Chesterfield Champions

Champion of the Week

Meet our Champion of the Week: Mike Firth, Journalist at Heron Publications Ltd 

A local journalist for 39 years, I set up magazine company Heron Publications Ltd with my wife Helen in 2002.

I began my career as a trainee reporter at the ‘Derbyshire Times’ in 1977 where I was the weekly’s sports editor for four years. I later edited the ‘Chesterfield Gazette’ and ‘Chesterfield Express’ free newspapers.

Heron Publications, based in Dronfield, is the company behind a number of glossy, free-delivered magazines including, in north Derbyshire, ‘Twist’, ‘Wings’ and ‘Dronfield Eye’.

Myself and Helen have a pony-mad, teenage daughter, Olivia, who attends Dronfield Henry Fanshawe School.


What’s your best memory of the town?

I have fond memories of the town in the 1970s and 80s when I began work. In those days, a small army of local journalists would meet up in cosy town centre pubs each lunchtime – ‘The Welbeck’, ‘The Barley Mow’ and ‘The County’ spring to mind – and there was terrific camaraderie, even between reporters from competing newspapers.


What development do you think will make the biggest difference to the town?

Waterside – without a doubt! It’s going to give Chesterfield a whole new dimension, being to the East of the town centre. I recently took a look around the site and it is an enormous piece of land. The Waterside is larger than any other current town centre development in the country.


How would you describe Chesterfield to someone who has never visited? 

I’m sure everyone who answers this question remarks on the town’s friendliness – and it’s true! Chesterfield folk enjoy feeling a part of the community and they are generally so proud of their town.


What are the positives of running a business here?

The town isn’t a small place, but it is still of a size where business people still tend to know each other. Talk to one business owner about an issue you have and he or she will most likely be able to recommend another local trader or professional who might be able to help you.


Who or what do you turn to in Chesterfield for business advice?

Local authorities, Destination Chesterfield and the Chamber are always keen to help but, as explained above, other people in business in the town are generally happy to pass on the benefit of their knowledge and experiences.


Why did you choose to base your business in Chesterfield?

Having been employed by three newspapers in north Derbyshire – and also living here for most of my life – I knew the pride people have in local towns and villages. Our magazines highlight this, showcasing countless local success stories and achievements.


Who do you admire in the community?

Anyone who puts themselves forward to serve their community – either as a local councillor, a volunteer or charity fund-raiser.


What are the aspirations of your business?

To continue to highlight the good things going on in our patch and to entertain our readers month after month. Also, to offer a colourful shop window for businesses to promote their goods, services and achievements. Finally, we’re expanding this year with new offices currently being added to our premises at Enterprise House, Chesterfield Road, Dronfield.


What advice would you give to someone establishing a business here?

Walk and talk! Take a stroll around the town centre and chat to local people. Most of them will be only too keen to give you their views on what the town needs, what it does well and where there can be improvements.



Become a Chesterfield Champion

Chesterfield Champions

The Chesterfield Champions Campaign is uniting the business and wider community into a powerful network to drive the development of our economy.

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Become a Chesterfield Champion

Become a Chesterfield Champion

Become a Chesterfield Champion and help to drive the development of our economy, shape our future and showcase all that is good about us.

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Chesterfield Waterside - Basin Square massing illustration 1

Chesterfield Waterside

Chesterfield Waterside is an innovative and sustainable £300 million mixed use scheme and is currently the 47th largest regeneration project in the UK.

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