Factory staff were left in tears after they were told their company, which supplies feather pillows to Harrods and other retailers, was closing down.

The Norfolk Feather Company workforce - believed to number more than 40 - were gathered for a meeting to be told they were out of a job and there was no money to pay them.

The company, based in Diss, has so far not responded to requests for comment.

The family business, which has been operating for more than 90 years, is a maker of luxury feather and hollowfibre pillows and duvets for a range of retailers, including Harrods.

One worker - who asked to remain anonymous - said a number of employees including her had worked at the Diss site for decades and had been left shocked and dismayed at the news when it was announced on Monday, October 3.

"We were owed the week before's money and they have not paid us at all," she said. "It was horrible. Everybody was crying and hugging each other. It was awful."

As an older worker, she said the news had come as a big blow and she feared for the future.

"I'm a bit low," she admitted. "I'm not sleeping properly. I have got a bad stomach and a bad head. I'm over 50. I'm thinking: 'Am I going to work again?"

Workers "felt like mushrooms" about what was going on, she added. But she praised an HR officer at the firm who had been very helpful and worked heroically even after the closure to offer advice and support.

In a letter to employees, director Jo Landy said the directors had taken the decision to cease trading and place the company into creditors' voluntary liquidation, and accordingly had to terminate their employment with effect from October 3.

Any claim workers had for pay arrears and other sums owed would be paid out of the Redundancy Fund through the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the letter said. But employees would be entitled to claim against the company for any amounts not paid by BEIS.

According to a post on the Norfolk Chambers of Commerce website from April 2021, the company was looking to relocate its then-47-strong workforce to a new "state-of-the-art" headquarters in Snetterton after 50 years in Diss. The Diss site had been sold to Michael Howard Homes, it said.

Managing director Peter Crellen is quoted as saying they would be sorry to leave the town after so many years, but the long term vision and strategy of the company had changed and it wanted to "streamline manufacturing to meet the demand for high-quality, sustainable textile products".