Shropshire

London 2012: 'Olympics boost' for Much Wenlock pottery firm

Image caption Mike Fletcher has seen an increase in people wanting something made in Much Wenlock

"It's surprising how many people in the UK didn't know until recently that the modern Olympic Games were from Much Wenlock."

Mike Fletcher, owner of Wenlock Pottery in Shropshire, said his company had seen an increase in trade as a result of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The pottery and craft centre has been making prizes for the Wenlock Olympian Games for a "good 15 years" and is now making other sporting prizes.

Mr Fletcher, originally from Walsall, in the West Midlands, trained as a potter from the age of 14 and set up the company in 1979.

He said: "We produce a varied range from stoneware and hand-thrown kitchen items, but have moved into ceramic trophies, such as tankards for rowing clubs and regattas.

"It's definitely because the Olympics is happening in this country and we've had a 40 to 50% increase in trade over last the six months.

"We've noticed a big increase in the public coming into our gallery and also a big interest in the products."

The company has welcomed visitors from all over the world because of the town's connection with the modern Olympic Games.

And from making "hardly any pots" a week, the firm is now making "nearly 200 pots a day" on the potters wheel.

About two years ago Mr Fletcher had to take on an extra job during a particularly bad winter when there was "no work coming in".

This lasted from October to March and he said it was something he had never had to do before.

But now, the firm's offices and warehouses have been developed into a bed and breakfast, and staff have noticed a "big increase" in custom compared to last year.

Mr Fletcher also said that the company may look into taking on extra staff in the pottery side of the business, but that "trying to train someone up in this field is very difficult".

He said: "People are becoming more aware now [of the town] with the literature that's about promoting the town."

Much Wenlock will also attract visitors during the London 2012 Festival and for Cultural Olympiad events.

Folk singer Eliza Carthy will perform The Welcome Song in the town on 11 July as part of the festival, which will also coincide with the Wenlock Olympian Games.

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