1. Former world champion boxer Carl Froch copy-070610c7

Boxer Carl Froch provides extra punch for packaging firm celebrations

FOUR-TIME world champion boxer Carl Froch is to open the third phase of the multi-million-pound factory for the award winning packaging firm, The Wilkins Group.

Staff at the firm’s headquarters on Colwick Industrial Estate, Nottingham, will take ringside seats alongside customers, suppliers, invited dignitaries and journalists when the ex-super-middleweight cuts the ribbon on December 7.

The multiple title-winning boxer, who competed from 2002 to 2014, was the obvious choice to be invited as the main event at the firm’s celebration, due to a number of connections.

Not only does The Wilkins Group employ ‘boxers’ of its own to create cardboard packaging for some of the UK’s best-known food producers, but Carl’s own uncle, Mick Froch, has worked there for 46 years.

The pugilist’s childhood home also used to back onto The Wilkins factory. He recounts a number of occasions when him and his pals were chased off site by security guards after they’d jumped over Carl’s garden fence to play in the firm’s waste paper skips.

Carl said: “Wilkins has been there for as long as I remember, so I’m delighted to return to support the opening of their impressive new factory.

“It’s quite funny and a little bit ironic that I used to be chased off the site when I was a kid – but now they’ve actually invited me there in an official capacity. At least I won’t have to climb over any garden fences!

“When I think of the Wilkins Group, I think of my childhood and my uncle Mick, who’s still working there. They’re very fond memories.”

The Wilkins Group’s new 50,000 sq ft extension to its manufacturing facility, will create dozens of extra jobs, vastly increasing the firm’s food packaging production capacity, and making the site the biggest family-run factory in its sector.

The three-acre addition to the site, built at the rear of the existing headquarters, will also bring an investment in numerous new machines, capable of assisting in the current demands on the wider food packaging sector.

The firm, which has won the International Trade Award and Family Business of the Year Award at the Midlands Family Business Awards, also has hubs in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and China.

The Wilkins Group director Justin Wilkins said: “We’re so pleased that Carl threw his hat in the ring and agreed to come along and open our amazing new factory.

“Asking him to open the new premises was a unanimous decision and his involvement will really help to make this a knock-out event.

“The fact that he’s from Gedling in Nottingham, has family members connected to our firm and, of course, is into ‘boxing’ like we are, will make this a truly memorable occasion for everyone who’s worked so hard to get to this point.

"At this momentous stage in the company's history, I would like to take this moment to thank all of our dedicated staff in playing their part in assisting us in our growth strategy."

After a fizz-filled welcome, guests at the official opening celebrations will be given a tour of the new facility, providing an insight into the work that goes into designing and manufacturing food packaging.

To discover more about the Wilkins Group, visit www.wilkins.co.uk.