Leeds firm’s comeback from major fire marked with royal visit

Princess Anne during her visit to Airedale International in Rawdon.
Princess Anne during her visit to Airedale International in Rawdon.
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The recovery of a major Leeds firm that saw its premises go up in smoke has been given the royal seal of approval three years on.

Princess Anne called in on hi-tech air conditioning firm, Airedale International, during a tour of West Yorkshire today to perform the official opening of its new premises in Rawdon.

The fire that destroyed the premises of Airedale International in September 2013.

The fire that destroyed the premises of Airedale International in September 2013.

It took two years for the company - which specialises in top of the range air conditioning products for highly sensitive environments such as art galleries and data centres - to reconstruct its vast headquarters which comprises of an area the size of three football pitches.

Yesterday’s visit from the Princess Royal saw her unveil a plaque at the new premises.

Clive Parkman, Airedale’s managing director, said: “We are delighted she has been able to come. We now have a world class facility that is something the whole of the UK can be proud of.”

The Princess Royal also returned to an organisation she helped to launch 20 years ago, joining in the anniversary celebrations of Leeds Carers Centre at Leeds Civic Hall.

Princess Anne's visit to the midwife-led birth centre and the consultant-led labour ward at Bradford Royal Infirmary.

Princess Anne's visit to the midwife-led birth centre and the consultant-led labour ward at Bradford Royal Infirmary.

The Centre works with partners to provide a service for the city’s 72,000-plus unpaid carers and its chief executive, Val Hewison, said: “Carers, volunteers, councillors - she spoke to every single person and she was really pleased with what’s happening in Leeds.”

The Princess visited the £1.2m birth centre, and the labour ward, at Bradford Royal Infirmary to hear about its work in her role as patron of the Royal College of Midwives, and she called in on the West Yorkshire County Scouts Watersports Centre near Ripponden as patron of RYA Sailability, a charity which provides sailing opportunities for people with disabilities.