The importance its apprentices was stressed by Ashley and Rock's managing director Brian Monk at an apprentice training awards event in the Coronation Hall, Ulverston, in 1988.

Ashleys, the electrical components firm, employed more than 900 people at its four factories and the company had been in Ulverston for almost 50 years, said Mr Monk.

He said its apprentices were taught not only skills in training but also skills in society.

The awards evening was the first under the company's new name Ashley and Rock following its merger with Rock Electrical Accessories of Bradford.

Technical director Brian Capper said the Training School had instructed 18 apprentices during the year, 13 from Ashleys and five from other companies. All had made good progress.

Four apprentices came out of their time in September to work within the company and seven new apprentices were taken on.

Apprentices from G Waite and Oxleys Developments of Ulverston and Souplex of Morecambe, were to receive basic first-year training, said Mr Capper.

Mr Capper thanked the apprentice training team Robin Lancaster, Dave Penny and Dave Spencer.

Awards included: Frank Greaves Award for best apprentice, Brian Garth (fitter): Gordon Jones Award for best first year apprentice, Ian Rigg (toolmaker).

Harry Petty Progress Award, Martin Akred.

Workers at Ashley and Rock at Ulverston pelted company directors after they were placed in the stocks in 1990.

And when they had finished, an appeal for Rumanian orphans had reason to smile.

A five-man team from the electrical accessory firm had entered Team Challenge 90, which aimed to raise cash for a recently established training trust.

Keith Jones, Steve Harrison, Stuart Patten, Paddy Hannigan and Mike Person had set a target of £3,000 to be raised during a week in December.

The cash would go towards training managers and care staff in Rumania.

The week's activities included raffles, music, a dance and giving workers the opportunity to throw water, eggs and rotting vegetables at directors.