A 70-YEAR-OLD furniture maker has hailed a “tremendous” year in the education sector after completing a raft of Scottish contracts.

Godfrey Syrett says it has laid the platform for further growth following several refurbishments north of the border.

The business, which makes goods in a factory at Langley Moor, near Durham City, has supported the fitting out of the new £22m, 780-pupil Kelso High School, in the Scottish Borders.

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It has already installed furniture at two new schools in South Ayrshire, as part of a contract worth £328,000, completed a fit-out at the £8.6m Duns Primary School, in Berwickshire, and is delivering three contracts amounting to £2m in South-West Scotland.

The company’s education division accounts for almost 30 per cent of its turnover and was further helped earlier this year, when the North-East Procurement Organisation appointed the firm as its first-choice supplier for education equipment.

Derek Mitchell, divisional director, said things have progressed nicely through the year, adding the business is hopeful of capturing more contracts.

He added: “2017 is proving to be a tremendous year for our education division, in terms of direct sales to schools, as well as supporting main contractors with new projects.

“We are building a strong reputation in Scotland and look forward to working on further projects in the future.”

The firm, which also designed, made and installed desks, beds, headboards, sofas, dining tables and chairs for a Birmingham student accommodation development, appointed a new boss earlier in the year to support its pursuit of a £50m goal.

Mark Dixon is now chief executive and chairman, and has raised the company’s growth target from £40m to £50m, which he plans to achieve by 2020.

Speaking to The Northern Echo, Mr Dixon said he is confident of doing so, revealing international trade will support his plans.

“We did £27m-£28m last year and will do about £30m this year,” he said.

“I want to start looking at exports; there is a lot of collateral in the Union Jack and the UK.

“Combine that with leading-edge design and quality products like furniture and you have a winning formula.

“The world is a lot bigger than just Europe.”