Board members

BedfordBID Board

Samantha Laycock (Harpur Centre Manager and Chair of BedfordBID)


Born and bred in Bedford, Samantha has worked in retail since leaving college and held various positions as Store Manager over ten years. In June 2007, Samantha joined Workman Facilities Management as the Operations Manager of the Harpur Centre in Bedford which consists of 35 retail outlets. After graduating from the “Diploma in Shopping Centre Management” in 2010, Samantha became the Centre Manager of Bedford and Huntingdon’s shopping centres. 

Harpur Centre, Bedford MK40 1TJ  
Tel. 01234 357330


Peggy Butland (Pegalicious)



Pegalicious, 5a The Arcade, Bedford MK40 1NS
Tel. 01234 918621


Gareth Ecott (Boots)



Boots The Chemist,  37 Harpur Centre, Bedford MK40 1TN
Tel. 01234 356231 


Daniel Fisher (The Barley Mow)



I am very keen to represent the NTE of Bedford, who are contributors and members of BedfordBID. I own The Barley Mow which is one of many venues which I own and operate.

Previous to running my own company, I have Senior management experience spanning live music venues, nightclubs and cinemas through to coffee bars and restaurants, this gives me an extremely wide-ranging knowledge base across different sectors. Working with weekly turnovers ranging from £25k - £250k  - Generating £35m+ annual turnover,  and £21m EBITDA.

The Barley Mow, 72 St Loyes Street, Bedford MK40 1EZ
Tel. 01234 302295


Paul Hunt (1844 Coffee Company / YMCA)


Paul was born in Russell Street, Bedford which was demolished during the 60’s/70’s to make way for Roff Avenue. He is committed to the regeneration of Bedford Town Centre and believes this can be achieved in time by thinking outside of the box. 

Paul has worked for YMCA Bedfordshire for the past sixteen years in various roles. However for the past ten years he has had the privilege of being the CEO.

His background prior to joining the YMCA was in Project Management in highway engineering where he worked for several organisations as a Project Manager responsible for delivery of contracts to local authorities around the country.

18 years ago Paul became a Christian and this plays an integral part of who he is, why he works for the YMCA and what drives him to ensure YMCA Bedfordshire delivers quality services to those individuals who live in the accommodation projects, and also those individuals who attend our diverse range of programme work. Paul is committed to ensuring YMCA Bedfordshire is an outward focused association within the community where our services are delivered.

Since joining the YMCA in 2001, where 4 staff were employed, and with annual revenue of £110k, the association has developed and diversified into many different areas of work, and during this growth the ethos of the YMCA has continued and will continue to play an essential part. During Paul’s time as the CEO he has seen the association grow from an income stream of £650k in 2008 to £3.8 million in 2017. Also the number of bed spaces provided has increased from 55 to 214. Equally the number of programmes delivered has also seen a substantial growth. 

The 1844 Coffee Company, 9 Thurlow Street, Bedford MK40 1LR


Zap Hussain (McDonalds)


Zap is the Business Manager of McDonalds on Bedford High Street. He has worked under the brand of McDonalds for just over 30 years, working in many stores in many different towns.

Born in Bedford, Zap still lives in Bedford with his wife Edith and 4 children and feels that given his length of service and knowledge of Bedford he would like to help move BedfordBID forward as an organisation and continue the company's positive work. 

Zap has seen a lot of change in Bedford and would like to play an active role in supporting BedfordBID.

McDonalds, 9 High Street, Bedford MK40 1RN
Tel. 01234 360544


Steve McBrearty (Cash Converters)


Steve is the owner of the Cash Converter franchise in Bedford. Cash Converters, with more than 230 stores in the UK is the number one high street retailer of pre-owned goods. Its portfolio also includes pawn broking and financial services. 

With a background in the pharmaceutical and automotive industries, his last role was heading the European Retail Processes and Systems Division of General Motors. Steve comes with experience in franchise governance, strategic planning, outsourcing and large scale change management. Steve sits on the Cash Converters Franchise Partnership Committee, working on improving brand standards and products. The business has just past its fifth year and employees seven people from the town.

Cash Converters, 8 Greenhill Street, Bedford MK40 1LX
Tel. 01234 860251


David O'Connor (Bedford Swan Hotel)



David O'connor is the new Sales and Marketing Director at the Bedford Swan Hotel. 

I have worked with Redefine BDL Hotels, a management company, for three years and before being assigned to Bedford I was based in Brentford. In west London, I was elected as President of the Brentford Chamber of Commerce in May 2016 and re-elected in May 2017. Working closely with the local authority we began the process of working towards a BID application, the first BID in the London Borough of Hounslow, and working towards the rehabilitation of a faltering Chamber with the support of leader of the council Steve Curran.

Bedford Swan Hotel, The Embankment, Bedford MK40 1RW
Tel. 01234 346565


Deborah Page (Arcadia Sweets)


Born and bred in Bedford, Deborah has worked in retail since leaving school, firstly joining Sainsburys management programme before joining the family run sandwich bar, Breadlines (now Sandwich Express). Over 17 years ago the family decided to change ventures and became the lucky owners of Arcadia sweetshop, this year’s winners of the Beds on Sunday town centre business of the year award, and one of the oldest (over 112 years) and original shops in town.

“I feel it is important to support the town I love and help the BID to promote and care for our great town.”

Arcadia Sweet Shop, 11 The Arcade, Bedford MK40 1NS
Tel. 01234 352322


Dave Roffey (Bedford College)


Bedford College is making its Deputy Director of Finance Dave Roffey available to be part of the Board which governs the BedfordBID.

