Former England rugby captain Bill Beaumont in Wisbech for factory opening

Pike Textiles celebrates new home with ex England and Lions captain

Former England rugby captain Bill Beaumont was in Wisbech today to open a new factory for one of the town's oldest companies.

Pike Textiles moved to a new unit in Sandall Road earlier this year and had an official launch with guests from the textiles industry including Mr Beaumont, who runs his own family business in Chorley, Lancashire.

An auction of rugby memorabilia after the opening raised �760 for rugby charity the Wooden Spoon and Fenland District Scouts.

Mr Beaumont's kitbag from the 2005 Lions' tour raised �250 while a limited edition replica leather ball made for this year's World Cup, signed by the former lock, raised �310 towards the total.

Company managing director Jon Allen said Mr Beaumont, currently vice chairman of the International Rugby Board, had been a 'national hero' of the rugby world.

'His company Bill Beaumont Textiles has been in business longer than Pikes,' said Mr Allen.

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Bill Beaumont Textiles was founded in 1888 by his great-grandfather and now his own son Daniel, who was also at the opening, is operations director.

'When I still played rugby it was an amateur game and you had to have a day job, well, I've still got my day job,' said Mr Beaumont, who recently returned from the rugby world cup in New Zealand.

Pike Textile Display was founded more than 100 years ago and moved to Wisbech in 1973 having started in London and operating in March. It is still a family company and sales director Andrew Pike is the fourth generation owner.

Pike makes fabric and wallpaper pattern books for major international brands and manufactures up to 5,000 of them a week.

The company, which turns over �5m a year, was previously split over two sites in Wisbech but in June it moved into the new unit which brings all 100 staff under one roof.

Mr Beaumont said he was 'delighted' to be officially opening the factory and said he had visited the previous sites and appreciated the hard work and expertise that went into the products created at Pike.

Former directors and guests joined Wisbech Mayor Jonathan Farmer along with suppliers, staff and customers at the event.

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