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The Great British Lucky Bag

FED up with hearing that 90 per cent of London Olympics and Diamond Jubilee souvenirs were being made abroad, a Stoke-on-Trent manufacturer has taken a stand.

Mr Sweets, in Milton, has launched the Great British Lucky Bag, a novelty party bag featuring Union Jack-themed bunting, sweets, crayons and stickers.
 

Robert Cawley's firm Mr Sweets has made a Great British Lucky Bag to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics.

The firm has rebuilt itself following the failure of Mr Lucky Bags in 2009, when it fell victim to the collapse of its major customer, Woolworths.

Managing director Robert Cawley said: "The idea came from the press that I had seen bemoaning the fact that 90 per cent of the souvenirs for the Olympics and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee were not made in the UK.

"Everything seems to be made in China these days but it seems very incongruous to have Union Jack flags and bunting made abroad. To me that's wrong.

"We manufacture and pack in Stoke-on-Trent and use as many locally-sourced products as we can so the challenge was to produce something 100 per cent British made."

Mr Sweets is selling the bags in its own chain of sweet shops, with branches in Trentham and Talke as well as outside the region.

Mr Cawley said: "With the Jubilee and the Olympics both going on this year there is a very long season for flag-waving.

"We are selling the bags in our own shops and in cash and carries and we've had a good response.

"It's hard to get into the big supermarkets when you're a little company but we've done it before and we can do it again."

Mr Sweets employs more than 80 people with around a dozen working at the lucky bags operation on Milton Road.

The Sentinel reported in September 2009 that Mr Lucky Bags had gone into administration.

Mr Cawley said: "It has taken a long time to recover. We have had the sweet shops for some time but we only started making lucky bags again more or less a year ago.

"Mr Lucky Bags was quite a big group. Our competitors bought three of the companies so some of the jobs were saved.

"The comic company closed completely and Mr Lucky Bags itself was bought by a firm in London.

"That went bust last May, and I thought, I know all about that side of it, here's a chance to start up again."

The Queen's Diamond Jubilee is providing a boost for a number of local manufacturers.

Emma Bridgewater had already taken £1.5 million of orders for its commemorative ware.

Potteries ceramics firms are also making the official china to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee for the Royal Collection.

The Sentinel reported in October that the same six firms behind the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's commemorative wedding china would be used.

The Royal Collection has declined to identify them, but The Sentinel understands they include Pollyanna, in Hanley, and Hudson & Middleton, in Longton.

Last Updated: April 29, 2013