Business rallies to support MPM after fire

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A fibreglass mouldings firm that was recently gutted by a fire has been overwhelmed by support from Yorkshire’s business community and its staff.

Pudsey-based Moulds Patterns and Models (MPM) went up in flames on February 6 with firefighters also having to evacuate nearby homes.

Ben Wilson, the MD at Pudsey-based manufacturer MPM which was gutted by a huge blaze earlier in February. However, MPM hopes to be back on its feet and up to full capacity in the next couple of months.  Picture Tony Johnson.

Ben Wilson, the MD at Pudsey-based manufacturer MPM which was gutted by a huge blaze earlier in February. However, MPM hopes to be back on its feet and up to full capacity in the next couple of months. Picture Tony Johnson.

The damage has brought production at the 40-year-old family business to a standstill as it lost everything including its moulds.

Ben Wilson, managing director of MPM, told The Yorkshire Post: “We lost full capacity to produce any products. We’ve had people working on three different sites for the last two weeks.

“We’re trying to get products back from customers so that we can use them as patterns to make brand new moulds.”

However, the incident has seen the business community and staff at the firm rally around MPM over the past two weeks.

A picture of the fire that engulfed MPM and led to nearby homes being evacuated. Photo: Rik Ansbergs

A picture of the fire that engulfed MPM and led to nearby homes being evacuated. Photo: Rik Ansbergs

The landlord has offered to put the company up in another building. “He just wants to help another business get back on its feet and get going,” Mr Wilson said.

In the interim, MPM’s suppliers, customers and neighbouring companies have offered to help out.

Mr Wilson said: “Two of our customers have effectively tried to set some space up for us so that we can get back up and running on their products and also do some work to assist other customers.

“One of our suppliers, we’ve had three people on site there doing some pattern work.”

Ben Wilson, at the burntout MPM site in Pudsey, with Victoria Hopkins, MD at Hopkins Catering which has stepped in to help MPM.  Picture: Tony Johnson.

Ben Wilson, at the burntout MPM site in Pudsey, with Victoria Hopkins, MD at Hopkins Catering which has stepped in to help MPM. Picture: Tony Johnson.

The offers of help began to arrive the morning after the fire from the likes of Richard Wilkinson in Keighley and Hopkins Catering in Pudsey.

“The morning after the fire I saw Victoria Hopkins and she just said whatever you need to get the business going again just let me know,” Mr Wilson said. “I’ve cleared a meeting room and that’s your hub for as long as you need it.”

MPM has had a lot off offers for storage space but having lost everything in the fire it doesn’t have anything to store.

The business has been buoyed by words of encouragement and hopes customers keep faith with MPM during these testing times.

Mr Wilson said: “In one sense just the words of encouragement and support have been good for the team to see.

“From a customer point of view it’s just keeping the faith with MPM, being patient and just allowing us to get back on our feet.

“We’re doing all we can. Our number one focus as a team is ensuring that we’ve got happy customers and we’re hitting deadlines for them because we’re a vital part of their supply chain.

“Our main focus right now is to get back up to speed and ensure that we keep our customers running.”

MPM hopes to be back in production in the next two weeks and is aiming to be fully operational again three months on from the fire. It employs 35 people and Mr Wilson hopes that none of the jobs will be impacted as the business was insured and had been doing record numbers before the fire hit.

“We had a full order book so we’re going to need all hands on the deck when we are back in full production because we’re effectively going to be a month behind on the order book,” Mr Wilson said.

A company that cares

The reason people have rallied around MPM is because of the company’s ethos, Ben Wilson believes.

He said: “At MPM we just want to do a good job for the customers and we’re just genuine people.

“We care a lot about the people within the business. I never want the manufacturing just to be all about KPIs (key performance indicators), numbers and money.

“If we do a good job for our customers, money and success for MPM is a byproduct of that. The customer base and the people around us realise how much we care about what we do.”

A late-night phone call that signalled a tough time for the Wilsons

The family behind Moulds Patterns and Models (MPM) has endured a difficult few weeks.

The night that MPM was engulfed in flames, Ben Wilson’s brother Syd Wilson had just undergone a major operation and their mother and father were at his bedside.

Managing director Ben Wilson had just gone to bed at his home in Sutton-in-Craven on the night of February 6 when he got a phone call telling him of the fire.

Mr Wilson said: “I live 19 miles away so I drove over with my brother Dylan Wilson. We arrived at the site at about quarter to midnight. We walked up to the building but by that time we knew it was gone.”

He added: “It was soul destroying. I didn’t know quite how I was going to ring my parents and let them know.

“My brother had just had a five-hour operation on the same day so my mum and dad had been at his bedside in hospital.

“My mum lasted about 30 seconds before she burst into tears when I rang with the news.”

Mr Wilson says it’s a worry for the parents as he, his brother and his wife are involved in the running of the business, along with some long-serving staff who have been with MPM since his dad Brian Wilson ran it. “The worry for them as parents is we’ve got our families supported by MPM and the many families of the team that is employed in it,” he said.

Ben Wilson grew up around the family business and would come into work during the school holidays.

From the age of 10, he harboured hopes of becoming managing director. He joined the business, which manufactures fibreglass mouldings for everything from bath panels to water tanks, in 1993.