Leading employer Grundfos celebrates 50 years in Sunderland

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One of Sunderland’s largest employers is celebrating half a century in the city. Pump manufacturer Grundfos first opened a plant in Washington in 1973.

It moved to its current Castletown site in 1980 and now employs around 170 people. It played a key role in supplying Nightingale hospitals with water pumps during the pandemic.

The Danish company, is the world’s leading pump manufacturer employing more than 19,000 people globally. Its logo is an Archimedes screw.

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To celebrate the anniversary, the company hosted a fun day, attended by 500 employees and their families. The free celebrations included games, live music, food and drink.

Grundfos' fun day celebrated the firm's half-century on Wearside.Grundfos' fun day celebrated the firm's half-century on Wearside.
Grundfos' fun day celebrated the firm's half-century on Wearside.

Plant director John Austin said: “We had a great day, a special way to celebrate a milestone in the company’s history in Sunderland.

“We’re a company who firmly believes in looking after our workforce and marking and celebrating achievements with them whenever we can.

“Over the past five decades we’ve created hundreds of good, well-paid jobs in the city and we’ve expanded our footprint at Castletown to adapt to the changing nature of the work we do here. We have three members of staff who’ve been with Grundfos for more than 40 years.”

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Those three are Christine Grieves, Ann Maw and Paul Freeman, who all joined in 1980.

Working for Grundfos since 1980 are, from left: Ann Maw, Christine Grieves and Paul Freeman.Working for Grundfos since 1980 are, from left: Ann Maw, Christine Grieves and Paul Freeman.
Working for Grundfos since 1980 are, from left: Ann Maw, Christine Grieves and Paul Freeman.

Christine, a general operator, said: “There’s always a laugh. I remember cars getting stuck in snow drifts and some of the ladies getting carried into work by fireman’s lifts.

“I also remember the old general manager Niels used to sit at the top of the line and check the quality of people’s work, like he was checking our homework.”

Ann Maw, another general operator, escorted her mam to her interview, but also ended up being interviewed for a job. Ann got the job – her mam didn’t.

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Grundfos' fun day celebrated the firm's half-century on Wearside.Grundfos' fun day celebrated the firm's half-century on Wearside.
Grundfos' fun day celebrated the firm's half-century on Wearside.

Paul started as an apprentice toolmaker and is now a quality supervisor. For his first day he had worked out the various bus links from home. Unfortunately, one of his buses bus didn’t turn up and he was 90 minutes late. He was so flustered, that he asked for Mr Grundfos at reception.

Paul said: “Forty-three years later I can laugh about it, but I was panicking at the time. It’s a family orientated company, with good benefits and one that looks after you.”