Top Sunderland business woman declared bankrupt

Anne Ganley of at the 2010 Portfolio Business Awards
Anne Ganley of at the 2010 Portfolio Business Awards
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ONE of Wearside’s best-known business faces has been declared bankrupt.

Anne Ganley, 56, was managing director of Sunderland-based Thompson’s Building Centres and sister company Taps plumbing merchants until their collapse in March.

An entry in the London Gazette confirms she was declared bankrupt at Sunderland County Court on October 16 in response to a creditor’s petition brought by Warwickshire-based heating, plumbing and building supplies firm Wolseley UK.

Mrs Ganley joined the family scrap metal business set up by her father, Albert Thompson, straight from school at the age of 15 and steered it in a new direction when she realised the scrap market was declining.

She was made an OBE in the New Year’s Honours list for her charity work and her contribution to the builder’s merchant industry and is a former North East Woman Entrepreneur of the Year and winner of the Sunderland Echo Portfolio Entrepreneur of the Year award.

She blamed the collapse of the Thompson’s empire on a combination of difficult trading conditions, “excessive and exceptional bank charges” and an unwillingness by Customs and Excise bosses to allow time to pay after an extremely tough winter trading period.

In September, she escaped a driving ban after twice being caught speeding, once while using a mobile phone.

She told city magistrates she needed her licence because she was trying to rebuild the waste management arm of the business: “I just want to be allowed to work. I want nothing from anybody or anything,” she told the bench.

“I am not a quitter.”

The court heard she hoped to set up an Individual Voluntary Arrangement to clear her debts and avoid bankruptcy.

Mrs Ganley today confirmed she had been made bankrupt but declined to comment further.