Back in April 2020, Ruth Lee Ltd were named as a winner of the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the category for International Trade. Due to the pandemic, celebrations were put on hold until this year and on Wednesday the 10th of November Ruth Lee Ltd.’s Managing Director, Paul McDonnell, was invited to attend a special reception at Windsor Castle to celebrate this outstanding achievement.
Below you can read his account of the evening…
“The Queen’s Award for Enterprise is the most prestigious honour a UK business can win. I was therefore very proud to represent our company last week at an official reception marking the event at Windsor Castle. Walking through the gates on a slightly misty night, the sheer size and magnificence of this historic royal residence, brightly illuminated, was quite a thrill.
Inside the Castle, we were led up a grand staircase, carpeted in racing green with golden stair rods. Huge tapestries and paintings of former Kings and Queens looked down on the procession of around 250 admiring guests. As we moved through into a long, grand, hall (St George’s) with huge, gothic style ceilings studded with coats of arms, the sense of history was immense. Around the walls of this magnificent room, armoured knights, standing to attention and seemingly ready for battle were reminiscent of mediaeval times. Yet more paintings of Royal figures and noblemen and women added to the surreal atmosphere.
The event, hosted by Prince Charles on behalf of the Queen, accompanied by 6 other members of the Royal Family, was a huge success... how could any visitor not be thrilled to be there? The Royals mingled amongst the guests chatting openly about their businesses and challenges and opportunities. Government officials, including the Secretary of State for business Kwasi Kwarteng, also engaged with guests, as did Sara Davies from the Dragon’s Den!
The highlight for me was chatting to Princess Anne about Ruth Lee. She was engaging and attentive and told me that she was aware of our product and what we do and congratulated us on our achievement. I also talked for some time with her Lady in Waiting and her Personal Protection Officer (the Bodyguard!), which was also fascinating. Later in the evening I had a brief exchange with one of the judges of the Awards, who told me that he clearly remembered our application (over 2 years ago!), which stood out!
Winning the Queen’s Award undoubtedly lifts the profile of our business. Potential customers and end users around the world must surely be impressed by our Royal recognition. It also lends credibility to our distributors and suppliers. For me personally being in such prestigious surroundings amongst the business elite in the UK, it was an honour to represent our company, and to be recognised for our collective efforts and achievements.”
Ruth Lee Ltd has been manufacturing training manikins from its base in beautiful North Wales for more than a quarter of a century. From humble beginnings, the business now provides a range of training products to teams all around the world through a network of over 40 distributors and to more than 50 countries.
We began by making training manikins for the UK Fire Service and whilst this sector remains a very important part of our business, we now develop manikins for all kinds of training. From lifeguard certification and flood rescue training to emergency evacuation planning and patient handling.