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Dereham company honoured by the Queen

PUBLISHED: 08:00 02 May 2010 | UPDATED: 15:53 07 July 2010

Rob Garratt

A shipping firm run by a couple from Shipdham has been honoured with an award from the Queen.

Kestrel Liner Agencies, run by Andy Thorne and Nicki Gilbert from their base in mid-Norfolk, been given a Queen's Award for Enterprise award in International Trade.

A shipping firm run by a couple from Shipdham has been honoured with an award from the Queen.

Kestrel Liner Agencies, run by Andy Thorne and Nicki Gilbert from their base in mid-Norfolk, been given a Queen's Award for Enterprise award in International Trade.

The firm was built up into a multi-million pound shipping business by Mr Thorne, who lives in the county but started his career as a runner in a shipping yard when his job as an apprenticeship toolmaker lost its appeal.

The award was announced on the Queen's Birthday last Wednesday, April 21, and the firm marked the occasion with an evening drinks reception at the Palace of Westminister on Monday.

The firm was set up with Mark Pattison in 1997 out of Barking, in Essex, and now provides bespoke and specialist shipping services, acting as a one-stop shop for break bulk, containerized and less than container load cargo, targeting cargos requiring specific expertise.

It has staff in the Bahamas, Trinidad, Curacao, Panama and Miami.

The firm helped aid agencies with free logistical support after the Haiti earthquake earlier this year. .

“Working with Samaritans Purse, we sent the first NGO private relief vessel into Port Au Prince Haiti after the earthquake,” said Mr Thorne. “People said ships could not get in there but we found a way - it is the nature of our business.

“We will look to expand new markets and to work towards global recognition as a global shipping brand. To win this Queen's Award for Enterprise in International Trade is overwhelming and when we had the letter to confirm the Award I have to say it was one of the proudest days of my life. It is an Award for everyone who works in Kestrel Liner Agencies and I am sure they are equally proud to be recognised in this way.”

A spokesperson for the Queen's Awards Office said: “The Award is for Continuous Achievement in International Trade, resulting in substantial overseas earnings with growth and commercial success, sustained over not less than six years, with extremely high export percentages through a robust marketing plan against strong international competition to levels which are outstanding for the services concerned and the size of the applicant's operations.”


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