Hitachi Rail Europe
Mantis Media

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'King Dick' podgers mark Hitachi steel ceremony

A set of commemorative ‘King Dick’ spanners were dished out during a ceremony to celebrate a key milestone in Hitachi Rail Europe’s monster train-building factory in County Durham.

Hitachi hosted the special event at its huge 43,000 square metre site on Aycliffe Business Park in Newton Aycliffe to mark another important phase for the £82m development.

Local family firm Finley Structures is in the process of erecting a 2,000-tonne skeleton for main contractor Shepherd Construction on behalf of the Japanese giants.

With Finley’s steel project about a third of the way through, the firm’s managing director John Finley watched on, a very proud man, as his daughter Julie addressed guests with a touching speech, before her daughter, seven-year-old Grace, presented commemorative podgers - specialist spanners used in the construction industry - to mark the occasion.

Grace presented the podgers on behalf of developers Merchant Place Developments to MP Phil Wilson, Hitachi Rail Europe’s managing director Keith Jordan, Shepherd Construction’s regional managing director Andrew Constantine and her Mum, Julie Finley.

“This represents a lot of hard work from John and Valerie, my Mam and Dad,” said Julie Finley.

“John’s ambition was to build a company that would create sustainable employment, while delivering top quality products and service.

“The company has grown immeasurably over the years, slowly increasing the workforce, picking up bigger, high-profile contracts and increasing turnover year-on-year.

“To us, this project is more than just a contract. It’s an historic one.

“It will bring train-building back to the birthplace of the railways. It will bring hundreds of jobs to the area and then thousands more in the supply chain.

“It will help to create prosperity and, for Aycliffe Business Park, it will raise the profile.”

Mr Jordan said: “To have a local company that has been here for a long time, three generations, and to see the young daughter make those presentations was very good - and we hope she’ll become one of our first apprentices!

“Finley Structures being local, within a mile of this facility, it couldn’t be better than that.

“I think people can see for the first time the size of the facility that we’re building here and the investment we’re putting into the local area.

“What you can see now is only one elevation of the factory - it’s the smaller dimension of the factory itself, so you can appreciate that 730 jobs will disappear in a factory of that size!”

Mr Wilson added: “Once the factory is built it’ll be an iconic manufacturing facility - not just for the UK, but for the whole of Europe.

“John Finley has done a great job to build the company up to what it is today. He employs about 100 people and jobs have been secured because of this contract.

“It establishes Finley Structures as one of the main construction companies in the North-East.

“It’s another reason why Newton Aycliffe is being put on the map by this construction.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Mantis Media .

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