The Mortgage Mole

Stirring it up Mole was treated to a cook and dine event at Vinopolis in London last week, courtesy of Barclays.

With fears of the UK heading into a double-dip recession, participants were made to work for their food and were split into teams to make a three-course meal.

Despite having super-chef Andy Gray, head of mortgages at Woolwich, on her team, Mortgage Strategy deputy editor Natalie Thomas failed to scoop the top prize, losing out to the team headed by Laoiseach Lynch, head of mortgage products at Woolwich. Lynch however kept quiet about his two years at cookery school until after the prize-giving.

Thomas was on the winning team when it came to the wine tasting though. Eagle-eyed Mortgage Strategy Online readers may have spotted the resulting hangover on Wednesday morning.

After one too many glasses at Vinopolis, Thomas got brokers excited when she sent out an email claiming Woolwich was relaunching into 85% LTV buy-to-let the following day. It was 75% LTV of course.

Steely resolve Not content with being a PR guru of the mortgage market, Richard Hurst is going after a new title – ironman. Hurst, with Charlbury Group’s Dave Ford and Paul Duckworth, is taking part in the Iron Man PLUS 2012 challenge on behalf of Shooting Star Children’s Hospice and CHASE.

“It’s hard to adequately express just how far from being ironmen candidates the three of us are,” Hurst tells Mole. “We’re not sure we have enough iron in our diets, let alone the capacity to torture our old and aching bodies over five days.”

The gruelling challenge, from June 12 to 16, involves a 10-mile climb, 50-mile bike ride, 26-mile marathon, 75-mile road cycle and 25 miles of kayaking.
To sponsor Hurst and his team, go to