RECORD GROWTH: From left, Graeme Quar & Co’s Gabor Kovacs, Graeme Quar, Richard Barnett and Joseph Campbell. All four are solicitors and are pictured by their head office at Orchard House, Furzehall Farm, Wickham Road, Fareham.

A flourishing business which works for commercial property landlords and tenants across Hampshire and West Hampshire is celebrating two records in its 18th year.

Fareham-based commercial solicitors Graeme Quar & Co has seen annual turnover soar by 37% in the financial year on the back of increasing demand and referrals.

The best-ever year coincided with the swiftest lease deal of its kind in the firm’s history – just 24 hours from start to completion for an expanding wholesaler in the South.

Graeme Quar, managing director of the 10-strong firm, said: “We’ve seen a sharp increase in instructions in the fields of leases,  tenant agreements and property transactions, which would suggest that local businesses are perhaps more resilient to economic conditions than other parts of the UK.

“On the back of increasing demand and referrals, we’ve signed off on a fantastic 37% rise in turnover, our best ever, and bodes well for many of our clients as there is positive activity out there amid the official double-dip recession.

“The celebration coincided with our fastest lease deal to date, which is also indicative of a local company doing well.”

That transaction centred on Williams & Co, a trade-only wholesaler of plumbing and heating supplies and with 22 branches from Aldershot to Worthing.

Richard Barnett, an associate solicitor who has been with Graeme Quar & Co for 17 years, was tasked with getting a warehouse lease across the line for Williams & Co, a long-standing client, in a fast-moving situation.

The expanding chain urgently required a 929 sq m (10,000 sq ft) warehouse in readiness to store an impending shipment of products.

Unit 19 at Fareham Industrial Park, Fareham, was available, conveniently located next to Williams & Co’s headquarters and local branch at 7/8 Standard Way.

Liaising with Gary Jeffries of Fareham-based commercial property agency Hughes Ellard, which acted on behalf of the park’s pension fund landlord, Richard had the paperwork signed off within 24 hours.

He said: “It helped that Williams & Co is already on the industrial park and everyone responded to the importance of getting a deal done quickly and efficiently.”

Ray Stafford, the managing director of Williams & Co, which was founded in 1972 as a specialist plumbing and heating merchant trading out of a corner shop in Earnest Road, Portsmouth, spoke of his delight.

He said: “We’re very much on the expansion trail and required a sizeable warehouse to store an impending shipment of bulky  products – that we got one in a whirlwind 24 hours, and conveniently next to our head office, reflects well on everyone involved. We are grateful to both Graeme Quar & Co and Hughes Ellard for doing the business for us.”

Lease details for Unit 19 were not disclosed.

Williams & Co also has local branches at OJ’s Industrial Park at Claybank Road, Portsmouth, 3 Clarence Wharf, Mumby Road, Gosport, Belgrave Industrial Estate, Southampton, and St Martin’s Trade Park, Winnall, Winchester.

L-R:David Aguirregoicoa, Matthew Walton, Sam Farrow, Joe Campbell, Graeme Quar, Gabor Kovacs (photo: Louise Manning)

Yesterday evening a team of 3 of us with our friends Sam Farrow of Farrow Creative, Matthew Walton of Woodbridge Estates and David Aguirregoicoa of Ordnance Survey took part in a quiz night at the Folly Upstairs in Petersfield. The quiz was organised by Cox Manning accountants as a fund raiser for The Bereavement Counselling Charity.

The evening was a great success, and we have to thank Louise of Cox Manning for organising such a fun event, which also raised more than £750 for the charity.

I am sure that Christine Quar will enjoy the ladies’ gym membership which Graeme won in the raffle.

Oh – and thanks to the brilliant contributions of our friends Sam, Matthew and David, our team emerged as the winners, so it was a good night all round.

Graeme Quar is to help highlight the plight of impoverished farmers in an African country deeply scarred by  genocide.  Later this month, Graeme will undergo a 12-day fact-finding mission in Rwanda on behalf of Send a Cow, the development charity that  he passionately supports.

Graeme in Kenya in 2010

His role will be to visit projects where the charity is making a positive difference on the ground, providing livestock and land management training to struggling families.

Graeme will then provide a report to the  charity’s trustees in theUK.

He has previously visited Ethiopia,Lesotho andKenya in similar capacities.

Rwanda became infamous in 1994 when ethnic tensions erupted into unspeakable acts of violence on an industrial scale, with one million people killed, women systematically violated, families left homeless and much of the country’s soil-enriching livestock destroyed.

Graeme, who flies into Rwanda on May 20th, says:

There is now a lot of transformational work going on. Communities fractured by fear after the genocide are now finding common goals in Send a Cow projects.

Widows, orphans, disabled people and those with HIV/Aids are discovering they can make a living – and by doing so earn the respect of their wider communities.

Their success speaks for itself; families are growing food, communities are coming together and the national government is adopting Send a Cow’s approach right across the country.

It is clear that donations from people in the UK are making a lasting difference to families in Africa.

The original donation grows in significance as calves, seeds and training are passed on to neighbours in need – under the multiplier effect, nine people go on to benefit for each original recipient.

No doubt the fact-finding visit to Rwanda will be a humbling, poignant, uplifting and sometimes disturbing experience, taking me very much out of my comfort zone.

Send a Cow places a special focus on social development work in Rwanda, helping neighbours from different ethnic backgrounds come together.

Training by the charity in conflict resolution and democratic ways of working is vital to the success of its projects, added Graeme.

The charity provides a dairy cow or dairy goat to poor families in Africa, alongside training in animal husbandry and welfare and veterinary support.

Animals provide nutritious milk and manure to grow vegetables, feeding the family and allowing surplus to be sold to generate income which is often used to buy pens, books and uniforms for school.

This year nearly 14,000 families are being helped by Send a Cow.

For more information on how you or your company can make a tangible difference for just a few pounds or more visit