A charity that employs scores of disabled, blind and visually impaired people was given the royal seal of approval yesterday.
Bed manufacturing firm Glencraft, which has operated in Aberdeen for more than 100 years, moved to a new premises on Whitemyres Avenue last summer.
Yesterday, the Princess Royal officially opened the new base after being given a personal tour.
She also met with a number of Glencraft’s 45 staff members – 80% of whom are disabled or disadvantaged – and heard how the social enterprise constructs and supplies beds, springs, mattresses and frames to dozens of hotels, offshore companies and individuals across the country.
Colin Middler, a mattress maker who has been blind in both eyes since he was very young, was among those to meet Her Royal Highness.
The 50-year-old said: “I’ve been at Glencraft for 33 years. At that time, you had to wait until somebody retired or moved on to get an opening, so I was quite lucky to get my job at that age.
“Glencraft’s given me a lot. I met my wife Helen here, who’s in charge of the showroom, 26 years ago, she’s visually impaired as well.
“It’s a great honour for Glencraft for the princess to come here today.”
“We’ve been closely connected to the royal family for generations, back in 1993 the queen came for our 150th anniversary, and Princess Anne had previously come here to open up our 1998 to open up our extension at our old premises on Wellington Road, so we’ve had quite a few royal visits over the years.”
Princess Anne herself is more than likely to have slept on a Glencraft mattress herself, as the business counts Balmoral Castle as one of its customers.
Duncan Skinner, chairman of Glencraft, said: “We have been working incredibly hard since moving here in the summer of 2015, and this is a great way to celebrate the dedication and effort each of our team has put into the business.”
In the afternoon, Princess Anne was greeted by hundreds of youngsters at Robert Gordon’s College as she officially opened the Wood Foundation for Science and Technology and the Craig Centre for Performing Arts.