Special celebrations entice Royal to Leeds

Princess Anne during her visit to Airedale International in Rawdon.
Princess Anne during her visit to Airedale International in Rawdon.
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The recovery of a major Leeds firm that saw its premises go up in smoke has been given the royal seal approval three years on.

Princess Anne called in on hi-tech air conditioning firm, Airedale International, during a tour of West Yorkshire to perform the official opening of its new premises in Rawdon

Princess Anne during his visit to Airedale International in Rawdon earlier today.

Princess Anne during his visit to Airedale International in Rawdon earlier today.

It took two years for the company - which specialises in top of the range air conditioning products for highly sensitive environments such as art galleries and data centres - to reconstruct its vast headquarters which comprises of an area the size of three football pitches.

Yesterday’s visit from the Princess Royal was the finishing touch and she met employees, toured the site and unveiled a plaque.

Clive Parkman, Airedale’s managing director, said: “It’s a privilege and an honour and we are delighted she has been able to come. It’s certainly a different feeling today to what it was three years ago. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, going through something like that, but now we have a world class facility in Leeds that is something the whole of the UK can be proud of and we want to build on this now.”

The Princess Royal also returned to an organisation she helped to launch 20 years ago, joining in with the anniversary celebrations of Leeds Carers Centre at Leeds Civic Hall, where she carried out the cake-cutting duties at an event attended by 120 people.

The fire that destroyed the premises of Airedale International in September 2013.

The fire that destroyed the premises of Airedale International in September 2013.

Leeds Carers Centre works with funders, GPs and partners to provide an easy to access service for the city’s 72,000-plus unpaid carers.

Val Hewison, chief executive of the Centre, which is based on The Headrow, said: “Today was a big success. Carers, volunteers, councillors - she spoke to every single person and she was really pleased with what’s happening in Leeds.”

Earlier, the Princess visited the birth centre and labour ward at Bradford Royal Infirmary and West Yorkshire County Scouts Watersports Centre near Ripponden.

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