Episode Twelve : Thatchers Cider

Episode Twelve : Thatchers Cider

One Stanley Thatcher pioneered cider science on his farm and vouched for innovative methods of apple growth and cider production, and as the industry followed suit, so too did several generations of the Thatcher family to grow an
iconic brand.

As Martin Thatcher, Managing Director and 4th generation cider maker, prepares to pass the baton to daughter Eleanor, currently a Fermentation Supervisor, they join Liz & Leila on “It Runs In The Family” to share how the family’s love, care and attention has helped to develop their now 500+ acre operations.

Martin and Eleanor also discuss the complexities of growing a team with the same strong values as the family members themselves, the sense of pride in the previous generations and the risks they took, and much more.

 This episode covers:

● How a generations-old business generates new ideas
● Focusing on organic development, and treasuring their talented team members
● Measuring your success by the generation that follows you
● The particularly arduous task of recruiting for a family business with strong values
● Keeping work and family life/disputes separate

Episode Highlights

“We’ve changed the whole way we’re growing apples, very much down to my father and his foresight of how we should be growing apples for the future, and the whole industry has moved in that direction. ” – 5:25 – Martin Thatcher

“Farming is still in my blood. I absolutely love getting out around the farm and going out in the trees and, as Eleanor says, this time of year the blossom is out in the trees – there is nowhere better on earth to be.” – 8:25 – Martin Thatcher

“As my father retreated back into the farming and I moved on, I look after all of it. I can see the same happening with Eleanor, where she’s looking after the fermentation. She can look after a bit more and a bit more on a bit more until eventually, I’m just the backup team.” – 17:25 – Martin Thatcher

“I think you both understand what it’s like to be a family member working in the business, and how everyone else sees you in that space. So I think that there’s been a few moments where we’ve got what each other is feeling with respect to certain things.” – 26:30 – Eleanor Thatcher

“I think recruitment and people are just so important in any business, but particularly in a family business. You have a set of values, things that make the business successful, which aren’t necessarily what happens generically through bigger corporate businesses.” – 40:00 – Martin Thatcher

“As a family we’ve taken risks others wouldn’t, which have helped us get to where we are – I still have that sense of pride in the brand.” – 41:10 – Eleanor Thatcher

“I think you learn that if you have a vision in your head for something, and then something happens, you’ve got to adapt. Coming from school and then into business, things happen that you just don’t expect and learning how to adapt to that is different.” – 57:45 – Eleanor Thatcher

“It’s a family business. It’s all intertwined. So if there is a disagreement, it can become very personal. So you have to be careful just to step back and go and have a nice business discussion. ” – 1:03:20 – Martin Thatcher

“I think every father dreams of being able to hand on things to your children, and your children are almost showing you the way to do things better.” – 1:05:35 –
Martin Thatcher

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Episode Eleven: Marco & Luciano Pierre White

Episode Eleven: Marco & Luciano Pierre White

 For most, this week’s guest on It Runs In The Family truly needs no introduction.

Marco Pierre White – the first Brit and youngest chef to be awarded the full 3 stars from Michelin – has since exceeded the desire for their praise, focusing his efforts on tailoring top class food and atmosphere in his restaurants (and suggesting that Michelin stick to tyres).

Having his eyes set on the trade himself, his son Luciano recently opened Luccio’s in Dorchester, having learned from the best – his father, and fellow 3-star restaurateur Pierre Koffmann.

In this revealing discussion we hear the pride that Marco takes in seeing Luciano forge his own brand, the tough love that moulded his own exceptional standards,
and how to teach lessons that can only be taught through struggle.

