The Countess visited JCB Cab Systems, Uttoxeter, and during a tour, Her Royal Highness was given an insight into the hi-tech manufacturing plant complete with its computer-controlled production line and rainwater harvesting and heat capture systems. Her Royal Highness 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 The Countess to the plant and during the visit Her Royal Highness 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.
Ben, 32, of Burton-on-Trent, 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 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.
The Countess was presented with a cheque for £300,000 by Lady Bamford - after The Bamford Charitable Trust doubled the amount raised by employees. As she handed over the cheque Lady Bamford paid tribute to everyone involved in the Appeal.