Tuesday, April 7, 2015

News: Apprentices play their part in ancient Royal ceremony

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Leading Sheffield cutlery and giftware manufacturer Chimo Holdings and the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing, have joined forces to ensure three chairs fit for a Queen have genuine Made in Sheffield authenticity.

The chairs were commissioned for the Queen and other Royal guests to use during the centuries old Maundy money ceremony, which took place at Sheffield Cathedral last week.

The ceremony involves the reigning Sovereign presenting specially minted coins to local pensioners and has taken place at a UK cathedral or abbey on the Thursday before Easter since it was instituted by Charles II in 1662.

The chairs were commissioned by Sheffield Cathedral and have been given by the Master and Mistress Cutler, David and Ruth Grey.

Following the Royal Maundy Service, they will be in regular use in services at the Cathedral.

The chairs are primarily made of wood, but the arm rests of each chair is supported by a ring of stainless steel, made by Chimo and bearing a Made in Sheffield mark.

However, when it came to chamfering the rings to ensure a perfect fit with the wooden arm supports, Chimo needed a larger lathe than was available at its city centre factory.

Chris Hudson, owner of Chimo Holdings, said: "We thought a traditional company, working with advanced manufacturing would be an excellent combination of the skills Sheffield is famous for and where its future lies.

"We also thought it would be great to involve apprentices from the AMRC Training Centre."

With trainer Mick Fairman (pictured, right) taking the lead, AMRC-based apprentices carried out the work and returned the rings to Chimo to finish and add that extra high polish fit for The Queen before they were fitted to the chairs.

Alison Bettac, director of training at the AMRC Training Centre, said: "We were delighted to help Chimo, a successful company which has kept alive some of Sheffield's most historic and prestigious cutlery brand names.

"In years to come, those people from the training centre who were involved will be able to point to the chairs and say they played a part in a little bit of Sheffield history."

Based on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) and a partner in the HVM Catapult (the government's strategic initiative that aims to revitalise the manufacturing industry), the AMRC focuses on advanced machining and materials research for aerospace and other high-value manufacturing sectors. It is a partnership between industry and academia, which has become a model for research centres worldwide.

The AMRC Training Centre is a £20.5m centre on the AMP where the focus is on students aged from 16 upwards, taken on paid apprenticeships. Sponsoring companies range from global leaders such as Rolls-Royce and Tata Steel to local high-tech supply-chain companies and apprentices have opportunities to progress on to postgraduate courses, doctorates and MBA levels.

Chimo website
AMRC Training Centre website

Images: AMRC

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