Year: 2019


Sarah Bentley Solicitors has further strengthened its fast-expanding team with a double appointment.

Experienced legal secretary Pat Hartley and promising apprentice Georgia Kelly have joined the family law specialist.

Motorbiking enthusiast Pat, of Barrowford, previously worked for 26 years as a personal assistant at another local legal practice, specialising in personal injury.

Georgia, of Burnley, who recently completed the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge, joins the practice on a legal secretary apprenticeship from Burnley College, where she studied public services.

“As we continue to grow, the need for top-level administration is essential,” said owner Sarah Bentley. “Pat’s secretarial record in the legal profession is there for all to see and we are very confident that Georgia will become another key asset for us.”

Picture Caption: Sarah Bentley welcomes Pat Hartley (left) and Georgia Kelly (right).


Local legal talent continues to find opportunity here at Sarah Bentley Solicitors.

Oswaldtwistle-born Falon Whalen, 22, has joined our team as a paralegal … another key advancement for the practice.

Falon recently achieved a Distinction in Family Law (part of the Legal Practice Course Masters), having earlier attained a First Class Law Degree. A former student at Mount Carmel High School, Accrington and Blackburn Sixth Form College, she studied law at Swansea University and Manchester’s University of Law.

“Earlier this summer our very first appointment, Eve Brelsford, qualified as a solicitor and we will now do all we can to help Falon develop her career here,” said Sarah. “Our policy is to give local youngsters a genuine training opportunity in family law – together with first-hand experience – and I see Falon as a perfect fit for us.”

Falon added: “Family Law appeals to me the most, so to get this chance at a firm with such a strong record and reputation in family law is just amazing. I am determined to take it with both hands.”

Picture Caption: Welcome aboard … new recruit Falon Whalen with Sarah Bentley.


Eve Brelsford was joined by colleagues and business associates at Sarah Bentley Solicitors for a celebration to mark her qualification as a solicitor – just two years after joining as a trainee.

Pictured raising a toast to Eve’s success are…

Front row (left to right): Sarah Hargreaves (Inspired Financial Planning), Eve Brelsford and Sarah Bentley
Second row: Beverley Bellas (Director, Smith Jones Solicitors), Sarah Shaun and Kirsty Astin
Third row: Paul Darlington (Consultant Solicitor, Smith Jones Solicitors), Ivan Hargreaves (Director, Inspired Financial Planning), Mark Sunter (Director, Ainsworths Accountants), Adam Dennis (Financial Advisor, Eccles Greenwood Financial Planning LLP), Lee Eccles (Managing Partner, Eccles Greenwood Financial Planning LLP), Donna Greenhalgh (Centre Manager, Business First) and Paul Smith (Director, Smith Jones Solicitors).


Newly-qualified solicitor Eve Brelsford is set to become a leading light in family law across the
region … according to Sarah Bentley.

Eve, 26, was the first recruit when we opened our doors in 2017 and now the former trainee is celebrating
becoming a fully-fledged solicitor in her own right.

“Eve has all the necessary attributes – both professionally and personally – and her ability with people is
truly outstanding,” said practice owner Sarah.

“It’s a great feeling to qualify and I owe Sarah so much,” said the former student at Westholme School
(Blackburn) and Burnley Sixth Form College. “She is the perfect role model and has been quick to pass
on her knowledge and understanding of family law based on 30 years’ experience.”

Eve, who lives in Hurst Green, achieved a Masters Degree in Law at Northumbria University.

And Sarah believes Eve’s emergence holds the key to further progress for the firm, adding: “We deal in a
very complex area of law and guarantee expertise and sensitivity across every case. Eve has already
shown me that she has what it takes to deal with all aspects of family law and her qualifying as a solicitor
is great news for her and for us.”

Libby’s arrival a major coup

Thirty years after sharing their first cases in family law, Sarah Bentley has re-united with Elizabeth ‘Libby’ Reed, a former leading light in the Crown Prosecution Service.

“It’s both a professional coup and a personal joy to welcome Libby aboard,” said Sarah. “We have been colleagues and friends for many years and her vast legal experience speaks for itself.”

Libby, who lives in Ightenhill, Burnley, has been tempted out of retirement by the challenge of the new part-time role with us, saying: “Family law was where I started and it has always remained a key element in my work, so when Sarah asked if I would be interested it was impossible to resist.”

The former Senior Crown Prosecutor has enjoyed a hugely successful career, rising to Head of Greater Manchester Crown Court Unit – the biggest outside London.

“It was a fascinating but very demanding role,” said the native of Middlesbrough, who started off as an office junior before obtaining a law degree and a diploma in legal practice at Manchester Metropolitan University and then qualifying as a solicitor in 1997. “My main function was to ensure correct decision-making across many serious criminal matters including murders, gangland murders, drugs trafficking, human trafficking, rape and serious sexual offences and the extradition of individuals to name but a few.”

Libby was also project manager on the implementation of specialist domestic violence courts across Lancashire. She worked within the domestic violence voluntary sector to enable it to come to fruition, receiving a prestigious Justice Award and also appearing on the Trevor McDonald television documentary on domestic violence.

“During my time with the CPS, I probably dealt with more or less every crime imaginable and the pressure, stresses and strains over a lengthy period left me ready for retirement a couple of years ago.

“I have really enjoyed the break – pursuing many outdoor pursuits and even taking up tap dancing! – and now feel suitably refreshed and very much up for this exciting opportunity at Sarah Bentley Solicitors.”

Sarah is delighted with her latest recruit: “Our specialism is family law, on which Libby is clearly well versed, and I am certain that her vast legal knowledge and infectious enthusiasm will be of immense value.”

Picture Caption: Libby Reed (left) is welcomed by Sarah Bentley.