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JCB’s birthday celebrations crowned by royal visit

JCB celebrated its 61st birthday in style today by being presented with a Queen’s Award by HRH The Duke of Kent.

The Duke presented JCB Earthmovers with a Queen’s Award in the International Trade category – an acknowledgement of the substantial growth in overseas sales in new and existing markets.

The Award was received by JCB Managing Director and CEO John Patterson who acknowledged that it was “extra special” because it was the first to be given to JCB Earthmovers in Cheadle.

And in a speech during the ceremony, HRH The Duke of Kent, said: “Your company has a unique record in this country in that you’ve won 18 Queen’s Awards for Enterprise, which is something nobody else has done.

“But in the case of you at this particular site, the Award being given today is your first and I do congratulate everybody because, as you are well aware, this is not something that comes round very easily. It is only achieved by a great deal of hard work and basically it is only given to companies that take on the best in the world and beat them and this is what you have been able to do. It is an Award for every single person who works here.”

John Patterson said: “This Award is a tribute to all our employees for the part they play in the success of these world-class products.

“Today’s presentation is also a double celebration for JCB because it’s our 61st birthday. In those 61 years, we have made great progress and today JCB is a global company with 17 factories in Britain, Germany, the USA, Brazil, India and China. We’re now also the 4th largest construction equipment company in the world.”

He also revealed that 2006 would be the most successful in JCB’s history as the company would manufacture in excess of 50,000 machines – breaking last year’s record of 45,000 units.

Mr Patterson also thanked Staffordshire Moorlands District Council and Cheadle Town Council for their support as JCB’s business in the town has expanded over the past 11 years.

“JCB Earthmovers is one of three factories in this town which now collectively employ more than 1,000 people. It’s by working in partnership with the local authorities – and through their forward-thinking approach – that we’ve been able to create so many jobs and produce such a positive impact on the local economy.”

During the visit The Duke also got a chance to see the JCB DIESELMAX streamliner and meet its driver, Wing Commander Andy Green, who was at the factory with the car just weeks after setting a new diesel land speed record by reaching 350.092mph at the world-famous Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, USA.

The Duke also met employees and among them was Anson Edge, 46, of Longton, Stoke-on-Trent, and his sons Scott, 20, and Dean 24, both of Longton and who all work in the paint shop team at JCB Earthmovers.

The Duke also attended a celebration lunch and among those invited were long-serving JCB employees including Health, Safety and Environmental Officer Ken Fountain, of Uttoxeter; Senior Manufacturing Engineer Chris Goodall, of Lower Tean, near Cheadle, and Secretary Christine Bennett, of Marchington, near Uttoxeter. They joined the company in 1968, 1969 and 1972 respectively.

JCB Earthmovers manufactures a range of 28 wheeled loading shovels and three articulated dump trucks. Exports of the products increased by 76 per cent between 2003 and 2005, with North America being the biggest single market.

The JCB Group has received a total of 18 Queen’s Awards – the first being in 1969 when the company received a Queen’s Award to Industry for Export Achievement.

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