Countess of Westex

WOOL YOU BELIEVE IT?: Sophie has a natter with workers at the Westex factory.
WOOL YOU BELIEVE IT?: Sophie has a natter with workers at the Westex factory.

CLECKHEATON got the royal treatment this week, as Sophie, Countess of Wessex, paid a visit to a local factory.

The royal, wife of Prince Edward who is fourth in line to the throne, visited the premises of Westex Carpets in Moorend as part of a tour of Bradford supporting British wool.

The company has been a Cleckheaton mainstay for 30 years, and senior manager Darren Peach said it was an honour to invite such a prestigious member of the Royal Family to the factory.

He said: “We normally like to keep a low profile in the media, but it’s always quite an occasion when a royal comes to visit.”

The factory, which employs around 200 staff, was visited by the Countess on Tuesday afternoon as the last leg of her tour around West Yorkshire, which also took in the new offices of the British Wool Marketing Board in Bradford.

John Shirt, joint managing director of Westex Carpets and also a Gomersal resident, paid tribute to the Countess and said that the visit would bring a big boost for Cleckheaton.

He said: “She was a charming individual who was very down to earth and showed a genuine interest in what we do at Westex Carpets.”

“She spent quite a long time speaking to the employees working on the factory floor about what they were doing, rather than just being quickly shown around the equipment.

“It was an enjoyable occasion for everyone – both for her and employees at Westex. We were so pleased that she took the time to talk to people and showed such an interest in what we do here.”

The Royal Family are strong advocates for the use of British wool, and Prince Charles set up the Campaign for British Wool in 2008 to help promote and support wool manufacturers in Britain. For more information, visit