FORMER Prime Minister’s wife Cherie Blair will keep a date with old friends on Wearside tomorrow.
Mrs Blair will perform the opening honours of furniture firm Herrington Gate’s new factory at Rainton Bridge.
One of the company’s longest-standing supporters and clients, Mrs Blair said: “I’m really looking forward to opening the HG building.
“Herrington Gate is a great British success story with great British craftsmanship. Quite simply, they make beautiful furniture.
“And as someone with strong links to the North East, I’m especially pleased that the expansion of the company will mean more jobs for local people.”
She added: “The new facility is spectacular, and stands as a fine reflection of what Herrington Gate has to offer its clients. There’ll be lots to see and do at the launch and it’ll be a great day for everyone involved.”
Herrington Gate Furniture, which employs 18 craftsmen and designers, has been manufacturing bespoke furniture for nearly 17 years. The move to its new 22,000 sqft manufacturing facility signals its continued growth.
Owner Michael Stephenson, who founded the company from his home 17 years ago, said: “I am thrilled to be able to welcome Cherie Blair to open our new production base.
“She has been an important client of ours for a number of years and we are honoured that she will be performing the official opening for us.
“The need to move to a larger manufacturing facility increased as we needed new machinery.
“We also thought the timing was suitable to move all of our staff into the same building together, and by doing this we can work more closely to manufacture and develop prototypes easier.”
Mr Stephenson added: “We struggled to find a factory facility to meet our exacting needs and standards so we took our own design advice and used our skills to do what we do best – to design and build our own bespoke manufacturing facility.
“This move is just the beginning of Herrington Gate’s expansion. We already have commissions in Spain and France, and are planning to open a London showroom in the next 12 to 18 months as we feel have a lot to offer on a national stage.”