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Championing Cheshire's Knutsford online

PUBLISHED: 16:22 17 January 2010 | UPDATED: 14:35 20 February 2013

Knutsford

Knutsford

EARLIER this year Len Thomson celebrated his first year in charge of Knutsford website www.virtualknutsford. co.uk with the site's first video clip of the town's Royal May Day.

The main site, which gets an amazing 47,000 visitors a month, contains local news and pictures, information about dining out and accommodation, local history questions answered by Joan Leach, a chance to question MP George Osborne, an 'in at the deep end' feature with Val Dalton, and tales of a 'secret shopper'.

Future plans include podcasts with Mr Osborne as well as more video clips. Len says he also wants to 'write a complete picture of the area' and to increase the site's revenue.

Whatever happens, Len will continue to champion Knutsford, whether its restaurant reviews written by customers, a campaign to shop locally or the latest news on new businesses in the area.

EARLIER this year Len Thomson celebrated his first year in charge of bKnutsford website www.virtualknutsford.co.uk with the site's first video clip of the town's Royal May Day.

It was a far cry from the 1999 launch of Knutsford's very first website, knutsford.com. Created by David Crompton, it was officially opened in the ballroom of the Royal George by then mayoress Hilda Oaks who pushed a button to signal its start.

But things have come full circle for David who is now working with Len on the town's biggest site. 'The first website was very much ahead of its time, perhaps too much so,' said Len who also runs Marketing Knutsford Ltd.

'But it's great to be working with David, who has great technical knowledge, because besides the main website we also have a business site and a shopping site, all based on Knutsford and the immediate area.'

A graphic designer and photographer by profession, Len was born in Norfolk. His father was in the RAF and as a Forces child he and his siblings moved from place to place. Len studied graphics at Harrow School of Art in the 1970s and went on to work at advertising agencies, which eventually brought him to Manchester.

Among other things he worked on Manchester's 2000 Olympic bid and has great pleasure in recalling that he lived in a flat below the footballing great Sir Matt Busby in Fallowfield.

He met and married Laura and they moved to Knutsford where they are now bringing up their two children: Eve, who is five, and William, now eight. Len became involved with town life, campaigning for causes and representing sections of the community.

The town's second website, www.virtual-knutsford.co.uk had been set up at the end of 1999 by Chris Byatte and Kate Brough but by 2006 they were looking to sell it on to someone else. 'They wanted someone who would look after Knutsford and the site,' said Len.

He took over in May last year and it has gone from strength to strength. Its pages are packed with information, photographs and now video clips and podcasts. And linked to the main site is www.knutsfordbusiness.com and www.shopknutsford.co.uk where local shops can manage their own space within the site, a sort of virtual department store.

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