Award winners met with Royal approval

ENTERPRISE: Catcote teacher Alison Brown has won the Queens award for enterprise. (Pictured with head teacher Alan Chapman)
ENTERPRISE: Catcote teacher Alison Brown has won the Queens award for enterprise. (Pictured with head teacher Alan Chapman)

THE cream of Hartlepool and east Durham’s enterprise sector have received the ultimate in accolades.

Hartlepool teacher Alison Brown was announced as a Queen’s Award winner for enterprise promotion at an evening reception held at Buckingham Palace yesterday.

Alison is the head of technology and director of specialism at Catcote School Business and Enterprise College, in Hartlepool.

She got the chance to meet the Queen and other members of the Royal Family in recognition of her work at the school which caters for students between 11 and 25 with learning difficulties or disabilities.

She has taught at Catcote for the past 14 years and has promoted enterprise at the college where she has taken it from having no enterprise or vocational education to win recognition locally, regionally and nationally as a centre of excellence in enterprise education.

She said: “It is with pride that I accept this honour and Royal recognition for myself and the rest of Catcote School Business and Enterprise College. I would like to thank them for their support and inspiration.”

Headteacher Alan Chapman added: “Winning the award is true recognition of the work that Alison does in promoting enterprise education for children and young people with learning disabilities.”

Castle Eden-based firm Bonds Ltd received the Queen’s Award for international trade after increasing their overseas earning by five-fold during the last three years.

Ahead of the Palace reception, group directors Jon Blackett and Andrew Shaw said they were delighted at receiving the honour and encouraged other North-East firms to apply for the 2012 awards, which come at the time of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and also the Olympics.

They said: “We are proud to have this prestigious Royal recognition of our progress. Much of what Bonds produces is directly exported and most the remainder goes overseas indirectly.

“We have proved it is still possible, with an international orientation, to be successful in home-grown manufacturing in the north.”

The firm was established in 1998, and has two associated companies, Bonds Foundry Ltd which specialises in castings for stone crushing equipment, valve and pump casings and parts for ships; and Bonds Precision Castings Ltd which produces high specification, small steel castings.

Business Secretary Vince Cable praised Alison Brown and said it was wonderful that inspirational people such as her continued “to find enterprising ways of working and helping others to establish their businesses”.

The application and nomination period for the Queen’s Awards for enterprise 2012 is now open and closes on October 31. Entry is free and forms can be completed and submitted online at