Queen's Awards 2020 winners: 'This award during the COVID-19 will make a profound difference to us'

Thu 23 Apr 2020
Posted by: Ana Pintor
Trade News

Merci Maman have won the Queen's Award for the second year in a row

To be recognised in the annual Queen’s Awards is a prestigious honour at the best of times, but during a pandemic it means even more to this year’s winners.

Businesses recognised in the International Trade category, which this year featured 129 winners, told the Daily Update (23 April) that winning provided some much-needed “positive news” during the COVID-19 crisis.

Some of the winners are refocusing their production towards helping the UK effort to get through the pandemic.

For Air Covers Ltd, who usually design protective covers for the aerospace and marine sector, the win has been particularly “profound”.

NHS volunteers

“When you volunteer your production to the NHS and are asked to make body bags you realise the real implications of this virus to many families around the UK,” managing director John Pattinson told the Daily Update. “To receive this award at this time has made a profound difference to everyone’s outlook.”

Medicare Colgate, a global market leader for pasteurisation equipment, has also been supporting the NHS during the crisis.

Etienne Colgate, the firm’s managing director, says, “The products we sell are necessity goods, so we have not found a drop off in orders in fact our customers and the NHS have been stocking up.”

For others the win is a timely reminder that great challenges, such as those posed by the pandemic, can be overcome.

Andy Buchan, CEO at energy and industry equipment rental firm Hiretech Limited, told the Daily Update:

“It’s good to have some positive news to share during these extraordinary times, serving as a good reminder of previous industry challenges we’ve overcome towards gaining this accolade as we navigate current conditions and look ahead to the future.”

Boosting staff morale

The winners we spoke to all agreed that winning the award is a great achievement, regardless of the circumstances they’re now in. The win has also provided a timely boost for staff morale.

Etienne Colgate said winning “provides the company and all its staff and much appreciated boost in these challenging times.”

Ian Lane, technical director at Accrington-based engineering company, Premier Tooling Solutions, agreed, saying the win had “put a smile on staff and customers alike”.

Spreading positivity

Many companies have been given extra motivation by the crisis – something which has been further enhanced by winning the award.

The lockdown has resulted in a surge in e-commerce, which has been a positive for Luke Nava, marketing manager at James and James Fulfiment. The firm helps online retailers scale internationally. However, meeting the demand of increased online demand is not without its challenges. He said:

“With lockdowns all over the world, more consumers are shopping online, which is positive for us. There is more operational complexity, however, due to ever-changing import regulations worldwide and the imperative to keep our people safe."

Arnaud de Montille, founder of repeat Queen’s Awards winner Merci Maman, told the Daily Update his personalised jewellery brand has always tried to “spread positivity” – something which has taken on a greater importance.

“Half the world’s population is locked down and it is more important than ever to continue celebrating parenthood, sisterhood, love, friendship and we’re doing that with our products and social media community,” he said.

Air Covers Ltd, who usually design helicopter covers, have been making body bags for the NHS