It started with a group of like-minded people who developed the concept of an Umbrella organisation for freelance consultants. This was a truly distinctive and unique offering in the market in the late 1990’s. This coincided with the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL) being granted Royal Assent which led to significant structural changes at Union Railways as the Scheme became delivery focused. This presented a unique window of opportunity given that some of the aforementioned cohort were involved in developing the Environmental Minimum Requirements (EMR) and planning requirements as well as advising on specific Assurances and Undertakings for CTRL.It was widely acknowledged that the environmental requirements for CTRL set a new benchmark for the Construction Industry and contractors quickly realised that an experienced team was needed to address these. So the timing was perfect. The discussions started in September/October 1996 which paved the way for the formation of Temple Environmental Consultants Ltd (TECL) which came into being in January 1997. The first inaugural meeting took place at Barnards (Mark’s home) in the dining room where the business plan was also ratified.The Company was set up with circa £19,000 capital. Other than Mark there were eight shareholders, Adrian James, Rupert Thornley-Taylor, Colin Stanbury, Jim Colley, Chris Hill, Bob Chard, David Shirley and Russell Bowler. There was considerable breadth of skills and experience amongst this cohort which included both environment and planning specialists. There was some urgency to the formal set up as a number of commissions were pending so expediency was the order of the day. Mark and Adrian James were appointed Directors.The first contract was the Thameslink Programme which was quickly followed by two CTRL contracts i.e.Amec McAlpine (C330) and Balfour Beatty How it all started Major Projects (C440), for which we secured a number of Awards. Our first two employees (Jennifer Clark and Tom Lawson) were appointed in 1999 both of whom worked full time on CTRL contracts.At this time, we also recruited a back office team who were based at Barnards and operated from the Coach House. The usual growth challenges followed notably accommodation, regional considerations, investment in systems/processes and IT which all happened over a relatively short period.“Investing ahead of the curve” has been a feature of Temple from the outset and has helped us retain a competitive edge in a crowded market place. Over the years, we became renowned for punching above our weight in securing important assignments on many of the largest and highest profile/prestigious projects in the UK notwithstanding our relatively small size. Much of our success can be put down to the reputation we built for building bespoke teams for clients, the personal commitment made by senior personnel (a rare commodity in the consultancy industry) and our track record of delivering complex projects against challenging timeframes. Some of these wins represented genuine “game changers” for the business.These occasions would prompt Mark to ring the bell – a sound that became quite familiar to many, as well as the routine celebrations. Offices opened in London and the South West as part of the expansion and in 2003 Temple Environmental Consultants Ltd (commonly referred to as “TECL”) became Temple Group Ltd with four operating divisions – environment, planning, regeneration and strategy. In 2006, we restructured the business and opened a large London office to accommodate most of the technical team and provide a flagship and distinctive office (Tempus Wharf) on the Thames close to Butlers Wharf. At this time, the last remaining shareholders who had relatively little to do with the business at this time agreed