ONE of the UK's biggest car dealerships, Reg Vardy, has strengthened its legal team with the appointment of Alison Jowsey.

Miss Jowsey has been recruited for the newly created role of assistant group solicitor and is working alongside the group's company secretary and head of legal, Jason Brine.

The strengthening of the legal department reflects the growth of the firm, which operates 78 dealerships from Aberdeen to Reading.

The group has acquired 11 dealerships since the beginning of the year and is moving towards its target of 100 by April 2005.

Miss Jowsey, 25, has moved from Eversheds in Newcastle, where she has worked for two-and-a-half years, having graduated in law from the University of Northumbria.

She spent four months on secondment with Reg Vardy last year and qualified as a solicitor last September.

* MARK GILMOUR has joined Reg Vardy as general manager of Vardy Marketing, the Group's marketing and advertising agency. The 31-year-old will oversee day-to-day operations of the £17m agency which provides all marketing, advertising, media buying and public relations services for the group's nationwide network of dealerships and other divisions in the company. He joins Reg Vardy from Park's Motor Group, a 17-dealership car retailer and coach hire operator based in the West of Scotland, where he was marketing manager. Prior to his six years with Park's, he worked as a part-time lecturer in marketing and entrepreneurship at Napier University, in Edinburgh.

* Yarm housebuilder Clarion Homes has appointed MICK KENT as its architectural designer. Mr Kent joins Clarion from Wimpey Homes, where he spent 15 years as an architectural technician, working on large housing developments around the region. Mr Kent joined C M Yuill (now Yuill Homes) from school as a trainee architect technician, but was made redundant after four years. He rejoined the company five years later as an architectural technician. Mr Kent will be involved in the design of all of Clarion Homes' sites and houses.

* CAROLE BEVERLEY, 45, has been appointed chief executive of the Entrepreneurs Forum. Mrs Beverley has joined the forum, which brings together some of the North's best known business people with the region's newest entrepreneurs, from a career in professional sport. As senior sports marketing manager with Adidas from 1993 until 2000, Mrs Beverley was instrumental in developing some of the company's biggest global contracts, including AC Milan and Real Madrid, and was involved in the first contract between Adidas and David Beckham. From there, she became commercial director of Newcastle United, where she was responsible for the club's commercial contracts, retail business, building up the club's hospitality programme and developing the Junior Magpies and the International Supporters Club. She stayed with the club until April last year when she joined the Federation Brewery as head of marketing.

* Chartered accountants and business advisors Clive Owen and Co has strengthened its Darlington team by appointing KEVIN ICETON and LOUISE JONES. Mr Iceton joins the firm from a local practice where he gained considerable experience in accountancy software packages, such as Sage, together with the preparation of annual accounts for small to medium-sized businesses. At Clive Owen and Co he will be supporting some of the firm's larger incorporated clients with their year-end procedures and corporation tax. He qualified as a chartered accountant in 2000 and before that gained the Association of Accounting Technicians qualification at Darlington College of Technology. Miss Jones has been appointed to the owner-managed business department. She gained a BA (Hons) in Accounting and Finance at the University of Teesside.

* JOHN FERGUSON, 28, from Bowburn, near Durham, has been appointed marketing and database manager of Rycroft Vehicles. Based at Concorde Way, in Stockton, Teesside, his role will cover the group's outlets in Sunderland, Newcastle and Carlisle. He joins the group following 11 years at Arriva, the final four of which were as database manager for the motor division.

* ALEX SHIEL has joined law firm Hadaway as a partner in the commercial team from the Newcastle office of Eversheds, where he was a partner for six years. Formerly regional partner in Eversheds' National Intellectual Property Group and National Biosciences Group, Mr Shiel was also head of the National Data Protection Group at Eversheds. Mr Shiel has advised a wide range of businesses, including Greggs, Goldsmiths, Findus, Sanyo and the writers of Viz Magazine.

* Four recruits are joining Gateshead Council to strengthen its communications team. Leading the council's media relations team is senior communications officer RACHEL WOODCOCK, who joins from a career in magazines, which has seen her working for Radio Times, Top Of The Pops and Star magazine. Also joining the media team are communications executive SAM REED and communications assistant KATY KIDSON. KAREN WAKE also joins the council as a campaign communications officer for fostering and adoption.

* WR Financial Management, of Stockton, has appointed ANDREW PERKINS, 47, as director of sales. Mr Perkins will specialise in independent trustee services, both for limited companies and pension schemes and will oversee the introduction of the next generation of retirement solutions, Self Invested Personal Pensions. He brings with him 20 years of senior management experience, his previous roles including being joint managing director of Professional Retirement Solutions and regional manager for National Mutual Life Assurance.