How Siemens is preparing for the Queen to visit

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 13 Nov 2017

The head of Siemens Gamesa’s UK operations visited its Hull blade manufacturing facility ahead of a visit from the Queen.

Queen Elizabeth II will visit the site, which officially opened in September 2016, as she visits the city, arriving at Paragon Interchange.

She will also officially open the Allam Medical Building at the University of Hull.

The Hull Siemens factory employs 850 members of staff and has already produced 200 wind turbine blades for offshore wind farms across the globe.

The Queen will meet the managing director, as well as production staff, apprentices and people involved in the company’s Pathway Plus programme, designed to help young people with special needs or physical disabilities.

The managing director of Siemens Gamesa UK and Ireland, Clark MacFarlane, said: “We will be speaking to the Queen, who is in Hull more generally to see the successes of the City of Culture, about the part we play in that, with the backdrop of our production line.

“I think it is a great honour. It is recognition for the city of Hull, for the City of Culture. It is recognition of how Hull is being regenerated.

READ MORE: Green energy's overwhelming backing revealed in largest ever global survey

“It’s really important that she sees the soul of Hull, the local workforce we have employed here in the factory. That’s why we wanted her to see how it is made.

“It is important to see that engagement, and I think it is really symbolic for the people of Hull, employed here, to meet her this year.”

Clark McFarlane MD of Siemens Gamesa UK satnding next to a wind turbine blade (Image: Katie Pugh)

The managing director says the Hull site has come a long way since production began last year, and is optimistic about growth in the renewables sector.

“Since we have started production over 200 blades have been made here. We’ve gone a long way here in the last 14 months,” he said.

“I think renewable energy is seeing great growth at the moment, and the price has come down quite considerably recently. It’s going to be at the centre of some government policy and is something this region in particular has been doing very well in.”

READ MORE: Humber 'truly at the heart of UK's offshore wind industry'

Production will be shut down for around two hours while the Queen visits the site so she does not have to wear health and safety gear.

Her Majesty will see the four production stages of the plant, as well as seeing work taking place on the port, where completed blades would be prepared for transportation.

Pictured is, from left, Chelsea Ward, Charlie Fletcher and Ian Scrivener (Image: Katie Pugh)

Chelsea Ward, 21, and Charlie Fletcher, 20, are two apprentices in their second year at the factory who will have the honour of greeting the Queen.

Ms Ward said: “I think it’s a great thing for the city and the business as well. It’s a great opportunity for us to have been asked to be involved.”

READ MORE: Siemens Gamesa make space at Alexandra Dock blade facility available to developers

Mr Fletcher said: “She will see a blade getting made, and the use of the mould at the start of the process. I was pretty shocked and found myself laughing when we were first told, but it’s a fantastic privilege for her to see us at work here.”

Her Majesty will also meet Chris Bastiman, alongside other people involved in the company’s Pathway Plus programme.

Pictured is Clark McFarlane, with Chris Bastiman, a Pathway Plus intern, and Jo Taylor, employment and life skills coach (Image: Katie Pugh)

Mr Bastiman suffers with hearing and vision difficulties after chemotherapy to treat a pineal tumour in his brain. He is all clear now and is partaking in regular work placements at the site.

He said: “Quite a lot of people are saying I’ve been doing a good job recently. It means a lot to have been asked to meet the Queen. It’s really exciting.

“Everyone has been really friendly and supportive here. I come in and do my duties and at the minute I'm mainly working with cleaning and around the canteen.”

Ian Scrivener, a production team lead, who will also meet the Queen, said: “It’s fantastic. It is great news for us as a company and I think shows that Hull is really getting the recognition it deserves at the minute.”

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