A Barnsley company is capturing the British Army’s key ‘moments in time’ in silver, including pieces dedicated to fallen soldiers.
Silver Lady has designed a vast array of bespoke commemorative and presentation pieces for British Army regiments, from coins and tie-pins to grand table centrepieces.
Some have marked tours and campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan while others have honoured the memory of servicemen who have died in conflict.
Silver Lady recently created a centrepiece for The Yorkshire Regiment which features an assault rifle and helmet, face-down, and is inscribed with the names of the regiment’s lost heroes. The company has also produced silver bugles for The Rifles which are presented to bereaved families.
The firm believes it is the only company outside London and the south which is entrusted to carry out such painstaking work for the Army.
Managing director Rick Jennings, who regularly travels to Army bases all over the world, said: “It is a source of immense pride to me that a company in Barnsley, not Bond Street, is involved in upholding a military tradition that goes back centuries and honours those who serve their country.
“We’ve played a part in capturing many key moments and campaigns in the history of the British Army and continue to do so with 150 contracts under commission at any one time.
“In addition we do a lot of valuation work and keep the Army’s existing collections of silverware – among the best in the world – in pristine condition by overseeing repairs.”
Silver Lady was launched in 1973 by Rick’s late parents Eric and June. Rick became involved 15 years ago after selling another successful business and the company’s offices were set up in Barnsley Road, Cudworth, in 2008.
Today the office-based team works with freelance artists and modellers. Almost all of the products, which can take up to six months to craft, are made in Sheffield out of either sterling silver, silver or gold plate or bronze effect.
Other examples of Silver Lady’s work include a centrepiece for the Royal Horse Artillery replicating the carriage used to draw the Queen Mother’s coffin during her funeral in 2002, and a replica of the 2ndBattalion, Royal Regiment of Fusiliers’ Sergeants’ Mess at Trenchard Barracks, in Celle, Germany – a base which closed down earlier this year.
The silverware is paid for out of Officers’ and Warrant Officers’ and Sergeants’ Mess membership fees with much of it displayed at functions.
Silver Lady saw its sales go up by 20 per cent last year and it is now also aiming to target the corporate sector.
The company has received help from Enterprising Barnsley coaches to develop a computerised customer relationship management system and improve marketing and human resources.
Rick said: “We were a paper-based company and that was holding us back. Enterprising Barnsley has helped us to transform the way we work so that we can be much more responsive. We’ve grown over the past year despite tough trading conditions and we couldn’t have achieved this without support.
“I believe we are very well placed to have an equally good year next year as we now make efforts to tap into the corporate market.”
Enterprising Barnsley aims to help Barnsley-based businesses develop and expand – generating economic growth and creating new jobs.
The programme is supported financially by the European Union. The project has attracted £2,259,511 investment into Barnsley from the European Regional Development Fund as part of Europe’s support for the region’s economic development, through the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme.