Lord Lieutenant in round of visits to commend Moray firms for efforts during pandemic
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MORAY'S Lord Lieutenant urged local businesses to keep up the good work yesterday in morale-boosting visits to thank them for their efforts during the pandemic.
Major General Seymour Monro stopped off at three Speyside firms on Tuesday, October 20, including distillation equipment world leader Forsyths Ltd in Rothes and later the biomass-fired combined heat and power plant, Rothes CoRDe.
An office call with Walkers Shortbread owner, Jim Walker, in Aberlour, was the last stop of the day.
Maj Gen Monro thanked the businesses for their resilience and ingenuity in handling the difficulties thrown at them by the coronavirus pandemic throughout most of 2020.
He felt moved to personally show gratitude for the way firms had adapted and evolved and for looking after their staff through difficult times.
Maj Gen Monro said: "I had a tremendous learning day and was fascinated by what I heard from all three businesses.
"I saw the very best of Moray enterprise and quality craftsmanship.
"I think it's only right that the Lord Lieutenant is seen to be learning more about Moray's fantastic businesses to be able to act as an ambassador and to highlight these wonderful firms and their workforces."
At Forsyths he learned about its global involvement in the design and manufacture of equipment for the oil and gas industry as well as for distilling, and how the company is embracing new methods of production.
Forsyths has nine fabrication facilities spread over three sites in the north-east, at Rothes, Buckie and Dyce.
Maj Gen Monro added: "At the head of it all is Richard Forsyth, recently awarded an OBE, which is a hugely well-deserved honour and speaks volumes for Forsyths as a company."
The Rothes CoRDe plant is fuelled by wet draff from 17 local distilleries which is mixed with wood chips. As well as producing liquid animal feed – pot ale syrup – its renewable energy powers 7000 homes.
Maj Gen Monro said: "It's a wonderful plant using by-products from distilleries and sawmills. It's a hugely sustainable, cost-effective enterprise, operating 365 days a year, 24/7. I really was impressed."
Although the Lord Lieutenant couldn't access the Walkers Shortbread factories due to Covid-19 restrictions, he learned from Mr Walker about the wide array of goodies in production as the business ramps up for Christmas.
This month Walkers paid back £1.35 million furlough cash it had received from the UK Government's coronavirus job retention scheme. Maj Gen Monro described the gesture as "a very honourable act".
Maj Gen Monro added: "None of the three businesses has had to say goodbye to anyone – they're still operating with their full workforce. I was hugely impressed.
"They are outstanding examples of Moray enterprise."
The Lord Lieutenant hopes to extend thanks to more local firms, large and small, during further visits in the last half of November.