A BUSINESSMAN who has helped to rejuvenate a 128-year-old Darlington conservatory company has received an Order of the British Empire at Buckingham Palace.

Colin Taylor, 42, managing director of timber conservatory maker Amdega, was awarded the OBE for his services to international trade.

Since he joined the Faverdale-based company seven years ago, he has overseen a dramatic upturn in its fortunes, including a doubling of the workforce and a massively increased annual turnover.

The firm used to employ about 190 people and 365 now work there. The turnover has risen from about £11m a year to £28m.

Founded in Darlington in 1874, it now exports hand-built conservatories to countries all over the world.

The father-of-three, originally from Derbyshire but living in Hartlepool, travelled to London with wife Frances, who is Amdega's finance director, and his parents.

He said: "They are more excited than me about the OBE. But I am pleased - I think it's testament to the strength of the management team at Amdega.