Buy a brick appeal as seed firm moves with the times

Maurice Robson, Simon Minns and Christopher Atkin of James Mortimer Ltd with Tiffy Hopper of Yorkshire Cancer Research
Maurice Robson, Simon Minns and Christopher Atkin of James Mortimer Ltd with Tiffy Hopper of Yorkshire Cancer Research
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A grain and seed merchants which has been operating in East Yorkshire for 145 years is relocating to new premises to keep up with seasonal demand, and in doing so is raising thousands of pounds for charity.

Cancer robbed Jan Minns of her sister Cathy Clark two weeks before Cathy’s 50th birthday, while Cathy’s husband Peter also succumbed to the disease a decade ago.

In a fitting tribute to family, and regular farming customers who became friends before losing their lives to cancer, Mrs Minns and her husband Simon are ‘selling’ bricks for their new business premises in aid of Yorkshire Cancer Research.

Mr Minns, owner of James Mortimer Ltd, is overseeing a £1.5m relocation of the firm from its current base in the town to Kellythorpe Industrial Estate later this year and to raise funds for Cancer Research, he is ‘selling’ 200 bricks for £70 each to his customers.

Those who do so will donate a further £10 to have the brick engraved with a message of their choice. The bricks will later be displayed in the reception area of the new building.

If every brick is sold, the company will have raised £14,000 for the charity.

Mr Minns said: “This initiative was my wife Jan’s idea. We have sold 150 of the 200 bricks so far.

“We have lost a lot of customers through cancer and we have lots of special memories of them, as well as family members, from over the years and we saw this as a wonderful opportunity as we start a new chapter in our business to help people along the way.”

James Mortimer Ltd was established in the nearby village of Fimber in 1869 by the famous archaeologist J R Mortimer.

The firm’s new 2.25-acre site will comprise of offices, a seed production plant and a grain store, giving the business room to expand.

Mr Minns said: “This will take us to a different level. The relocation has come about because the building we have at the moment is no longer fit for purpose for the volume of seed we get. It’s left us behind and we needed to find a way to up our game to meet the seasonal demand.

“We have been looking for an alternative site for a period of years and Kellythrope Industrial Estate ticks all the boxes. It’s in a very central location and we wanted to stay in Driffield so it’s the place for us.”

The firm’s current site in Riverside is on the market. It employs a team of 12 full-time staff and additional seasonal workers are taken on at busy times to meet fluctuations in demand. Mr Minns expects the workforce will increase when the firm relocates.

At present, the business handles in excess of 200,000 tonnes of cereals, oilseeds, peas and beans which is marketed collectively from grain purchased by David H Cox of Knaresborough, North Yorkshire.

The company also sells a range of agricultural seeds and runs three bulk grain wagons.

The firm’s soon-to-be new location at Kellythorpe Industrial Estate was set up on the outskirts of Driffield in 1988 by local businessman Derek Megginson and it is home to a number of other businesses.