A FOURTH generation Haworth manufacturer has described the “true honour” of being awarded the contract to manufacture the British Armed Forces’ new regimental flags, following King Charles III’s Coronation.

The £5million seven-year contract to replace all British Armed Forces’ Standards and Colours (military flags) with the King’s insignia and the Tudor Crown has been secured by Haworth-based military accoutrement manufacturer Wyedean, a family-run business, headed by father and daughter Robin and Rosie Wright.

The skills of Wyedean’s specialist embroiderers, metalworkers and braiders were on display during the Coronation last month, as four new Standards and Colours created by the team for the Royal Navy, the Life Guards and the Royal Air Force, alongside a Sovereign Standard for the Kings Company of the Grenadier Guards, made their first appearance at the royal procession.

The fifth Standard to be manufactured by Wyedean for the Blues and Royals (Royal Horse Guards and 1st Dragoons) will be on show in King Charles’ first Trooping The Colour as monarch on Saturday.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Robin and Rosie inspect the intricate embroidery of the Blues and Royals StandardRobin and Rosie inspect the intricate embroidery of the Blues and Royals Standard (Image: Lorne Campbell/Guzelian)

Wyedean Managing Director Robin Wright said: “The true honour we feel to be creating such historic and symbolic regimental Standards and Colours is absolutely incredible. It really is a business high for us all.

“Typically, regimental Standards and Colours are renewed every 10-12 years but following the passing of the late Queen, all military regalia requires updating with King Charles III’s insignia and the Tudor Crown. As it takes three of our skilled people one year to create just four Colours, there are thousands of hours of craftmanship from appliqué ornamental needlework to hand embroidery needed to complete the high standard of elaborate fabrics ready to present to the armed forces in the years ahead.”

A Regimental Standard or Colour is a flag depicting the colour of the regiment’s uniform facings, trimmed with gold threaded tassels and displaying the King’s insignia. Handmade by Wyedean’s specialist embroiders using silks, silver and gilt threads, they are used on a regiment’s most important occasions and bear elaborate symbols and battle honours gained through the centuries.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Susannah Wright and Jeanie Dixon operating the Wyedean Warper Susannah Wright and Jeanie Dixon operating the Wyedean Warper (Image: Lorne Campbell/Guzelian)

Wyedean’s Business Development Director Rosie Wright explained: “Military Colours carry a major significance to the British Armed Forces and were introduced in the 1700s as battle flags to help soldiers determine where their regiment was in the chaos of the battlefield. Colours remain highly symbolic today and are thought to carry the spirits of all those who fought and died since the founding of the regiment.”

She added: “We are very mindful of the importance of the task at hand and recognise this is an incredibly poignant time for all members of our armed forces as they say goodbye to the Queen’s Colours and welcome in the new Colours from King Charles. This is a historic, momentous task for us and one which we are hugely privileged to be undertaking as we approach our 60th year as a family business.”

Wyedean was founded in Haworth in 1964, as a manufacturer of braid and military uniform accoutrement, from fabrics for medals to military badges. Founder David Wright ran the business with his father Frank Wright, a former textile machine designer awarded an MBE in recognition of his invention of a yarn spinning technique called centrifugal sinning.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The company makes braids and buttons on military uniformsThe company makes braids and buttons on military uniforms (Image: Lorne Campbell/Guzelian)

Today the business is chaired by David’s wife Norma, 98, with her son and Managing Director Robin, his wife and Sales Director Debra and their daughters Business Development Director Rosie and Systems Project Manager Susannah.

Added Robin: “Our family was honoured to visit Buckingham Palace in April to see our very own manufactured Standards and Colours being consecrated and presented by His Majesty the King to the Royal Navy, The Life Guards, the King’s Company, Grenadier Guards and Royal Air Force. And this week, around 20 of the Wyedean team have tickets to see our handcrafted Blues and Royals Sovereign Standard in the first King’s Birthday Parade at the Trooping The Colour this Saturday.

“We’re proud to be, quite literally, flying the flag for Yorkshire manufacturing at another historic, momentous occasion and are looking forward to applying our specialist skills to honour the tradition of renewing the military insignia until all are representative of our new monarch.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Fabric medals manufactured by WyedeanFabric medals manufactured by Wyedean (Image: Lorne Campbell/Guzelian)

Based in Bridgehouse Mill, Wyedean has a strong history of revolutionising its manufacturing processes. When sashes and other items of insignia traditionally made using silk and pure gold thread became unsustainable in modern manufacturing, Wyedean developed a synthetic version in the 1990s.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Systems Project Manager Susannah Wright and Production Technician Jeanie Dixon operating the Wyedean WarperSystems Project Manager Susannah Wright and Production Technician Jeanie Dixon operating the Wyedean Warper (Image: Lorne Campbell/Guzelian)

With 20 in-house staff who still weave, braid and hand craft, the company has widened its net to manage a global supply chain.

Customers include the British Ministry of Defence, Armed Forces, Metropolitan Police, Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Australian, New Zealand and Canadian Armed Forces. Wyedean’s annual outputs are: two million ‘badges’; 175,000 metres of Canadian Mounted Police trouser stripe ribbon; 1.5million ceremonial uniform regalia and insignia items; 500,000m of ceremonial uniform braiding; 80,000m of medal ribbon; 57 campaign medal ribbons using approximately 100 shades of silk; 500,000 insignia badges.