Fears overcome for charity skydive

Well done to our four brave parachuters who recently leaped from 10,00 feet to raise £2,400 for the NSPCC as part of The Big Skydive!

Pickfords’ Charlotte Puttock, Chris Browne, and Elaine Draper-Ross performed their fearless freefalls on Saturday, reaching speeds of over 120mph to raise vital funds for our partner charity.

Also jumping was Chris’ nephew Demetri Zacharia, who gallantly overcame his fear of heights to take part on behalf of Pickfords, raising over £500 to help in the NSPCC’s fight for every childhood.

The Big Skydive

How does Canadian culture differ from the UK?


A highly-sought destination for British expats looking for like-minded hosts, Canada offers an open immigration policy, high quality, affordable healthcare and multi-sector job vacancies.

As with any new country, expats will experience a range of cultural differences that may jar at first, but over time will serve as a positive reminder of why you originally decided to move abroad:

Distance means nothing

The sheer size of The Great White North means that Canadians have a different concept of distance to Brits. In Canada, travelling for several hours is nothing; residents drive long distances every day for work and leisure, usually out of necessity as many towns are thirty miles apart!

Nature is highly regarded

Between these secluded neighbourhoods lie vast expanses of diverse flora. Canada’s deep respect for nature is expressed through countless hikers, joggers, photographers and artists taking in these sites come rain or shine (or snow!). While many Brits see the great outdoors as a holiday destination, ‘getting back to nature’ is more a way of life for the typical Canadian.

Patriotism abounds

Anyone familiar with our Royal Family will know that the UK is no stranger to patriotism, but this takes on a different meaning in Canada. Maple leaf flags and emblems are everywhere! Locals are incredibly proud of their country, and most have a strong allegiance to their province or region.

Foreigners are welcome without reserve

While British patriotism can be seen as hostile to outsiders, Canadian flag-waving translates to a welcoming attitude where foreigners choosing to stay is a compliment to their country.

Friendliness is a given

Similar to their southern neighbours, Canadians are incredibly amiable to strangers, typically greeting them on the street. This may be uncomfortable for those used to the British reserve, but long-term expats will soon get used to it and learn to respond in kind.

Sport(s) on ice prevail

While football (soccer) in Canada has a following akin to the UK, this pales in comparison to their love of ice hockey (known simply as ‘hockey’). Also popular are Canadian football, lacrosse and curling.

With partner offices in Calgary, Toronto and Vancouver, Pickfords relocates hundreds of expats to Canada every year. To find out how we can help you fulfil your expatriate dream, visit our website or call 0800 019 8557.

Snowdon Trekkers raise over £3,800 for NSPCC!

Well done to our team of trekkers who conquered Mount Snowdon for the Moonlight Challenge this weekend, raising £3,820 for our partner charity, the NSPCC!

The team of seven trekked 21km to the top of Mount Snowdon over Saturday and Sunday, walking through the night to reach the peak in time for a fantastic (if foggy!) sunrise view of the summit.

Our walkers, including Managing Director Russell Start, enjoyed the trek but admitted it was incredibly tough. In spite feeling sore this morning, the team are glad to have taken part to help raise money for this great cause.

The NSPCC sent us a lovely thank-you for taking part:

On behalf of everyone at the NSPCC I would like to say a HUGE thank you to all for completing the Snowdon Moonlight Challenge!

This money will help the NSPCC answer 955 calls to vulnerable children across the UK. Your feat will help us get closer to reaching our goal of answering every call, and help us give more children the childhood they deserve.

So on behalf of everyone at NSPCC and the children we support, thank you so much for believing that every childhood is worth fighting for. We couldn’t be happier to have Pickfords supporting us.

Snowdon Moonlight Challenge

Cambridge branch helps promote cycling for the disabled

A massive thank-you to Kevin Hughes and Pickfords Cambridge for helping promote cycling for all at the Cherry Hinton Festival at the Cherry Hinton Recreation Ground, Cambridge, this weekend.

Kevin transported specialist bicycles and unloaded them at the Recreation Ground for You Can Bike Too, a local community project that helps nervous, new and disabled riders gain confidence in cycling.

Ruth Brannan, Community Facilitator for You Can Bike Too, was quick to thank the Cambridge branch for their help:

“Saturday went like clockwork; Kevin was a superstar! The Cherry Hinton Festival appreciated your support and we did too.

The man with a van was so happy to help us; he was a brilliant support for our project.”

Cherry Hinton

Snapped cable spells disaster for Pickfords powerboat!

It was an eventful first, and only, race for the Pickfords powerboat at the final P1 Superstock Championship at Bournemouth this weekend!

Starting out strong, Pickfords climbed from 6th to 3rd place over two laps, but disaster struck just before the final lap when a vital cable snapped and the boat had to be towed back to shore!

