Family-run Seaham cheese exporter celebrates winning a prestigious Royal award

Prima Cheese in Seaham is set to celebrate winning the Queen’s Award for International Trade – a year of a half after the win was announced.

The family-run grated cheese processor and exporter, based at Seaham’s Industrial Park, was granted the award last year before the Covid-19 pandemic gripped the nation.

Now Prima Cheese are finally planning to celebrate winning the Queen’s Award for International Trade on Thursday, September 9, when the Lord Lieutenant of County Durham will present the award on behalf of Her Majesty.

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Prima Cheese is set to celebrate winning the Queen's Award for International Trade. Photo: Google Maps.

Plans for a formal presentation ceremony and staff celebration were put on hold until Prima Cheese could mark the occasion properly after employees worked throughout the pandemic.

Founded in 1997 by Behroz and Essmat Beni, Prima Cheese made its move into exporting in the early 2010s with help from the North East Chamber of Commerce.

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Now the Commercial Director, Nagma Ebanks-Beni MBE, daughter of the company’s founders, has revealed her pride in what they have achieved so far.

She said: “When we began discussing the big ‘what’s next?’ around Christmas time a few years ago, I always knew we were missing a trick by not exporting our products outside of our little UK bubble.

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"A few stressful but incredibly rewarding years later and with the invaluable help of The Chamber, I’m so incredibly proud of the company we have become, excited by the diverse and vibrant markets we’ve been welcomed into and overwhelmed by the incredible hard work and determination of my team, without whom none of this would have been possible.

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"This Queen’s Award is a huge honour for each and every member of the Prima family and a fantastic reflection of the hard work and determination of our founders and early supporters who took a chance on this untested plucky start up back in 1997.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Her Majesty and the awarding panel for recognising the work Prima does in this way and for the Lord Lieutenancy of County Durham for taking the time to formally present this award to the team.”

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