World-leading East Lancashire engineering firm welcomes Royal visitor

A world-leading engineering firm in Simonstone has been given the Royal seal of approval.

HRH Duke of Kent during his visit at Fort Vale in Simonstone.
HRH Duke of Kent during his visit at Fort Vale in Simonstone.

HRH The Duke of Kent visited the multi-million pound home of Fort Vale Engineering as part of a whistle-stop tour around East Lancashire.

The Duke was shown around the new £1.5m research and development centre at the company’s headquarters.

His Royal Highness was joined by Edward Fort OBE, who founded the firm in Colne in 1967, and current managing director Ian Wilson.

HRH Duke of Kent during his visit at Fort Vale in Simonstone.

Advertisement

Hide Ad

The Duke was given an insight into the workings of the firm which manufactures precision valves and equipment used in the bulk transportation of liquids, gases and hazardous cargoes.

He inspected high-tech machinery at the Simonstone Lane site and spoke to the engineers that operate them.

The Duke then unveiled a plaque in the research and development centre in front of staff, apprentices and dignitaries including the High Sheriff of Lancashire and The Mayor of the Ribble Valley.

Managing director Ian Wilson said: “We were honoured to welcome the Duke of Kent to continue what is another exciting and excellent year for us all here at Fort Vale.

Advertisement

Hide Ad

“The opening of the research and development centre underlines our commitment to investment in training and innovation.”

The visit followed Fort Vale’s receipt of its fourth Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade earlier this year.

Andy Bryce, director of innovation at Fort Vale, believed it was a proud day to welcome the Royal visitor to the long running firm which began in 1967.

He said: “I think he was very impressed. He has looked at everything and looked at our manufacturing facilities.

Advertisement

Hide Ad

“He has looked at our processes and looked at the people and he seems quite pleased to see there is a British manufacturing story.”

Fort Vale employs more than 350 people at its Simonstone base and has an annual turnover of around £45m.

The firm exports 95% of its products worldwide and has bases in Nelson, USA, China, Russia, Singapore and Netherlands.