business, listening to your customer needs in a relaxed atmosphere to enjoy their shopping experience. I am passionate about supporting fellow independent local businesses and working alongside like-minded people to improve and make a difference to businesses and tourism locally.

Mike Stephens


I help kick start and drive organisations, projects, and communities to improve people’s lives for the greater good, focusing on delivering quality outcomes and achieving lasting impact. I am a co-founder of Ayup Digital, a Tech for Good business creating impactful web software and platforms for the government and NHS, putting research, co-design, and stakeholder engagement at the heart of our work. I live and work in Hebden Bridge and I am passionate about the local community, economy, and environment. I co-founded Happy Valley Pride, the annual LGBTQ+ festival and I am also Chair of Out In The Valley, a charity working to benefit and advance the LGBTQ+ community across the Upper Calder Valley all year round.

You can find me on my Website, LinkedIn or Twitter

Val Cryne

Hi, I am Val Cryne, I have lived and worked in Hebden Bridge for more than thirty years after slipping under the wire at border control from Lancashire!! Since then, I have been an active member of the community as a chair of school governors, president of Sowerby and District Ladies Circle, a Calderdale magistrate and all the while working full time and ferrying and supporting my children to wet and muddy football and rugby matches.

In 2013 I took over the established cook shop in Hebden Bridge and joined the new business forum. It proved to be a great move as I could tap into a wealth of expertise from established and knowledgeable business owners. I was actively involved in bringing the title of winner of The Great British High Street to Hebden Bridge. Even in retirement I am still just as busy being Treasurer and an active member of Hebden Bridge WI.

Sue Slater

Mytholmroyd/Cragg Vale representative

I was born and lived in Heptonstall area all my life. I opened my own hairdressing business Headquarters in Mytholmroyd 39 years ago after training at Bradford College and working in Halifax. I have been a Heptonstall Parish councillor since 2013 and is a trustee of Mytholmroyd Community Centre and Hebden Bridge and District Old People’s Welfare committee.

I have an active role on the Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd Town development board and as part of Royd Regen I was instrumental in setting up Mytholmroyd Business Network.

Want to join the team?

We are always looking for passionate, enthusiastic and business people to join our team. If this sounds like you, drop us a line.