Meet The Team

CLAIRE APPLETON - Managing Director

Claire Appleton

After qualifying with a Business Studies Diploma with distinction, in 1980 Claire undertook a number of temping jobs including one or two projects within the family business Vanpoulles Ltd (Church Furnishers) where her father Robert was Chairman.

Always very close to her father, she accompanied him on a business trip to Belgium in 1981.  There, a friend and supplier called Marc Slabbink of Slabbinck BE mentioned that they were diversifiying in Belgium by expanding their bespoke vestments for the clergy into making bespoke flags and other items for companies and other customers.  They set up the original Insignia in Belgium.

Feeling the idea could work well in the UK too Robert and Marc invested the initial capital and Insignia UK was established.  Over 30 years later the company is still going strong and although Robert sadly passed away in 1998 his memory lives on in the business ethics on which the company is still based.

Our clients are companies (large and small), schools, clubs, charities, government – you name it we get to work with every sector and we are very proud of the fact that once we gain a customer they rarely go elsewhere.

Whilst Insignia is renown for the keenest prices in the industry the most important thing to us is customers service.  One in 3 of our new customers come to us a result of a referral which speaks for itself.

Claire likes: animals, especially her dog Ruby, horses Lucero and Flynn and crazy rescue cat Slinky . She also like sunny days, happy customers and working with the great team at Insignia.  See below to find out more about them.

SANDRA ACKLAND - Business Development Manager


Sandra may not look old enough, but she first started working at Insignia back in 1987 when she was just 17!

With a wealth of experience in the promotional industry to share with you, Sandra excels in being creative and can help you with industry specific ideas that will work brilliantly for your company or project.

Sandra’s home life has changed dramatically since her dog Oscar joined their family and also with the purchase of a holiday home on the South Coast. Now her life involves walking 3 times a day and spending nearly every weekend on holiday the lucky thing!
Sandra loves:  her family, Oscar, cooking, the beach and her job (of course).  She’s also discovered Pinterest which has become a bit of an addiction so she now limits herself to half an hour a day!

 Sarah West – Assistant to Sandra Ackland


Sarah came to us via the power of Facebook and is Sandra’s assistant. With over 10 years of customer service experience under her belt she has proved to be a fabulous asset to the business.
Despite getting up at 5.30am every morning, running a busy household and being mother to 3 young children she is always bursting with energy and enthusiasm.
Sarah loves: Football (QPR) and her weekly pub quiz’s.  She is also totally obsessed with music and has completely filled up her ipod and has to buy another one!  She also loves coffee shops which may explain her high energy every day.

Julie Glenville - Assistant to Jan Runacres


Julie joined Insignia in August 2015 as a newbie after 12 years in the Metropolitan Police Service and before that 9 years at NatWest Bank.

With vast experience working in the Public Sector, Julie joined us for a change of scenery and a fresh new challenge, bringing along with her various skills, experiences and the willingness to learn.

Julie enjoys the fact that she no longer has to commute anymore as she is only walking distance from home but does miss her new car when it rains!

Julie has a moto ‘If a customer is happy, then, I am happy!’

Julie likes: Julie loves anything with Chocolate in it! Hugh Jackman, Gary Barlow and Bear Grylls. Spending time with her boys; Son Samuel and hubby Dave. Julie is a Chelsea fan, her hero is Kerry Dixon! Loves music, reading, being by the sea especially Devon! And having fun!



GALE BEENEY - Office Administrator


Gale joined the company way back in 1996 in a part time capacity while her daughters Kelly and Claire were little.  Luckily for us she is still here now that her children are in their 30's! 

Gale 'wears many hats' and is the person we REALLY miss when she is on holiday.  Her main responsibilities are despatch and database management which she excels at with her gentle yet probing telephone manner.

Gale likes:  Travelling abroad and seeing the sights, especially the local marine life in the Maldives, or resting on a deserted, white sandy beach with a local barman keeping her topped up with Pina Colada!  She also loves spending quality time with family and friends.

BARBARA KIRBY - Accounts Manager


When our previous Accounts Manager decided to take a well earned early retirement and moved to Spain, we thought we would never get any one as good to replace her.

Luckily,we were completely wrong and, in 2007, fate sent us our wonderful “Barb".  Barb is absolutely meticulous and efficient in all aspects of her work.  This means very few of you will get the opportunity to speak with her, but those of you who have done so will know how friendly and professional she is. She is our little songbird in the office – often to be heard singing along to the latest tunes from the office radio!

Barb likes:  Learning; she always has her head in a book or surfing the net.  Loves everything 'New Age' from astrology, angels, divination and runes to tarot and wicca!  With a vast library, and just about every book imaginable on topics such as; scented candles, incense and crystals.  She even has her own witchy altar where she does spells.  By her own admission, she's not very good at them yet, but is great at setting light to her curtains!

Oscar Ackland -  Office Dog

 Oscar the dog 1

Oscar the dog 2

Oscar the dog 3

Oscar is Sandra’s dog and has been a part of the office since he was a puppy.  Born on Valentine’s Day he really does have Sandra’s heart!
He spends most of his days asleep in one of his two beds (spoilt dog) and then gets taken for a walk at lunchtime.  He then has his lunch and goes back to sleep for the rest of the afternoon.
Oscar likes:  barking at the door buzzer, treats, sleeping and his tennis ball.  He also has a bit of a thing for Jan and can’t wait to get in each morning to cover her in doggy kisses!

Looking for a career with Insignia, please see our Career Opportunities