Rough conditions meant that Pickfords were one of five boats that had to pull out due to damages, with three boats’ engines failing!

With no time to fix the powerboat ahead of Saturday’s second race, all hope was on Sunday’s events. Unfortunately Pickfords navigator Chris Scriber suffered a minor back injury just before the first race, meaning that, without a co-pilot, the boat couldn’t take part on the final day.

Thankfully Chris had fully recovered as of Monday morning, and in spite an ill-fated final weekend, a strong start to the Championship has kept Pickfords in 6th place to finish.

Pickfords employees from the Bournemouth branch and head office visited the marina as spectators, with some, including Managing Director Russell Start, braving the water and taking rides on the boat. Bruised and battered after several bumpy rides, the guests nonetheless had a great time and look forward to next year’s Championship!

P1 Powerboat Bournemouth 2015 Tim Piper

Blog series – Pickfords Powerboat 2015:

How does US culture differ from the UK?

Statue of Liberty

One of the most popular destinations for UK expats, the USA offers a wide range of work and retirement options, coupled with a largely familiar language and lifestyle as well as lower taxes, cheaper food and, often, better weather.

While the US provides easier cultural integration than many other popular expat destinations, Brits will inevitably encounter many cultural differences that may come as a surprise without due preparation:

Strangers will talk to you unprompted

Expect to be spoken to by people you’ve never met in public settings, particularly on public transport. While Brits can find this intrusive, Americans generally see it as being friendly.

Many Americans love to hear British accents, so may approach if they overhear you ordering in a bar or restaurant.

Conversation is far more open

What might seem private in the UK may well be seen as fair game for conversation in the US. Be prepared to field questions about your life in the UK; your upbringing and family. People generally aren’t trying to probe, they are normally just curious about you and your background.

British humour might not be understood

Don’t be surprised if your dry and sarcastic whit is lost on your new American friends. While the British way of thinking is becoming more familiar thanks to major television exports such as Downton Abbey, Doctor Who and Sherlock, our more subtle humour may still be received with blank stares.

The American flag flies higher

Having been raised reciting the Pledge of Allegiance every day at school, many Americans are incredibly, openly, patriotic. This means that, as well as struggling with sarcasm, many US citizens may not appreciate self-deprecating humour, as it could be perceived as an insult to their country.

Christianity is more culturally ingrained

Christianity plays a bigger part in US culture than in the UK. Most schools start the day with the Pledge of Allegiance, and church attendance is seen as an important way of socialising. The faith also plays an integral part in US politics; politicians frequently discuss their religious beliefs while campaigning, and many churches and Christian figures are politically active. Christianity is particularly prominent in the aptly-named southern ‘Bible Belt’, where admissions of atheism may even cause offense.

You will be expected to tip

Any Brit who has watched the opening scene of the film ‘Reservoir Dogs’ knows that the US is serious about tipping. With few restaurants applying an automatic service charge, you will generally be expected to tip 15 to 20% on top of the price of your bill. Service providers such as cab drivers, bartenders, barbers and porters will all expect tips of varying degrees, as a large portion of their wages are made in gratuity.

Food is fast and fattening

While Brits do enjoy their fast and sugary foods, the US operates on another level entirely. Home of high-fat snacks such as Twinkies, s’mores, Pop-Tarts and MoonPie, even common brands such as Coca-Cola and McDonald’s are packed with far more sugar and salt than their UK equivalents.

Super size is super standard

Food and drink portions are far larger in the US. If you have a big appetite by British standards, don’t assume you’ll be able to handle American portions. A large Coke in a UK branch of McDonald’s is 500ml, which is smaller than a US medium Coke at nearly 600ml (21oz)!

‘Football’ has a different meaning

America loves sport (or rather, “sports”) as much as any Brit, but the popular sports greatly differ. Football (soccer), cricket and rugby mean little to most Americans; their national obsessions are baseball, basketball and American football. Ice hockey comes a close fourth.

With partner offices across the States, including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, Pickfords relocates hundreds of expats to the USA every year. To find out how we can help you fulfil your expatriate dream, visit our website or call 0800 019 8557.

Pickfords shortlisted for International Moving Company 2015

Pickfords has been shortlisted for an EMEA EMMA (Expatriate Management and Mobility Award) in the International Moving Company of the Year category by the Forum for Expatriate Management.

The EMMAs celebrate excellence and innovation in global mobility. An independent judging panel assess nominees against a strict set of criteria, including client communication, innovation, knowledge, skills and expertise in their nominated category.

The announcement follows Pickfords’ win in 2013, and ‘Highly Commended’ nomination last year.

The awards will be announced at a gala dinner and ceremony at The EMEA Global Mobility Summit at the Lancaster London Hotel on 6 November.

EMEA Shortlisted button