Countess of Wessex marks double milestone
Her Royal Highness opens new JCB Cab Systems plant and receives cheque for NSPCC
THE Countess of Wessex, patron of the NSPCC, was warmly welcomed to JCB today for a double engagement – to officially open a new £100 million factory and to receive a £300,000 cheque for the children’s charity.
Her Royal Highness visited JCB Cab Systems, in Uttoxeter, and during a tour was given an insight into the hi-tech manufacturing plant complete with its computer-controlled production line and rainwater harvesting and heat capture systems. The Countess later received a cheque for £300,000 for the NSPCC after a successful employee fundraising campaign.
JCB chairman Anthony Bamford and his wife Carole welcomed Her Royal Highness to the plant and during the visit The Countess unveiled a plaque on the shop floor to the applause of hundreds of employees who had gathered to watch the occasion.
Lord Bamford said: ‘Britain, and Staffordshire, is a great place to manufacture and investing in Britain is something we will continue to do. Investing in this plant has, quite literally, transformed our cab production business, bringing new levels of efficiency to our operations.’
The Countess of Wessex met employees on the shop floor including Ben Emery, who joined JCB in 2006 as a mechanical engineering apprentice. He now works as a manufacturing engineering manager at the factory and led the team that bought all the key equipment for the new plant. He gave Her Royal Highness an insight into the manufacturing processes at the site.
Mr Emery said: ‘It was fantastic to meet The Countess of Wessex and the whole team is very proud to have been able to show off our hi-tech workplace to a member of the royal family. She was very interested in everything we have done to make this a world-class, efficient manufacturing facility which competes with the best in the world.’
Following the official opening, The Countess attended a celebration to mark the culmination of JCB’s latest appeal for the NSPCC children’s charity, which the Bamford Charitable Trust has supported for almost 40 years.
Her Royal Highness met more than 50 employees from all over JCB who have played key roles in the JCB NSPCC Platinum Jubilee Appeal, which was launched in 2021 with a target of £70,000. Employees smashed through the goal raising £150,000, but The Countess was presented with a cheque for £300,000 by Lady Bamford after The Bamford Charitable Trust doubled the amount raised.