High Sheriff impressed by Dove Holes

Two High Peak businesses rolled out the red carpet to welcome royalty on Thursday, as the High Sheriff of Derbyshire paid them a visit.

The sheriff, Derek Mapp, took tours of two factories in Dove Holes to learn about two of the largest employers in the village and how they became leaders in their fields.

The High Sheriff of Derbyshire Derek Mapp and his wife Karen being shown around Leander Architectural Ltd by Alex Worth

The High Sheriff of Derbyshire Derek Mapp and his wife Karen being shown around Leander Architectural Ltd by Alex Worth

Firstly, the party of dignitaries, were taken to fake grass suppliers Nomow, who were contracted out to provide thousands of square metres of their plastic turf for landscaping the Olympic village last year.

Michael Tittershill, owner, and Chris Suter, director, showed councillors the warehouse and explained how the Hallsteads Business Park firm started.

Michael, who was originally involved in the production of sports pitches said: “It was back in 1999, a chap in Israel requested a garden. I thought he was crazy. No other company was doing it.”

The manufacturer, who employ 37 at the Dove Holes site and 50 staff overall, was established in 2000, now produce artificial grass for gardens, schools, nurseries, safety surfaces and golf courses all over the world.

The High Sheriff complimented staff on their product, saying he thought is was “very sensible”, due to the cost of lawn mowers, adding that it was more attractive than the black rubber play areas.

Chapel-en-le-Frith resident Edmund Bradbury, who organised the visit, said: “The High Sheriff had expressed a wish to see different parts of the county and I thought it would be nice for him to see two of our leading firms.”

For the second tour, the sheriff and his wife, Karen, were given a tour of Leander Architectural, on Hallsteads Close, who make plaques, sculptures and memorials.

Alex Worth, sales estimator and hand modelling sculptor, described how the processes of how his team combined traditional skills such as sandblasting, casting and handcarving, with modern technology such as photo-etching and laser cutting.

He added that the metal workers had provided blue plaques to mark the Bee Gee Robin Gibb’s home in Oxfordshire and more locally, to commemorate late Dad’s Army actor Arthur Lowe’s birthplace in Hayfield.

Their signs have even travelled as far as the Antarctic to celebrate Walter Scott’s achievements.

Owned by Ted and Sue McEvoy, Leander’s largest pieces include huge monoliths in national parks while their tiniest include parts for machinery at sweet factory Swizzels Matlow in New Mills.

Following the visits, the High Sheriff, of Chesterfield, said: “It just shows what Dove Holes has to offer. One has great artistic craftsmanship and the other a really innovative product.

“I think we’ll get some of their grass, as it’s a 20 round mile trip to the tip when I mow the lawn. And you always come across Leander’s signs everywhere, so it’s nice to see how they’re made.”