Prince Andrew pays a visit to Larne factory

Larne Deputy Mayor and Mayoress Michael and Mary Lynch meet HRH Prince Andrew. INLT 26-303-PR
Larne Deputy Mayor and Mayoress Michael and Mary Lynch meet HRH Prince Andrew. INLT 26-303-PR
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His Royal Highness the Duke of York visited Larne last Wednesday to officially unveil the new Engineering Centre of Excellence at FG Wilson.

The 1,700 square-metre facility, the centre-piece of a £26 million investment, incorporates the most advanced testing facilities in the industry. The state-of-the-art centre is designed to make the company more competitive and sustainable by reducing the time and cost of new product development and improving the performance and efficiency of generating sets.

Prince Andrew, the UK’s Special Representative for International Trade and Investment, was greeted by a host of dignitaries, including First Minister Peter Robinson, Lord-Lieutenant of County Antrim, Joan Christie OBE, and Larne’s Deputy Mayor Michael Lynch.

Beginning his the tour of the facility, Prince Andrew met Dr Mark Sweeney and heard about the growth of the company, which today manufactures products that are used to support key business sectors including the telecommunications, healthcare, tourism, retail and banking industries.

The Duke then spoke to members of staff employed in key areas of the operation, including product validation, technical development and services engineering.

Following this, he gave a short speech congratulating FG Wilson on the new investment.

The royal visitor added: “The innovation you can bring through this facility will make a huge difference around the world. I want to encourage you to continue doing what you are doing, as engineering will be one of the key areas that will help the UK re-emerge as a leading global manufacturer, and it is through facilities such as this that we can achieve that.”

To conclude his visit, the Duke accepted an invitation from Dr Sweeney to unveil a plaque commemorating the opening of the facility. He also accepted a gift of a book on the history of Caterpillar from Allison Murray, who has been with FG Wilson for over 17 years.

The Duke then signed the visitors’ book before leaving for his next engagement.

See this week’s paper for full story and pictures.