Datesand News

Welcoming Evelyn to the team


Evelyn set to bolster Datesand’s Business Support Team

We’re all delighted to welcome Evelyn to the team here in Manchester. She’ll be working closely with Helen, Rebecca, Claire and the rest of the team to advise and support our customers on the products and services we offer as well as just being another friendly and helpful voice at the end of the phone when you’re looking for some assistance. Evelyn is already making a big impact and we welcome her warmly to the Datesand family.









Just for fun:

Which 3 species of animal kill the most humans each year?


Humans are the third biggest killer
Snakes are the second biggest killer
The animal that kills the most humans in a year is of course the Mosquito

WIN £20 Love2Shop voucher

Can you name this animal?











Mini Bio – Issue 2


Derek Saville (Tabs)

Warehouse and Production Manager 

Derek, or Tabs as he prefers to be known, has been at the heart of the Datesand team for over twenty years now. He is a crucial part of our senior management team but is also a vital source of merriment and morale, especially when things get busy (as they do quite frequently). We asked him to pick out a few key memories from amongst the thousands of moments, highs and lows he has experienced during these rich, enjoyable and often hilarious years.

“I joined Datesand approximately 21 years ago, originally on a temporary basis working on anything the small family business wanted me to do. I had quite a lot of practical and machine experience from my previous employment and one of my first jobs involved cutting Aquasorb absorbent trayliners on a rotary cutting machine. The process also involved laminating an impermeable liner to the sheets using a special adhesive and pressure. We had many a weekend with all the family and a whole variety of friends working to finish off big orders to go out to clients here and in Europe. I remember working right through one weekend to get thousands of sheets ready for shipment to Avensis in Germany. The work was non-stop and very tiring but we got it done and I recall my wife helping us to keep going and bringing a smile to a few weary faces when she brought us all a roast dinner into the little canteen on the last day.

Datesand were and still are offering a range of horticultural products as a separate business within a business (the Raingel range). I was soon involved using similar equipment to prepare absorbent holiday watering and hanging basket mats and then cutting them to size on an ancient but sturdy industrial guillotine machine. At times this was quite fast-paced but we always got there and lots of treasured plants of clients here and all over the world were suitably grateful.

Originally Datesand used third parties to carry out the limited amount of vacuum packing required on some of the products we sold. This was quite a costly business and the company decided to reduce the costs by bringing the vacuum packing process in-house. I was soon working away on some interesting, refurbished machines vacuum packing everything from 1kg bales to 200g packs of Sizzlenest nesting material ready for irradiation. It’s amazing to think that these days, in our purpose designed vacuum packing rooms, we have two and sometimes three people working pretty much all day, every day on a range of state of the art, automated vacuum packers producing huge quantities of the very highest quality vacuum packed products. It makes me smile to think of those early days and how far we’ve come.

We didn’t have a forklift truck in the early days and I remember the first large shipments and actual containers arriving at our tiny premises. Things like Aspen bedding and paper nesting materials weren’t packed on pallets in those days and I recall us unloading huge numbers of sacks from the lorries by hand. Pretty exhausting but good for the waistline in those days…. by the way, we have four fork lift trucks these days and are about to take delivery of our fifth.

One of the first products developed by Datesand was our disinfectant and glass cleaner Betadet 99 – invented by Jonathon’s Dad Barry back in the 70’s and still in our catalogue to this day. Early on, I remember mixing the various ingredients for this in a water butt on a shelf in what was known as the wet room ( pretty basic arrangements – in the second of the five different premises we’ve occupied over the years). These days we still sell the Betadet product but it’s now produced in a purpose built mixing container with state of the art hot water intake and drainage taps. This all takes place in a dedicated, secure chemical room at our premises in Manchester. For me this change really sums up the rapid development the company has gone through.

I’ve seen tremendous change and development during my 21 years at Datesand and I can honestly say that I’m immensely proud to have been part of this and have enjoyed every minute. Now, heading towards the twilight of my career, I’m really happy that the future of this tremendous company is safe in the hands of a smashing young team. I’m sure the Datesand family will go from strength to strength. I’m currently recovering from a recent hip replacement but really looking forward to getting back to work to further assist and guide in any and every way I can.

Innovation brings its own rewards!

lisa-doarThe three winners of the first ever Janet Wood Innovation Awards have been announced and very excitingly the first-placed product, the simply brilliant Mouse Swing by Lisa Doar from CRUK Manchester will go on sale within the next month. Keep an eye on the Datesand website for more details.

