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Local firms inspirational recovery following devastating fire


Pictured: Mayor Cllr William McCaughey, George Devlin, Abbey Upholstery, Graeme Whitehurst, Chair of the Manufacturing Taskforce and Judith Neill, Abbey Upholstery.


A Carrickfergus upholstery firm – which was devastated by fire earlier this year – has emerged stronger and more resilient, all while supporting its existing 100-strong workforce and supporting the recruitment of apprentices in the local area.

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr William McCaughey and the Chair of the Manufacturing Task Force, Graham Whitehurst MBE recently visited Abbey Upholsterers at their new temporary premises in Kilroot Business Park.

Finance Director, George Devlin Jnr and Commercial Director, Judith Neill, gave an update on how the family run business, based in Carrickfergus, has been recovering following the devastating fire at their Trooperslane Industrial Estate site in April 2021.

The company, which employs around 100 people, had to act quickly to ensure that the quality work they undertake can continue and that customer orders are fulfilled. They have also continued to support young people in the region by taking on a number of joinery and upholstery apprentices.

The apprentices will have the opportunity to work on furniture destined for some of the most luxurious hotels and sporting venues across the UK including Claridge’s Hotel in Mayfair, London, Royal Ascot, London Stadium and Leading luxury retailors Harrod’s and Fortnum & Maison.


Mayor of Mid & East Antrim, Cllr William McCaughey said:


“I was delighted to visit Abbey Upholsterers and witness first hand this fantastic company in action. What they have come through in the last six months is every businesses’ worst nightmare and to come out the other side stronger, whilst still ensuring that they provide opportunities to young people in our community is a testament to the family leadership of this business. It is no surprise that they won the UK Family Business of the Year last year.”


Mid and East Antrim Mayor William McCaughey with George Devlin of Abbey Upholsterers.

Speaking at the visit, George Devlin Finance Director said:


“We were delighted to welcome the Mayor and Graham to our temporary facilities to show them how we have been operating following the fire. As a family business we have built a strong reputation for outstanding quality, we had to ensure we maintain this trust as we navigated our way through the devastation caused by the fire. We have managed to maintain our customer and staff confidence. We will continue our efforts to grow the business, as we look to return to our main site next year.”

The company hope to return to their original site in the middle of 2022.