This episode covers:

● Marco’s intriguing transition from dreams of being a gamekeeper towards food and hospitality
● How a fear of failure has consistently driven Marco’s strides for success
● The way that Marco has taught Luciano to stay creative through a need to struggle
● Investing in the young, and cultivating good talent
● Luciano’s ability to build his own brand, away from his father’s

Episode Highlights


“My father was a chef, my grandfather was a chef, my uncle was a chef, my uncle was a butcher, and my mother was a very good cook. All my life, I’ve been
wrapped up in chef’s whites and delicious food, but the truth is, I never wanted to be a chef. I wanted to be a gamekeeper.” – 1:20 – Marco Pierre White

“I was so relieved that I got a job because the last thing I ever wanted to be was a failure in front of my father. Fear of failure has always driven me.” – Marco Pierre

“Mr. Lamb, who was like my surrogate power, looked after me, protecting me. When I think back today on the influences of my life, my greatest influence was the Box Tree in Ilkley. And had I not found that book. I’d have just been a cook in a three star hotel banging out chicken kievs.” – 7:30 – Marco Pierre White

“What I do know in life is that success is born out of luck. Luck is being given the opportunity. It’s awareness of mind that takes advantage of the opportunity.” – 8:05 – Marco Pierre White

“I think what’s important in life is to struggle. It really is. Because by struggling in life, you have values. You stay creative.” – 13:10 – Marco Pierre White

“I used to say to my children: if you have a dream, then you have a duty and a responsibility to yourself to make it come true. It’s very important. Vision is when
you see something, but you make it happen. It might be something as simple as a dream, but if you don’t make it happen you’re just a fantasist.” – 16:40 – Marco
Pierre White

“My favourite memory is watching Luciano from a distance in Luccio’s, cooking. That’s what I like most – watching him from a distance doing his job, because
then he isn’t aware of me. If I’m watching, it makes him conscious.” – 18:35 – Marco Pierre White

“My father’s understanding that I have to work with what we have. And that’s the thing I know that some things aren’t his preference. There’s a new area in the
restaurant that I like to change, but he understands it. He supports me in that, even though he might not do it himself.” – 24:25 – Luciano Pierre White 


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Episode Ten: Farmer Palmer’s

Episode Ten: Farmer Palmer’s

Anyone growing up in and around the Dorset area will be familiar with the magic of Farmer Palmers Farm Park, which has hosted so many eager families, so it’s a real treat to sit down with the family behind the legendary local landmark.

 Evolving from a farm to a farm park is a shift that helped put Farmer Palmers on the map, and there’s an illustrious history behind the land inherited by David Palmer and run by Sandra Palmer-Snellin with her brother Phillip.

 Being a farmer takes an unparalleled ability to be a master of many professions, and as a farm park they’ve overcome massive hardship from COVID-19 to Foot & Mouth disease and so much in between. Find out on this episode how David, Sandra and Phillip passionately crafted their loving farm and successful attraction.


This episode covers:

    • The often overlooked dangers of farming
    • How farmers have to become multidisciplinary masters
    • Having an almost telepathic connection working with family towards the same goal
    • Farmer Palmers’ biggest hurdles throughout its history
    • The hilarious stories that could have changed the course of the business entirely


Episode Highlights

“I left school at 15 because my father said ‘You can leave at 15 if you come home from work, or you stay at school till you’re 16, so I took the early out. I was out, but I had to come home and go on a bread round. Because her father had a small farm, a bakery shop, post office, the whole center of the village. He was quite an entrepreneur.” – 1:25 – David Palmer


“There’s so many things to farming that you look at one man, like any job, and realise that actually they have got a whole host of professions tucked up their sleeve.” – 12:40 – Sandra Palmer


“Our silage pit had been up for 3 years, which is now our restaurant. But all the big concrete panels, which are 20ft long and 8ft high, and really heavy – we had a crane there one morning because I sold them. We put the chain on, the crane started to lift it, and the chain slipped off. The whole concrete slab came down, and if I’d been 2ft that way, I would have been flat as a pancake.” – 20:15 – David Palmer


“With everybody, we’re now learning that you farm out to skilled people, things that you need done a certain way. But I think we’ve probably spent the last 20 years trying to do it all ourselves.” – 26:15 – Sandra Palmer


“We’re learning that the old adage of multitasking is great, which is what we all have to do, women especially when they’ve got kids. But we’re now starting to get to the point when our kids are growing up and going, ‘Actually, all that multitasking is just really tiring, it’s quite exhausting. It’s nice to be able to focus on one or two tasks at a time!’” – 35:15 – Sandra Palmer


“When we’re talking to people sometimes and they don’t like the change we’ve made, how it impacts them, I totally understand the customer perspective because customers have had it really hard too. But when you explain the honesty of what you’ve now got to deal with, they’re amazing.” – 45:45 – Sandra Palmer


