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Relative of founder may save Cooke oils
1:00pm Sunday 29th July 2012 in News
A FAMOUS Padiham fuel firm could be saved from going out of existence - by a relative of its founding father.
Former employee Stephen Cooke’s great great uncle Samuel started Samuel Cooke & Co in 1845 but the company went into administration on Monday night.
Now Stephen, 41, wants the family to regain control of the crisis-hit oil distributors.
The Cooke family sold their share of the business in 1991.
Stephen said he was astonished to hear about the loss of 86 jobs earlier this week, and is putting together a consortium to buy the firm back from administrators KPMG
His grandfather Arthur took over the reins in 1913 and his dad, also called Samuel, was in charge during the 1960s.
He said: “The company survived two world wars, hyperinflation, and every other thing that has gone wrong in history.
“It’s unbelievable to think a business of this size could go under. There are guys who have worked there for 40 years, people who were there when I was a nipper running around the place.
“These employees were waiting on a good retirement, not for it to happen like this.”
Stephen, a legal services advisor, revealed he has backing from several businesspeople, former directors of the company and banks.
He has also been given a helping hand by Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle, who took time out from a holiday in Cornwall to speak to Stephen and the administrators about getting the company back on its feet, and has promised to make representations at ministerial level.
Stephen said: “I can’t praise Gordon enough. Like us he wants to see Cooke’s name thrive again.
“There are one or two problems facing us, for example the family has never dealt with administration before and it can be quite a blind process.
“We have to work within a very tight timeframe but we have as good a chance as any of saving the family name.”