ONE OF Haltwhistle’s biggest employers celebrated its 50th anniversary last week.

Chemical blending company AGMA started out in the 1940s, primarily as a trading company specialising in materials for the paint and coatings industry.

The company has evolved over the years to specialise in the formulation of cleaning and biocidal solutions.

AGMA products are exported to businesses in 34 countries, from pharmaceutical clean rooms in Europe to oil companies in Mexico and Malaysia.

The anniversary was marked on Wednesday, September 26, when employees past and present were treated to a fish and chip lunch at AGMA.

Hexham’s MP Guy Opperman also attended the celebration.

Some of the company’s products were on display alongside photos of past years at AGMA.

Managing director Malcolm Franklin, who purchased the company outright in 2013, is proud that many of his employees have been with the company for decades.

Malcolm said: “We’ve been in operation for 50 years, and some of the people here today have been involved with the company for most of that.

“Malcolm Routledge has been with us for 41 years and John Shotton for 45 years.

“We have over 400 years of service represented here today.”

Malcolm also paid tribute to the relationship the company enjoys with Haltwhistle, as well as the tight-knit community between workers.

He continued: “For Haltwhistle to have somewhere exporting to 34 countries is fantastic.

“When you consider the financial downturn, if we’d just stuck to selling to the UK market, we’d have struggled.

“The town has been good to us; we’re part of the community.

“We like where we are and what we do, and it’s nice to see so many people here today.

“Everyone tries to make it a nice place to work. We all get on pretty well and that’s how we like to do it.”