An Interview with Howard Thorne on Winning the John Clayton Award

Howard Thorne
28th June, 2022

Shropshire Homes Chairman, Howard Thorne recently received the John Clayton Award 2022 at the Shropshire Chamber Business Awards. The John Clayton Award, part of Shropshire Chamber Business Awards, is named after a former chamber president and recognises someone who has made an outstanding contribution to the local business community.

Having founded Shropshire Homes in 1981, Howard has thrived in the Shropshire business community and is known for his generosity and involvement in various projects, including the Shrewsbury Town FC Foundation – a charity of Shrewsbury Town Football Club, striving to make a positive difference for all across Shropshire.Howard Thorne

To hear more about Howard’s success and what brought him to this point, we asked Howard his secrets…

So, Howard, how does it feel to receive the John Clayton Award? Were you surprised?

“Yes, I was really surprised and very honoured. I knew John and how much he contributed to Shropshire and its business community. I also know some of the previous recipients and am pleased to be in their company.”

How was the evening? What were your favourite moments?

“The Business Awards are always enjoyable. It’s great to see the number and variety of thriving local businesses in different industries and sectors. And I suppose the most memorable moment for me was being called up to collect the award.”

What do you think are the key contributing factors to you winning the John Clayton Award? Specifically, your impact in the community.

“I think the Award reflected both business success and a contribution to the wider community. In addition to Shropshire Homes, I am also Chair of Shrewsbury Town FC’s community arm, the Shrewsbury Town Foundation, which does a huge amount of work in education and learning, health and wellbeing and the development of football for all sections of the community. I am also a trustee of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum and have been involved with Wildlife Trust and a few other businesses over the years.”

You founded Shropshire Homes in 1981, what have been the highlights?

“The early days were really about surviving in what was then a challenging and volatile market and trying to establish Shropshire Homes as a distinctive and respected brand.

“The highlights of later years were successfully completing some of our more interesting and changing projects – Blackfriars, Watergate Mansions, Benbow Quay and more recently St Georges Mansions and Leighton Park.

“It’s also been great to see some of our staff develop into senior roles over the years.”

Shropshire Homes has grown significantly since 1981, what do you believe is your secret to success?

“Our logo includes the words “Character and Quality” and we have always tried to build to these aspirations. We also try to put our customers first – both in terms of our homes and developments and our sales and after sales service.

“The other major factor has been to identify, retain and develop good managers and staff some of whom have been with us since the early days.”

If you had to pick one, what development was your favourite?

“That’s a difficult one but I think it must be Reynolds Wharf, a collection of new homes and converted warehouses on the banks of the Severn in Coalport. The location is superb, a rich natural environment and part of the industrial history of the World Heritage Site. It was also one of the most technically difficult that we have ever completed.”

What is your vision for the future of Shropshire Homes? I.e. Upcoming developments, etc.

“There is no reason why Shropshire Homes shouldn’t continue to thrive and grow for many years to come. We have a good pipeline of future projects and strong management team. I look forward to our 50th birthday in 2031!”

Is there anyone you would like to thank for their support along the way?

“There really are too many people to mention but thinking back over the years I would have to pick out Phil Northwood with whom I set up the Company 41 years ago and Richard Bowler and Gerald Rogers who have been fundamental to our success over all that time.

“I must also mention my wife Ann without whose support and encouragement Shropshire Homes would never have been created or survived.”

 

A huge thank you to Howard Thorne for taking his time to chat with us. We are sure you will all agree, the John Clayton Award is very well-deserved and many people are grateful for the opportunities Howard has given them. It is an honour for all at Shropshire Homes to have such an aspirational Chairman and founder.