“Sheep are a bit stupid. People say in farming that sheep have got a bit of a death wish. So if they can get themselves in the tiniest gap behind the fence, and then wait to be rescued, they will.” – 59:15 – Sandra Palmer


“One of the very important points is that all the team are happy doing their job. I was talking to a contractor only 2 or 3 nights ago. He said, ‘One of my men walked out yesterday, he’d had enough. There’s another one chucked in his notice. Back in the winter, or spring, when it was raining, I kept them for three weeks on full pay, when we did hardly anything, but now the weather’s here they’re gone’. They, in my opinion, had no interest in the job.” – 1:04:20 – David Palmer


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Episode Nine: Stockton Bury

Episode Nine: Stockton Bury

The Treasure family has been at Stockton Bury since 1884, and in the generations that followed it evolved from a family farm into a relaxing space which has ranked among The Times’ Top 20 UK Gardens.

By transforming the 4 acres of land into a highly acclaimed haven in their earlier years, Raymond Treasure and Gordon Fenn have handed down an incredible legacy to Raymond’s niece – accomplished writer, and editor at The English Garden, Tamsin Westhorpe.

Now Stockton Bury’s Director, Tamsin joins Liz & Leila to retell the story behind their family’s passion for tending to such a delightful property, the trepidation that came with opening to the public, and commitment to crafting a comforting space for so many passionate visitors.

This episode covers:

    • How Tamsin’s uncle transformed the gardens into the spectacle that they’ve become
    • Adapting to the intimidating prospect of public visitors in a personal space
    • Raymond Treasure’s desire to keep the garden in the family above all else
    • Managing the difficult task of encouraging repeat visitors to the gardens

“I was fortunate that my family saw horticulture as a viable option. Actually back then it was quite unusual for them to encourage a girl to go into that industry.” – 8:00 – Tamsin Westhorpe


“I’m not sure my son will be a gardener. He’s very much into theatre and singing and drama, but he loves showing people around the garden. He’s been really important to me when it comes to social media, because he’s not scared of it.” – 10:15 – Tamsin Westhorpe


“I think what’s quite lovely is that this was not planned as a business. It was not planned as a diversification for the farm. But ultimately, in the end, it might be the one thing that keeps the farm going, and keeps the farm in the family.” – 16:20 – Tamsin Westhorpe


“I suppose it was quite a shock when they opened the gardens to the public really. I remember having Sunday lunch in the house as a family with my grandmother, and seeing people peering through the windows – that was odd.” – 24:30 – Tamsin Westhorpe


“What we want to do is keep younger people coming in and have the garden more as an experience, because there aren’t the plant-people around. There’s gardeners around, there’s people passionate about their garden, but now there’s people looking for a place to relax.” – 31:40 – Tamsin Westhorpe


“Writing was sort of an accident for me, it wasn’t something I’d planned to do at all. I was just fortunate that opportunities came up and I took them.” – 38:40 – Tamsin Westhorpe


“I think now more than ever before that people, during this pandemic, are seeing gardens in a different way and use their outside spaces in a different way.” – 45:40 – Tamsin Westhorpe


“I think you have to remember why you start your business in the first place, and not forget what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.” – 54:00 – Tamsin Westhorpe


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Episode Eight: Balson Butchers

Episode Eight: Balson Butchers

The world has seen so much since 1515, the Plague, two world wars, an industrial revolution and nearly two dozen changes of monarchy. One constant through all
of that, maintaining its service to Bridport’s locals and surviving fires and floods alike, is Britain’s oldest family business – R J Balson & Son.

We speak to the current custodian, Richard Balson, who carries the torch for the 26th generation of the family business. He tells us about the seemingly perennial
demand for their personal customer service, their strong relationship with the community in Bridport, and how they’ve had to evolve their business to suit trends and technological advancements that could only be dreamt of in the butcher’s early years.

