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Sunday, 31 August 2014

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The Duke of York celebrates innovative Ulverston and Barrow firms

HIS Royal Highness the Duke of York toasted high-tech industries in Furness as he opened two new company buildings.

Prince Andrew yesterday officially opened Forge Europa’s Lighting Solutions Centre in Ulverston and Structural Science Composites Limited’s office in Barrow.

The prince was greeted by dignitaries, including Ulverston mayor Councillor Brenda Marr and Barrow and Furness MP John Woodcock, as he arrived at Forge Europa’s Prince’s Street HQ.

He then chatted with 20 pupils from Ulverston’s St Mary’s Catholic Primary School.

He joked with the children, asking if they worked at the new centre, then asked what careers they wanted to pursue and what they had been working on at school.

Dozens of excited onlookers also gathered near the railway bridge to watch as the Duke of York’s Range Rover arrived.

After he unveiled the plaque, the prince told employees and dignitaries at Forge Europa: “I have to say, both organisations I’ve visited today have been innovative, interesting and growing businesses.

“They are small businesses that have potential to actually deliver a huge amount, not only for the local community, but national business as well.

“Congratulations on what you have done so far.”

During his tour, he was told about Forge Europa’s plans for growth and the innovative LED lighting solutions to be designed and developed at the new million-pound centre.

Peter Barton, managing director of Forge Europa, which started in his home in 1993, said: “We are delighted that, not only has the Duke of York taken the time to open our new facility, but he has also taken such a personal and well-informed interest in the future of product innovation in the UK.

“The construction of our new Lighting Solutions Centre will enable us to further our research and development work and continually improve product lighting design to
reduce product energy consumption further, as well as creating a number of high-tech local jobs in 2012.”

Earlier yesterday, Prince Andrew visited Structural Science Composites Limited, which is a pioneer of composite manhole covers.

The firm has come a long way since it opened its Barrow office and factory in 2005.

With an order book of 200,000 covers, featuring 60,000 secured in the UK and 140,000 in Europe, the company received royal endorsement from the Duke of York as he visited the James Freel Close office, which the firm’s production activities have now moved into.

SSC general manager, Andrew Burton, said: “We are very proud of our achievements over the past seven years and feel honoured to receive this royal stamp of approval.

“The office move allows us to centralise our rapidly growing business, improve factory facilities and better manage the increased production of the factory. It also
enables us to undertake a planned recruitment programme to meet increasing business.

“Currently, SSC has vacancies for engineers and warehouse operatives and we are planning to recruit additional production staff, in line with growing demands, in the near future.”

The duke made the royal visit to South Cumbria in his role to support entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises looking to grow their businesses in the UK, or reach international markets.

At the Forge Europa visit, St Mary’s Catholic Primary School headteacher Nicola Rielly was proud of the 20 children picked to represent the school.

She said: “We had to pick 20, so that was difficult, but they earned their place because they represent the ethos of the school. They were very excited and their parents were very proud.

“Some of them here have got brand spanking new sweatshirts on just for the occasion and they’ve managed not to spill their dinner down them.

“They’re very excited, but they’ve been very well behaved.”

Pupil Catrina Diaz, seven, told the Duke of York she wanted to be a vet when she grows up, and said to the Evening Mail: “I was very excited. I liked all of it.”

Ulverston mayor, Cllr Marr, said she was not aware of a royal visit to the town since the Queen came in 1983.

She said of Forge Europa: “I’m so thrilled this company has stayed in Ulverston and not moved away as they expanded, which they could’ve quite easily have done.
“They’ve showed great commitment to the town. It’s a very innovative building and the design fits in well with where it is – it doesn’t look industrial.

“It’s absolutely marvellous for the town that this company has reached the heights of international business that it has.”

Following the unveiling of the plaque, Forge Europa presented the Duke of York with a luminous jacket with “HRH” on the back and a gift basket featuring an LED lamp.

The Duke of York joked: “I’ll put one of these on the Queen’s desk for you.”

He added: “I do wish you every success in your endeavours as you continue to grow the business.

“It was clear to me before I came here today that energy efficiency is one of the best ways we can contribute towards the reduction of the effects of climate change and this sort of technology is going to allow many more people to be energy efficient.”

l Go to www.nwemail.co.uk to see more pictures from the royal visit.

Have your say

As ever from this area, only comments posted are negative about a trivial aspect. Instead they should focus on the great achievenment of the local business and the profile gained for the area by the visit! And how did they expect him to get here.. on the bus?

Posted by colin on 31 May 2012 at 09:46

Prince Andrew, just came to see Forge Europa I have my doubts !! Taking into account I seen many navy uniforms today walking around BAE Submarine Solutions I have strong suspicions that he spent most of his time at BAE..........

Posted by S G Williams BEng(hons) on 30 May 2012 at 21:35

View all 4 comments on this article

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