THE DUKE of Kent unveiled a commemorative plaque as one of the region’s largest employers marked four decades of work.
He visited the headquarters of Apollo Fire Detectors in Havant today as the firm celebrated 40 years of manufacturing.
The duke was given a tour around the the company’s Brookside Road facilities, before unveiling a commemorative plaque marking the milestone and his visit.
Addressing crowds of employees and dignitaries at the ceremony, managing director of Apollo, Charles Lombard, said: ‘In the past 40 years we have grown beyond all recognition.
‘Today we have world-class manufacturing, research and development facilities as well as offices in Germany, China, the United States, India and Dubai.
‘Over the years, our achievements have resulted in many awards, including the Queen’s Award for Exports and our highly-prized royal warrant.
‘It gives me great pleasure to ask His Royal Highness to complete this ceremony with the unveiling of a commemorative plaque.’
Since Apollo began manufacturing in 1977, it has created a range of industry-leading fire products – exporting to more than 100 countries.
It is estimated the firm produces a detector every five seconds at its Havant headquarters.
As part of his visit to Apollo, the duke met assembly workers and experienced a staged fire test – illustrating the responsiveness of Apollo’s products.
Revealing the plaque celebrating his visit, he said: ‘It is such a pleasure coming here and seeing this highly successful company.
‘I congratulate everyone who works for Apollo and I wish you even greater success in the future.’
Having been awarded a royal warrant, Apollo supplies fire detection equipment to the households of the royal family.
It also has fire detection in place at the Kremlin – the seat of the Russian government and the official residence of president Vladimir Putin.
Apollo sales and marketing director Ed Browning said: ‘It’s obviously a great privilege to welcome a royal visit like this and it is great for people to see somebody like the Duke of Kent come to the company and mark 40 years.’
Speaking about the importance of the firm’s royal warrant, Mr Browning said: ‘It’s an incredibly important mark of quality for the products we produce.
‘Not only is it highly regarded in the United Kingdom, but also in many of the other territories in which we work – including the Middle East.’