CDS sales manager tackles Thames Path Challenge to help fight MND

CDS national sales manager Sophie Kelly, whose father has motor neurone disease, is taking part in a gruelling 50km run along the Thames Path in the autumn to raise £1,000 to help fight the cruel, incurable condition.

Sophie, whose 75-year-old father John was diagnosed with the disease four years ago, has already raised £3,500 for the Motor Neurone Disease Association which funds care, research and support for MND sufferers and their families.

Activities she has undertaken since his diagnosis include the Sheffield Half Marathon, Round Sheffield Run, 101010, tough mudder and The Great North Run.

And now CDS has named the MNDA its charity of the year for 2022, making a hefty contribution towards Sophie’s goal of raising £1,000 before the end of December, as well as promising to support further fundraising initiatives throughout the year.

“My dad was always a keen athlete,” said Sophie. “He’s run various marathons, undertaken the three peaks challenge and even climbed the Alps. This horrible disease disrupts the body’s functions and cruelly there is no cure.

“Every year I’ve given myself new challenges to continue to raise money for MND. This year is the biggest challenge yet. I’m unsure of my body has what it takes, but I’m not going to give up. I will take my dad’s bravery and put it into my running.”

Sophie’s dad John added: “It’s been a thrill to see my Sophie follow in my footsteps. Her latest challenge is definitely a big step for her and one which will test her every resolve. I look forward to hearing about the experiences on the day. I am also thrilled that she is raising money to go towards the work of the MND Association. I am sure her running will help raise awareness and support ongoing research into finding a cure for MND.

The 50km route will take Sophie, on September 10, from Putney Bridge, the starting point for the Oxford Cambridge boat race, to Runnymede, where the Magna Carta was sealed 800 years ago.

She will be joined by around 2,000 other runners, joggers and walkers, some of whom will tackle a staggering 100km, with an overnight stop in a tent.

CDS MD Simon Abley said: “We’re honoured to be able to support Sophie as she tackles this mammoth run through some fascinating parts of the capital to raise money to help people like her dad who have been struck down with this cruel disease. Every year we choose to support a charity with some connection to someone on our team. And this year is no different.”

You can sponsor Sophie via her Just Giving page.

  • CDS national sales manager Sophie Kelly and her dad John

CDS adds fire detection and compliance tech specialist to its portfolio

CDS has acquired a fire safety and compliance company whose innovative technology helps protect both Oxford and Cambridge Universities and swathes of the NHS.

Hertfordshire-based Drax 360 joins the expanding CDS stable this week – bringing with it its alarm management software, a prestigious client base, complementary skills and the clout and expertise of its long-established team.

The company, whose head office will remain in Letchworth, which has an excellent reputation in the sectors in which it operates and an impressive education and healthcare portfolio, shares sector expertise with CDS.

Its software enables the integration of multiple systems on complex sites, increases engineer efficiency and help clients ensure compliance.

Drax 360’s software technology capability will enable CDS to expand the options available to existing clients, while CDS’ three decades expertise in a range of complementary sectors will give extra breadth to the Drax 360 business.

The education and healthcare markets are two areas in which both companies excel, with CDS seeing a growing number of higher education institutions choosing its expertise in an increasingly complex industry.

Both companies are Honeywell Gent Elite Technology Centres, with CDS also enjoying Honeywell Notifier Gold Partner status. Drax 360 also works closely with a number of other technology partners.

Drax 360 MD Philip Cunningham and commercial director Alex Cother will continue to support the business, ensuring continuation of their valuable expertise.

CDS chairman Simon Cashmore said: “We’re thrilled that Drax 360 is joining the growing CDS group. We really love the Drax technology and are looking forward to developing it further and incorporating it more broadly across the businesses’ combined customer base.

“Drax 360 is a perfect fit both in terms of our strategic goals of geographical reach and in establishing a technology-based compliance platform. The acquisition provides a unique opportunity to deliver genuine innovation in traditionally conservative markets.”

Drax 360 MD Philip Cunningham said: “We’re delighted to be joining the flourishing CDS business, a company as passionate about compliance as we are.

“Technology-led solutions which simplify data collection will offer significant benefits to both end users and service providers. With a growing appetite for Cloud-based analytics, this acquisition comes at an exciting time for the industry.”

Drax 360 commercial director Alex Cother added: “We are very happy to be part of CDS’ exciting buy-and-build journey. It means that between us we have expanded resources, geographic coverage and capabilities to continue driving value and providing further enhancements in the life safety sector.”

The latest acquisition follows the purchase over the past few months of several compliance companies. These include Harrogate-based water and energy compliance specialist Genex, Durham-based electrical testing specialist Safety Checked, Monmouthshire-based Tann Synchronome and Powerpoint Fire Systems in Middlesex.

  • Martin Iliffe, Keith Helstrip, Simon Abley and Simon Cashmore from CDS welcome Drax 360 MD Philip Cunningham, commercial director Alex Cother and operations director Glenn Grant






CDS service engineer celebrates Apprentice of the Year nomination

CDS fire alarm service engineer Grace McDonald hopes her recent nomination as Apprentice of the Year at a national awards ceremony will inspire more women to join the industry.

She was cheered on by colleagues at the glittering British Security Awards event at the Marriott Hotel in London’s Grosvenor Square this week after being shortlisted for the prestigious title.

The British Security Awards, run by the British Security Industry Association, recognise security officers and companies working to keep people, property and places professionally protected.

CDS executive chairman Simon Cashmore said: “This is a brilliant achievement and we are all incredibly proud of Grace. This is such well deserved recognition for the amazing job she does.”

National sales manager Sophie Kelly said: “It’s great to celebrate female apprentices. Grace is fantastic and such an inspiration for women in the industry.”

CDS national service manager Micael Pegg added: “Grace’s work ethic, enthusiasm and commitment to this industry is outstanding. She is a joy to work with, and all at CDS are proud to have her as a valued member of the team.”

Grace is passionate about her work, an advocate for more women to join the industry and keen for the education system to encourage girls to look into a variety of careers from an early age.

“I think all trades – be it fire alarm engineering, plumbing, heating, electrical or bricklaying – should be presented to girls throughout school so they can make an informed decision about whether that’s something for them or not. When I was at school, the trades were never presented to the girls as an option,” said Grace.

“I was really fortunate to have stumbled across the fire alarm industry while unhappy in an office job, and just found the industry clicked with me and presented a career path I was really eager to follow.

“This awards ceremony gave us all a great opportunity to celebrate women in the fire industry and to see other apprentices being recognised for their dedication and commitment to an industry I truly enjoy being a part of.

“It was a lovely day out, with the CDS team cheering me on.”