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Home Canterbury News Article
Apprentice winner Stella English is being taken to court over allegations of unpaid bills following the summer ball she organised at Whitstable Castle.
Miss English, who lost an employment tribunal that pitted her against Lord Sugar, is accused of failing to settle a £750 payment to Ashford printing firm CAD Kent after it helped her organise the event hosted by her English Events Company in August.
CAD Kent's Phillipa Berry and Chris Ashford say they worked 10-hour days for six weeks promoting the bash - and even helped to book a replacement singer after a performer dropped out at short notice.
The trio formed a close working relationship in the run-up to the event, with the firm responsible for designing Ms English's website, drumming up interest through competitions and social media as well as producing leaflets.
Ms Berry and Mr Ashford claim things turned sour soon after the event and Miss English ignored repeated requests to pay the outstanding £750.
"We went out of our remit massively to help Stella. We were the people she turned to when she needed someone..." - Phillipa Berry, CAD Kent
Now he duo have entered a claim for the money at the small claims court after they saw a tweet from Miss English promoting Crowdbox TV, which gives entrepreneurs a platform to promote fundraising projects.
Ms Berry said: "We went out of our remit massively to help Stella. We were the people she turned to when she needed someone.
"We invoiced her after the event, and it was just a radio silence from then onwards.
"£750 may not be a massive amount of money to her, but it is for us. The final straw for us was when Chris received a letter from her barrister, saying he had been harrassing her.
"It had no basis whatsoever, and hasn't been pursued by her legal team."
Mr Ashford, a graphic designer, said: "We were consumed by [the castle event], so much so we didn't really take on any other business.
"Now Phillipa has gone back to work and we have to build up the business.
"We've contacted her about 30 times, but she has just ignored it."
Miss English's spokesman Terry Mills was unable to provide a comment, but said his client denied the claims.
Soul star Dionne Bromfield, soprano Natalie Coyle and jazz artist Xara Vaughan were all due to perform at Whitstable Castle but dropped out days before the event.
Representatives for Ms Coyle admitted low ticket sales had prompted her withdrawal, as a Robbie Williams tribute act was brought in as a late replacement.
The English Events Company website has since been taken down.
Miss English's barrister Henry Hendron said she "strenuously denies that she is in the debt of Mr Ashford".
He added: "My client considers that the threats of Mr Ashford and others is simply Mr Ashford trying his luck.
"Mr Ashford has made various explicit noises about bringing my client down in the full glare of publicity.
"My client will not be deterred by baseless allegations and bully-boy tactics by individuals who use the threat of bad publicity to try to force my client into a settlement.
"My client did not surrender and give in when Lord Sugar, through his firm Viglen, hounded her for substantial costs; and she won.
"She beat Lord Sugar, and she will overcome any claim that Mr Ashford or anyone else brings forward, as she considers that there is no justifiable claim against her."
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