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Wilkins Chimney Sweep franchisee wins at Scottish ex-forces business awards

Wilkins Chimney Sweep franchisee wins at Scottish ex-forces business awards

Kris McLernon left the army in April 2020 after 14 years of service and bought his franchise in September 2021

Kris McLernon, owner of Wilkins Chimney Sweep Lanarkshire, was a winner at the 2022 Scottish Ex-Forces in Business Awards recently, in the New Service Leaver category, which recognises men and women who left the military less than three years ago.

Kris left the army in April 2020 after 14 years as a recovery mechanic with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) and bought his Wilkins Chimney Sweep franchise in September 2021.

At a black-tie event held at the Hilton Hotel in Glasgow, Kris was announced as the winner of his category and presented with his award by Lt Col Lorne Campbell, Edinburgh Garrison Commander and ex-Royal Marine, BBC presenter and Invictus Games Gold Medallist, JJ Chalmers. The awards highlight the achievements of ex-military personnel, their success since leaving the forces and the organisations that have supported them. The organisers said: “Every finalist was an outstanding role model for service leavers new and old, and a tremendous representation of the synergies between military values and business excellence.”

Kris bought his Wilkins Chimney Sweep franchise on a “no money down” special offer that the franchisor, Taylor Made Franchising, developed during the pandemic to help people looking for a new career. After less than 12 months Kris has exceeded all expectations and has leapt to halfway up the franchisee’s leader board, beating many long-established franchisees. He has used creative marketing and advertising to boost his brand awareness and is a keen social media user, frequently posting videos of his day and the chimneys he is cleaning.

Talking about his win Kris said: “I genuinely thought it was just going to be a night off, to let off some steam and meet a few good people. I managed not only to have a great night but also won the award in my category. Massive congratulations to all the finalists and winners. If someone like me can achieve something like this, there’s absolutely no reason why no one else leaving the military can’t achieve the same and I did it all through a pandemic. Have faith in your abilities troops. Your hard work and diligence don’t go unnoticed.”

Pip Wilkins, CEO of the British Franchise Association, said: “The franchising model can be an excellent choice for anyone leaving the military to consider as a way to build a second career. The bfa is delighted that Kris McLernon’s hard work as a Wilkins Chimney Sweep franchisee has now been rewarded with this award win.”

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