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Retail expert joins national judging panel

A Shropshire retail expert has joined a list of high profile judges for a prestigious national award scheme.

Sally Themans, of Bridgnorth, has been asked by the government to help decide who wins this year’s Great British High Streets Awards.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government runs the awards initiative, which has a panel of 47 judges, chosen to represent those who use and care about the high street.

The panel combines public and private sector expertise, including the head of operations at British Land, executive director of Hospitality Wales, director of the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium, chief executive of the National Market Traders Federation and head of Scotland’s Business in the Community.

“It really is quite an honour to be asked to join such a high calibre panel of experts,” said Sally, who has a career in retail and management spanning 30 years and now works with her husband at business coaching consultancy Good2Great where her specialism is with start ups and retailers.

“I am embedded in the local community of Shropshire – having been a school governor, local magistrate, director of a county rugby club, former chairman of a local swimming club and school PTA in my home town – and have established regular meetings of retailers in the county.

“I am really looking forward to seeing how other towns around the country are rising to the challenges facing our High Streets today.”

In 2016, she partnered with Councillor Sarah Stevens to lead Bridgnorth to victory in the Large Market Town category of  the Great British High Street competition and has also worked with Telford & Wrekin Pride in Your High Street project and was a judge on their Young High Street Challenge.

She is now involved with University College London and Manchester Metropolitan University in the marketing of places and promotion of towns and communities. Having been invited to the Home Office to talk about localism and how to help High Streets, she has established a reputation as a respected expert on the subject.

Sally is currently running Love Bridgnorth and Love Wellington - with a combined social media following of 14,000 and is working on a pioneering a 'High Street App' to enable retailers to direct offers and deals straight to shoppers smartphones. 

The Great British High Street Awards celebrate the UK’s best and most ambitious High Streets, with winners receiving up to £15,000 in prize money. Shortlisted High Streets will be announced tomorrow and the public will then be able to cast their vote along with the independent judging panel. The winners will be revealed at an awards ceremony in November.

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