Lisa’s hopefully very rewarding prize will be 10% of the profits from sales of the Mouse Swing over the initial 18 months. Datesand chief designer, Mark said ‘we’re delighted with the finalised samples of the production version of this brilliantly simple product. We’re extremely excited about its launch and we’re certain it will be an extremely valuable and popular addition to Datesand’s wide range of enrichment items!’

Second prize went to Gareth Coleman’s (University of Cambridge) superb Mouse Mezzanine, closely followed by the remarkably ingenious Play Tunnel Clip designed by Chris Brown also of the University of Cambridge. These products too will soon be available commercially through Datesand – keep up-to-date with the Datesand website at and via our Twitter feed and Facebook group.

For more product info visit:
Single Mouse Swing
Double Mouse Swing

Call: 0800 161 5831 for more details

The second annual Janet Wood Innovation Awards competition  is already open for your submissions. Please download the special entry pack at 


Envigo clients to benefit further from Envigo-Datesand partnership

Envigo has recently confirmed plans for a dedicated laboratory animal diet warehouse in the UK to supply UK and Irish customers directly. Martin from Envigo explained ‘This dedicated facility will be operated by our delivery partners Datesand Ltd. showing further strength and partnership commitment between Envigo and Datesand. The new warehouse will be climate controlled to ensure optimum storage conditions.’

The combined growth in demand for Envigo’s market leading laboratory animal diets, has resulted in an increased range now being available from stock. These include primate and mini pig diets to complement the established rodent, dog, rabbit and guinea pig portfolio. Martin added ‘UK and Irish Envigo customers will benefit from the improved customer service, increased diet options and stronger overall product availability provided by this exciting new facility’. More information is available on some of the Envigo Teklad diets at: – Click Here


Datesand goes all athletic in Wales

Abersoch Sprint triathlon 2017



Abersoch is a place dear to the hearts of Datesand’s Jonathon, his wife Claire, and indeed the whole Wood family. The beautiful little fishing village in Gwynned on the gorgeous Llyn peninsular is where Jonathon and his brother Nick holidayed with their parents as children and where he and his wife Claire met over 25 years ago. Jonathon and his young family continue to visit the spot at least once or twice a year.

This year Jonathon has already completed the10k there in May. Claire, Jonathon and a group of twenty or so friends have, just this weekend, completed the rather challenging Sprint Triathlon also in Abersoch and, as the final part of the Abersoch Triple Crown, Jonathon will take part in the half marathon in the resort in September.

The sprint triathlon, by the way, consists of a 750m swim, 22km bike ride followed by a 5km run, all in swift succession (phew! that’s quite enough for one year – editor’s comment).
Jonathon described it as ‘a fantastic event – very challenging but worth all the hard work training and preparing! There were more than 350 competitors and we both did pretty respectable times – Claire finished in 1h 49 mins and I managed 1 hour and 34. We’ve all raised lots of money for various charities and then got the chance to relax in a beautiful spot, enjoying the sun and the sea and a few very welcome glasses of beer/prosecco to celebrate ….. I couldn’t recommend it more highly. There’s also a mini event next year and, not to be outdone, both our kids have signed up for that!’


New book on living with dementia planned

wendywebWendy Mitchell is a Join Dementia Research Champion and the author of the widely-read blog Which Me Am I Today? which documents her life living with dementia since being diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s in 2014.

Now the 61-year-old is co-writing a book, Somebody I Used To Know, which will be released by publishers Bloomsbury in January 2018. Wendy has co-written the memoir with acclaimed ghost-writer Anna Wharton, co-author of three other books including Cut, by FGM campaigner Hibo Wardere.

“I used to be a very private person before I had dementia,” explained Wendy. “But when I was diagnosed I was so shocked and appalled at the lack of understanding and awareness that surrounds dementia that I’m now willing to shout from the rooftops at every opportunity that comes my way.”

Wendy Mitchell – Join Dementia Research champion


All work & no play…!

Well, you have to sometimes, don’t you? We all downed tools briefly this week to celebrate Juliana’s rather important birthday! As a barby had been requested, a barby was duly prepared and, in Manchester’s baking heat (yes, baking heat!), lots of fun was had by all. A very happy birthday to Juliana from the whole Datesand team!









Exhibitions & Events

See us at AALAS October 15 -19 2017










Quiz Answer:

Who’s this little chap?








The Answer:
Red Crested Tree Rat, native to Colombia