A FAMILY-RUN business has expanded its well-established fibreglass company into the Tyne Valley.

South Shields-based East Coast Fibreglass Supplies, which has 50 years of experience in the industry, has opened a new base at Bridge End Industrial Estate, in Hexham.

Owner Gary Bates joined the company in 1989 before taking it over a year later, and diversified into the distribution trade in 2002.

Following the success of the firm, which sells a range of fibreglass and materials across the country, and often beyond, Mr Bates thought the time was right to open a new base.

He said: “We are very much an independent company and we have 10 family members working with us.

“We are totally committed to serving people with the best quality materials available at the most competitive prices; with the efficient and friendly advisory service our customers have come to expect.

“We were looking for somewhere for a new premises and decided on Hexham because it’s a good location and we spend a lot of time up here.

“We regularly come to stay in Hexham and we fell in love with the area, so that’s why we wanted to come here.”

In the coming weeks, the Hexham branch is planning to run a course on vacuum packing for members of the public,

The new store will be managed by Wayne Embleton, Mr Bates’s brother-in-law, who has been with the company since 1998.

He said: “After doing manufacturing for 20 years, it is quite an opportunity to come to work in Hexham and be in charge of the day-to-day running of the store. It will be a big challenge but I’m looking forward to making a success of it and meeting new people and clients.”

East Coast Fibreglass has already made itself known to the local community and has helped Queen Elizabeth High School Rowing Club repair some of their oars, with similar work with Hexham Canoe Club planned.