The town centre college is a major levy-payer within the Business Improvement District and on top of that has ensured more than £600,000 has gone into local tills by buying ONLY Love Bedford vouchers as rewards for staff and students.

In addition, the 1,000s of Bedford College students and staff who pour across the Town Bridge account for a third of money spent in the town Monday- Friday, effectively keeping some of the businesses afloat.

Dave has worked at Bedford College for eight years and lives in Shefford. 

“Like many people living outside of the town centre I have a choice where to shop at weekends and think it is important that the BID keeps people coming into Bedford. Like most Bedford College staff I have enjoyed receiving Love Bedford vouchers and being able to pop into town to redeem them at a wide range of outlets. I am looking forward to learning more about how the BID supports the town centre.”

Deputy Finance Director, Bedford College, Cauldwell Street MK42 9AH
Tel. 01234 291000                          


Christina Rowe (BedfordBID - Director of Operations)

A non resident of Bedford but with a passion to be part of a major new impetus needed to recover the town centre's past position, and in the longer term, grow relative to competitor towns.

An experienced marketer with over 30 years’ experience in working with SME’s, the retail property management and place making sector.  Previous Directorships include the Central Milton Keynes Shopping Centre Association, Milton Keynes Theatre and Gallery Company, Chair of DMO Destination:MK and lead tutor & examiner secondment to the University College of Estates Management’s BCSC Diploma in Shopping Centre Management .  Successes range from organising the first ever collaborative marketing campaign for Milton Keynes and winner of various national and international marketing and customer service awards. I hope to help build Bedford's offer as distinctive from its larger competitors so it can assume a complementary position in the retail hierarchy.  I also aim to develop as a destination and to help accentuate the paramount importance of the town centre's role in the region and strengthened to enhance its attractiveness by broadening the role of the town centre beyond shopping towards being a great place for people to spend time – work, visit, stay and live.

BedfordBID, 1 Lurke St, Bedford MK40 3TN  
Tel. 01234 404500


Cllr Charles Royden (Deputy Mayor, Bedford Borough Council)

Charles has held responsibility on the local council for transport highways and the environment since 2008. The portfolio includes a wide range of council services such as buses, parking and maintenance of roads and infrastructure. Charles is committed to the successful delivery of these services which are vital to supporting a thriving town centre economy.

The Vicarage, Calder Rise, Bedford MK41 7UY
Tel. 01234 309175


Mark Thompson (The ReUse Centre)


Mark grew up in a Bedford retail family. His grandparents owned Goodbands’ bakers on Castle Road for decades and also ran a successful stall on the Market. During his school years his parents owned and operated NewsFayre at the top of the High Street and The Chocolate Box in Kempston.

At 21 Mark left Bedford and moved to Houston, Texas, where he lived and worked for over 20 years. He returned to Bedford in 2007 and worked throughout Europe for 2 years, installing ERP systems, until the financial crisis hit. In January 2011 he started volunteering at The ReUse Centre. He had applied for a position selling goods on e-bay, they asked him to put in a software system instead. In April of 2011 he was hired as Operations Manager, and by March of 2012 he had become the Chief Officer.

Mark believes that Bedford has enormous potential and that Bedford BID is an important way for us to realize that potential. By helping the businesses in the town to become more profitable we will, by default, reduce unemployment, alleviate poverty and improve the profile of our town. He has seen a big change in the town over the last five years and it all appears to be for the better.

  • The ReUse Centre is a Bedford based Charity. It has three primary charitable objectives.
    • Alleviating poverty by making affordable household goods and furnishing available in the community.
    • Protecting the environment by actively promoting Reduce, Reuse and Recycle in the community.
    • Improving people’s self-worth by providing thousands of hours of work experience, skills and training each year.

They work closely with the Borough Council, Job Centre Plus and a wide range of voluntary and charitable organizations every year to make sure that they meet our objectives. Additionally they offer a low cost house clearance service, affordable moving service and a range of “man and a van” activities for individuals and businesses in the area.

The Reuse Centre, 1a Gadsby Street, Bedford MK40 3HP & 3 Church Arcade MK40 1LQ
Tel. 01234 358 009


Charlie Tomlinson (The Scarlett Rose Tattoo Studio)


I am young entrepreneur with a young family and have just opened my first business in Bedford. I have some fresh-faced ideas of how to market and promote Bedford Town Centre and I'm interested in aiding the growth of the town I have just set up in. In the past, I have previously won an outstanding achievement award for my contribution to the arts and I want to channel this creativity into the local community.

7 Mill Yard, Mill Street, Bedford MK40 3HD
Tel. 01234 313862


Greg Warwick (Jeeves Gentleman's Hair & Grooming Salon)


Not only am I passionate about Bedford as a community and a town, I’m also very passionate about its future.

I’ve run a business on the High Street for over 17 years and know most of the other High Street business owners and understand both the benefits and the difficulties the internet has brought.

I have also seen many changes... and their consequences in Bedford. 

As a former Director of Bedford BID who has attended almost every meeting during my Directorship, I have a very good insight into what the BID can achieve.  As we are looking to the future and possible changes to the High Street it must be a good thing to have the thoughts and ideas from the very merchants who bring the wealth into the town.  I know that I would be an asset to Bedford Town by way of the Bedford BID and will be able to represent the views of the Traders in the High Street and together, we will shape Bedford’s future.

80 High Street, Bedford MK40 1NN
Tel. 01234 215050

Love Bedford as much as we do?

Sign-up to receive the occasional email from us about local news, offers, shopping and events! You can unsubscribe at any time.

Love Bedford Facebook & Instagram!