Royal appointment kicks off double celebration for Sewell Group

A homegrown business which dates back to 1876 and now employs 500 people celebrated in style after receiving two major awards on the same day.

Sewell Group enjoyed a royal breakfast with the monarch’s representative in East Yorkshire as the Lord Lieutenant presented the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Promoting Opportunity.

A delegation from the company then travelled by executive coach to London to make their sixth appearance in The UK’s 100 Best Companies to Work For Awards, this year being listed at 45.

HM The Lord Lieutenant, Jim Dick OBE, said: “This is one of those moments when we give an award to a company which absolutely deserves it. I know from working with Sewell Group in other ways that promoting opportunity is in your DNA.

“You help people develop and it’s fantastic. This is an award from the monarch and there’s no higher award than that.”

Dr Paul Sewell OBE, Chair of the business which he joined in 1978, said: “These are the sort of milestones which make you realise how far you have come.

“We had never won a Queen’s Award before and although we’ve been very successful in the Sunday Times Top 100 over the last 14 years, we are now in the large company tier. We’ve grown the business in terms of adding new disciplines and geographically and this tells us we are going in the right direction.

“We had a lovely morning and a great night but then you wake up and it’s the next morning and you have to reset and go again. We don’t rest on our laurels.”

Sewell Group rolled out the red carpet at its headquarters in Geneva Way, Hull, to welcome the Lord Lieutenant, Vice Lord Lieutenant Christopher Oughtred, the High Sheriff of the East Riding of Yorkshire Jacky Bowes and the Leader of Hull City Council Cllr Mike Ross. The guests of honour also included over 50 Sewell Group employees drawn from across every business in the group.

The Lord Lieutenant revealed he had won two Queen’s Awards as a member of the senior management team at Smith & Nephew in Hull. The Vice Lord Lieutenant also won a Queen’s Award with the William Jackson Bakery in Hull.

The Lord Lieutenant said: “The awards had a big effect on our business. In terms of credibility of the company, it certainly helped sales and it’s great for staff morale as well. It comes from the monarch. It’s very prestigious and should be seen so.”

Mr Dick presented the group with a Queen’s Award trophy and an official citation signed by Her Majesty and Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister at the time the honour was announced in 2021.

Mr Dick said: “It’s a very significant moment and I would like to congratulate all of you because I know the way that Sewell Group works. Everyone is important in getting this award. It’s the team that all make Sewell Group the company that it is.”

Paul added: “It sets the bar and we are now judged by that bar, as a Queen’s Award holder.

“We are united behind the principle that talent is spread equally within our community but opportunity isn’t and we have a great team here because they come from very different backgrounds.

“Just because you have had a disadvantaged start in life it doesn’t mean you can’t get to the top and if you are given the opportunity your duty is to pass that opportunity on to others. It’s not a do-good thing, it’s a business strategy and when you see the people you know it’s the right strategy.”

Paul and the Lord Lieutenant were joined in stage by Emily Jones, Retail Manager at Sewell on the go, and by Dieter Franks, Construction Site Supervisor, as other colleagues followed the proceedings on a live stream.

Dieter said: “One of the main things that attracted me to come into the company was the award. When I came for the interview I was looking into the award and what Sewell Group does in the community and how they work.”

Emily added: “I’m really touched that I’ve been invited here as it’s such a special occasion. I know everyone back at our site is watching the live stream and celebrating. We have flags flying and it’s really nice for customers to be able to see that and for them to ask us about it. I work for a place that’s been given an award by the Queen!”