A royal visitor to Teesside was shown a piece of history at AV Dawson, owner and operator of Port of Middlesbrough.

The company welcomed His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester to visit their new offices The Staiths and formally unveil a newly refurbished 1960s Atkinson truck.

Accompanied by Mrs Jo Ropner, His Majesty’s Lord- Lieutenant of North Yorkshire, the royal delegation also met colleagues from across the business.

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Gary Dawson, AV Dawson’s chairman said: “It was fantastic to showcase the rich heritage of the port and also explain the journey of AV Dawson. From where it all started with my grandfather starting the business back in 1938, with just a horse and cart, to where it is in this present day.

The Northern Echo: The Duke tours the new buildingThe Duke tours the new building (Image: Press release)

“It was also great to demonstrate how far we have come as a business in terms of our journey to Net Zero, from being a business solely dealing with fossil fuels, to the work we are currently doing in the renewable energy industry and offshore wind.

"The timing of the royal visit was perfect, as not only were we able to discuss the anaerobic digestion plant, waste processing plant and other renewable energy investments on site, but we also had an offshore wind cable-laying vessel on one of our berths - one of our number of vessels owned by one of our key customers, which uses Port of Middlesbrough as its northern European marine base.

The Duke of Gloucester and Lord-Lieutenant also met 15 AV Dawson colleagues including a recent apprentice HGV Driver and the board of directors.  

Gary said: “The business is all about honouring our past and inspiring the next generation. To get the chance to illustrate this to Royalty, was a pretty special moment for us all.

The Northern Echo: The refurbished 1966 Atkinson truckThe refurbished 1966 Atkinson truck (Image: Press release)

“Our people make our business, so it was great for His Royal Highness to meet a number of different colleagues from across the organisation and equally great for those colleagues to have the opportunity to meet His Royal Highness and the Lord-Lieutenant.”

At the end of the visit, His Royal Highness unveiled a refurbished 1966 Atkinson truck, in front of an audience of AV Dawson colleagues outside The Staiths building.

Gary added: “These were some of the first trucks used by AV Dawson, so finding a secondhand one that we could refurbish and bring back to life was an opportunity not to be missed.

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“What makes this vehicle extra special is that it is identical to one driven by my father Maurice when he was a long distance lorry driver in 1966, the same year my parents were married.

“Our in-house maintenance team have worked incredibly hard refurbishing the truck over the course of several months, spending many extra hours on it and even sourcing genuine parts from collectors. It really has become a labour of love for them.

“The reveal of the truck was the first time colleagues had ever seen it - fantastic to be able to witness that and have a member of the royal family unveil it for us.”