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Philips Avent’s final swansong before factory closure

PUBLISHED: 08:38 27 May 2020 | UPDATED: 10:26 28 May 2020

Philips Avent in Glemsford is closing in July after nearly 50 years of manufacturing baby products and most recently, headbands for PPE. Picture: ARCHANT ARCHIVES/PHIL MORLEY

Philips Avent in Glemsford is closing in July after nearly 50 years of manufacturing baby products and most recently, headbands for PPE. Picture: ARCHANT ARCHIVES/PHIL MORLEY

Archant

A Suffolk manufacturing plant due to shut down in July has been providing headbands for facemasks during the coronavirus lockdown as its final swansong after operating for 84 years.

Phillips Avent, a baby product making factory on Lower Road in Glemsford has been providing headbands for facemasks during the coronavirus lockdown. Picture: PHILLIPS AVENTPhillips Avent, a baby product making factory on Lower Road in Glemsford has been providing headbands for facemasks during the coronavirus lockdown. Picture: PHILLIPS AVENT

Philips Avent, the baby product making factory in Lower Road, Glemsford, announced its shock move to close last year and is using its final months of production to help with the Covid-19 situation.

The factory is set to cease manufacturing on July 31, affecting 425 jobs but before the closure, the factory has been working to provide headbands for PPE equipment. Within a fortnight, the company had modified an existing tool and created a plastic mould to make headbands for facemasks producing two bands every 20 seconds for free distribution to hospital trusts.

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Brian Bowen, tool room manager, said the staff involved had many years’ experience and “were happy to support NHS staff who were doing such a great job”.

Brian Bowen, tool room manager at Phillips Avent, said the staff were happy to support NHS staff who were doing such a great job. . Picture: ARCHANT ARCHIVES/PHIL MORLEYBrian Bowen, tool room manager at Phillips Avent, said the staff were happy to support NHS staff who were doing such a great job. . Picture: ARCHANT ARCHIVES/PHIL MORLEY

Colin Smith has been with the company, originally called Cannon Rubber after first opening in 1936 in Tottenham, since 1970. The business relocated to Suffolk in 1971 and Mr Smith moved with them in 1979.

Mr Smith, engineering stores co-ordinator, is very sad to see the plant close and said: “I have worked for the business since leaving school.

“I’m proud to have been part of such a successful business and to have worked with some very clever engineers and tool makers.”


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