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Pioneering baby goods firm from North Walsham praised by Norfolk MP

PUBLISHED: 16:57 30 November 2017 | UPDATED: 16:57 30 November 2017

East Coast Nursery chairman Eric White, left, at the Progressive Preschool Awards. Picture: Eddie Macdonald

East Coast Nursery chairman Eric White, left, at the Progressive Preschool Awards. Picture: Eddie Macdonald

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A North Walsham firm that has been a pioneer in the baby goods industry has been praised by a Norfolk MP for winning a “significant” national award.

East Coast Nursery chairman Eric White, centre, at the Progressive Preschool Awards. Picture: Eddie MacdonaldEast Coast Nursery chairman Eric White, centre, at the Progressive Preschool Awards. Picture: Eddie Macdonald

Eric White, chairman of East Coast Nursery Products in Lyngate Road, part of the East Coast Group, won the outstanding achievement award at the Progressive Preschool awards 2017.

The annual industry awards programme focuses on the market for products for families at nursery and preschool level.

Norman Lamb, North Norfolk MP, said: “The East Coast Group has a very long and impressive reputation and sells to major retailers. This is a significant award for a Norfolk company, and we should be shouting it from the rooftops.”

The family-run company has been supplying products for over 55 years.

Mr White received a standing ovation as he made his way to the stage at the awards, which were held at the Dorchester Hotel in London, and attended by over 400 professionals from the industry.

The outstanding achievement award recognised Mr White’s dedication and commitment to East Coast and to the nursery industry as a whole.

He has served the industry for more than 50 years, and Rob Willis, publishing director of Progressive Preschool, said: “He has held positions including chairman of the baby products association, and is a true industry pioneer, always making time to help, advise, and support any newcomers.”

In his emotional acceptance speech, Mr White paid tribute to his wife, Gloria, who has remained by his side as he devoted his life to the East Coast Group family business since the 1960s, becoming managing director of the company in the 1970s.

He directed the design and development of the first baby changing mat, expanding East Coast Nursery to become one of the highest-volume UK manufacturers of nursery products, furniture and pushchairs. Supplying major and independent retailers, he still highlights the importance of forging partnerships with retailers through trust and understanding.

In the 1990s he began to develop the business abroad, through Far East production and import; even now he continues to travel to the Far East on business several times a year.

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