This episode covers:
● The incredible tales of meat sales and methods of refrigeration
● Exceptional customer service as one of the business’ foundational values
● Tracing their business and family lineage back to the 16th century
● Evolving their offering to suit modern food lifestyles
● Offering a personal service to everyone

Episode Highlights

“I had a lovely 45 years of learning the trade for my father. He passed away about 10 years ago and we had a lovely father and son relationship. After you’ve been
with someone more or less every day of your life, when they go it’s a hell of a void. We’ve got his picture in the shop overlooking us in spirit, but I’ve got lovely
memories, and he taught me everything I know.” – 7:30 – Richard Balson

“We offer a completely different way of shopping, a more personal, pleasurable way of shopping. And we offer a better quality product. It’s just lovely that we
know so many people, and it’s great.” – 10:15 – Richard Balson

“When you’re offering a personal service, they want to see you, they want to see the boss. I get people that queue outside because they want me to serve them!They don’t want my assistant because they know that I know what they want.” -23:30 – Richard Balson

“I think small businesses in our line have done quite well because people have been reluctant to go to the supermarket to avoid the crowds. They can come to a small business where we only let two people in at a time and they can shop safely. They’ve enjoyed a bit of banter and being treated like a human being.” – 33:30 – Richard Balson

“We’re still selling more stuff than we ever sold, but because of the lifestyles and because the husband and the wife are both working, they don’t have time to do a full blown roast every single day of the week. So they want something that can be cooked in 20 minutes – we’ve offered that and it’s very popular.” – 48:35 – Richard Balson

“You’ve got to be hard working, and you’ve got to treat everyone the same. Everyone has their favorite customers, some are more pleasurable to serve than others. 99% of the general public are lovely, but you’ll always get one person who’s difficult or you don’t really want them as a customer. But you just have to treat everyone the same.” – 1:01:55 – Richard Balson

“The future is very bright. We’re going to have a hell of a busy summer, and as long as we all stay fit and healthy, we’ll be okay, and we all love what we do.” –
1:05:45 – Richard Balson

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Episode Seven: Highlights So Far

Episode Seven: Highlights So Far

The first six episodes of It Runs In The Family have proven to be a treasure trove of family business experience, with companies passed through generations, sibling connections on an almost telepathic level, and an incredible degree of humility from all of our wonderful guests.

With this in mind, we’ve collated some of our favourite moments from across the show so far that have us excited to bring you many more of the biggest and most intriguing family brands in the months to come! 

The highlights from this episode come from episodes 1 to 6, with:

    • Warren Haskins of Haskins Garden Centres
    • Joyce and Raissa De Haas of Double Dutch Drinks
    • Matt and Anthony Woodhouse of Hall & Woodhouse
    • Jim and Suzie Cregan from Jimmy’s Iced Coffee
    • Paul and Will Hendy of Hendy Group
    • Jill and Jack Stein from The Seafood Restaurant

Episode Highlights

“We have a family meeting every year. And when I was getting to 65 I sat down in front of them and said ‘Look, I’ve always thought that when I was 65 we ought to determine the future of the business’, and their faces all dropped. They thought I was going to sell it, which is one of the loveliest moments of my family business life.” – Warren Haskins


“We always said Heineken would be the best family to have on board because it’s so relevant from a cultural perspective. They’re family owned, Dutch, the second biggest beer brand in the world, and one of the biggest drinks brands in the world. So the fact we have them on board has been really amazing.” – Double Dutch


“Whoever’s running the business in 10-20 years’ time, if that’s the exact same way it’s being run now then we probably aren’t doing a very good job, because if we hadn’t adapted and innovated, we’re going to be left behind.” – Matt Woodhouse


“We have this thing called Take 24, which is just to sleep on it and we’ll come back with the answer tomorrow. Because if it’s going to be worth it, you then have to sleep on it because it’s such a big decision. And then if you come out of it saying no, you can go ‘Oh, yes! I’m so glad we said no’.” – Jim Cregan


“The crucial piece is who you get around you, your support network, the team that you create and manage to motivate is absolutely crucial. It’s not about us. It’s NOT about us. It’s about that team being the best in the business, understanding our values, and everything that we stand for, executing it and delivering it. That’s what it’s about.” – Paul Hendy


“You need to find the right people and then trust them to do the job. If you’re second guessing or micromanaging the top of your team who you’re empowering to run your business, then you’re going to struggle. ” – Jack Stein




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