THE Duke of York was in Bradford last week to present the prizes at the British Wool International Quality Awards and is seen, right, examining wool samples.

The awards encourage and reward new product development in the carpet manufacturing industry and reflect the high standard of innovation and design in of British wool carpets.

The carpet making industry, which has faced much change and competition in recent years, accounts for 70pc of British wool usage.

Frank Langrish, chairman of the British Wool Marketing Board, who has 5,000 Romney sheep in East Sussex, said wool producers and wool users must work together. "Wool is now a niche product, representing only 2.5pc of the world's fibre market, and we must make sure it is used in high quality, high value markets," he said.

The Duke met sheep farmers, buyers of British wool, carpet and yarn manufacturers and carpet retailers.

He delighted manufacturers when, in response to an observation that "most people leave flooring until last when planning their room", he said: "I start with the carpet, it is the infrastructure and everything else has to work around it."