Pembroke: Paying the penalty for a poor try

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The Independent Online
There will be no missing Craig Walton, marketing director of Foreign & Colonial, at the Rugby League Challenge Cup final between Wigan and Leeds this afternoon. He will be the one whose face is crimson with shame.

Mr Walton is taking a select group of guests to the match and earlier this week sent out a little note explaining the itinerary for the day. Unfortunately for Mr Walton, who has clearly never been north of Watford, his spelling let him down. The note was headed: 'Leeds v Wiggin'.

Leeds Building Society has also worked itself up into a lather over the rugby. For reasons we can only guess at, it has teamed up with National Breakdown to offer a free service to fans of both Leeds and Wigan travelling down to Wembley.

'Obviously we are pleased Leeds have got to the final, but if we find a Wigan supporter broken down we will not just drive past,' says the society helpfully.

Champneys, the upmarket health clubs once owned by Guinness, have been sold again. Fitness & Leisure, a holding company with interests in the UK and Canada, has bought the three health clubs from the consortium of four shareholders.

Though the sum paid was undisclosed, Fitness & Leisure's chief executive, Jim McAvoy, says it was more than the pounds 7m that the previous owners paid Guinness. Mr McAvoy has big plans. He reckons the Champneys brand is under-developed and wants to expand. 'I think we could have 25 locations worldwide and possibly some on cruise liners,' he says.

Radio 5's Special Assignment will be missing a guest this morning. It had hoped to include John Prideaux, a former senior British Rail executive, in its discussion on the Channel tunnel, but BR stopped him appearing.

Mr Prideaux was chairman of Union Railways, the BR subsidiary responsible for building the high-speed tunnel rail link, but left after disagreements with management. BR apparently said he could not go on, as they were still paying up his contract.

The World Gold Council has come over all witty with a little booklet called All that Glistens, a collection of what various people have said about gold over the years. Produced on smart white paper with gold edging, it includes the following: 'Gold . . . is not necessary' (Adolf Hitler).

The numerical types at the Central Statistical Office have been throwing their calculators into the air after their publicity coup this week. Its celebration of 80 years of price-watching splashed across every newspaper in the land.

A contrast, one CSO wag says, with the D-Day celebrations. 'We did it with no outside consultants and no Vera Lynn,' he says.

The exodus at GT Management continues as the lure of the hedge funds proves too much to resist. Robert Stirling, head of the bond desk in London, and Steve Pearson, a European specialist, have thrown in their lot with Sloane Robinson as partners. They team up with Hugh Sloane, who left GT last summer, and George Robinson, previously research director at W I Carr in Hong Kong.

According to Mr Sloane, a fund of dollars 100m has been raised so far. With annual hedge fund fees running at about 1 per cent plus 20 per cent performance payments, the new boys will be hoping for Porsches all round by Christmas. Markets willing, of course.

(Photograph omitted)

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