HRH The Princess Royal presents The King's Award winner trophy at Focus SB

Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal visited British luxury electrical accessories manufacturer Focus SB on Wednesday 22nd November 2023 where she formally presented the managing director Gary Stevens with The King’s Award for Enterprise crystal winner trophy for the company’s achievement in the international trade category.

The Princess Royal arrived at Focus SB’s main factory in St Leonards on Sea on 22nd November and was welcomed by Mr Graham Peters, Vice Lord-Lieutenant of East Sussex who presented her to distinguished guests Mr Richard Bickersteth, High Sheriff of East Sussex; Councillor Peter Pragnell, Chairman of East Sussex County Council and Councillor Margi O’Callaghan, Mayor of Hastings before Mr Gary Stevens MD welcomed Her Royal Highness and invited her into the building where he presented The Princess Royal to some of Focus SB’s senior management team: Mr Roger Kemp, recently retired company chairman and owner; guest Mrs Suzi Baker, PR and social media consultant; Mr Mark Curtis, technical manager; Mr Duncan Ray, head of strategic partnerships; guest Mrs Andrea Randall-Smith, CEO of Little Gate Supported Employment and Mr Chris Turner, general manager Focus SB.

The Princess Royal was then invited on a tour of the factory by Mr Chris Turner, flanked by Mr Gary Stevens, during which she was given electrical accessories product manufacturing process demonstrations by each departmental group, introduced by Mrs Jo Cloute, HR and customer aftercare manager; Mrs Val Chandler, assembly manager; Mr Andrew Lanworn, finance manager and company secretary; Mr Steve Moss, sales and marketing Manager; Mr Rob Little, operations support manager and Mrs Terri Hoey, sales office manager. Demonstrations included both traditional and robot technology, hand finishing including spray painting and component hand assembly. Her Royal Highness greeted employees from each department, including apprentices and trainees from Little Gate Supported Employment, after which she proceeded to one end of the factory where all staff were assembled for a formal presentation of the King’s Award for Enterprise trophy to Mr Gary Stevens introduced by Mr Andrew Blackman, Lord-Lieutenant of East Sussex.

The Lord-Lieutenant welcomed the attending guests and invited The Princess Royal to give a short speech of congratulations and present The King’s Award for Enterprise engraved crystal winner trophy to Mr Gary Stevens, who accepted the award on behalf of Focus SB, giving a short speech of thanks. He then invited Mrs Terri Hoey, sales office manager, to present Her Royal Highness with gifts comprising a Sussex Trug containing a beautiful floral arrangement of locally grown flowers from Sussex Cutting Garden, part of the Flowers from the Farm organisation which champions British flowers (growers in the group supplied cut flowers to the florist chosen for The King’s coronation) presented with honey from a beehive sponsored by Focus SB at SW Honey Farms and a wreath of flowers grown and handmade by the trainees at Little Gate Farm. Sussex Cutting Garden also provided an attractive floral arrangement to decorate the company’s reception area for the occasion.

Gary Stevens then invited The Princess Royal back to Focus SB’s reception to unveil a commemorative plaque manufactured in-house by the company to mark her visit. Design industry guests joining Focus SB to share in this prestigious moment for the company included Mr Grant Pierrus, Interior Style Hunter and Mrs Sophie Harper, Editor Hospitality Interiors magazine who delighted in joining Mr Stevens and Focus SB employees in celebrating this very special occasion.

Mr Stevens commented: “It was an absolute honour to host HRH The Princess Royal at our factory in Hastings yesterday and to receive our King’s Award from her. I think she spoke to virtually every member of staff and was very knowledgeable. What a year for Focus SB and me personally, getting to meet The King, a Princess and a Duchess!

Gary Stevens continues: “We were delighted to welcome HRH The Princess Royal to Focus SB to present us with our King’s Awards for Enterprise for International Trade trophy in person. This visit rounds off one of the most exciting years in the company’s history.

“It’s a huge honour for an SME based in Hastings to have the recognition of The King’s Awards, one of the most prestigious awards a company can be bestowed, but in addition to that, meeting The King at Buckingham Palace and then to have a visit from The Princess Royal is a huge boost and reward for every single employee at Focus SB, without whom, none of this would have been possible. I have been in manufacturing of electrical products all of my career and I started off as a 16-year-old technical apprentice and have worked my way through various businesses from technical to marketing, sales and general management and I have been an MD of two manufacturing companies, including currently with Focus SB."

Mr Stevens concludes: "I am passionate about manufacturing and introducing more young people into manufacturing and encouraging them to take up apprenticeships, I would like to think that we are doing our bit here at Focus SB by working with local educational establishments, employment agencies and local charities to fulfil that goal, and that my own journey can act as a beacon for those young people who may be thinking about a career in manufacturing and what can be achieved. After all, manufacturing accounts for 2.6 million jobs in the UK and we are the 8th largest manufacturing country in the world!”

Find out more about Focus SB on their member profile page here

Member-created content 7 months ago | From members

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