A Cumbrian businessman championed post-Brexit trade opportunities as he met with global leaders at a ground-breaking summit.

Barry Leahey, managing director of Playdale Playgrounds, was one of 800 senior business leaders and heads of government from across the Commonwealth to gather in London for the crucial event.

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting brings together representatives from the world of business, civic society and government to address global challenges faced by Commonwealth countries.

Haverthwaite-based Playdale Playgrounds, one of the leading providers of children’s outdoor playground equipment, exports to almost 50 countries and was recently given the status of Commonwealth First Export Champion.

Mr Leahey spoke at the SME Trade Forum on the so-called ‘Commonwealth advantage’.

He pointed out that it is estimated to be 19 per cent cheaper to do business in Commonwealth countries.

“As the UK starts to realign for a post Brexit era, I believe CHOGM is a crucial moment for the continued strengthening of our relationship with the Commonwealth,” he said.

“I hope for increased support for intra-Commonwealth trade, to help maximise opportunities for growth for all members.

"The Commonwealth Advantage allows businesses like Playdale to experience success in Commonwealth markets, which in turn helps to grow intra-Commonwealth trade and the UK economy.

"Due to the similar trading conditions and laws, we realised, early on in our export journey, the benefits of exporting to distributors in Commonwealth countries.

“This has helped us secure the future of our business but has also given boosts to our local UK supply chain.

"I encourage any business not yet exporting, to work with the DIT and

explore their exporting potential."

Among those delivering speeches on the need to deliver a prosperous Commonwealth for all were Prime Minister Theresa May, Secretary of State Liam Fox, Prince William, Bill Gates and the Duke of York.

There was focus on the rising business talent that must be supported and given opportunities; 2.4 billion people live in the Commonwealth, with 60 per cent of those under 30 by 2020.

Family-owned Playdale Playgrounds has designed, manufactured and installed over 22,000 playgrounds in the UK and around the world for 40 years.