A MAJOR deal has been struck which should bring an exciting new dimension to one of Blackburn's oldest-established manufacturers.

Blackburn Yarn Dyers (BYD) has received significant private backing to fund ambitious expansion plans for the Haslingden Road company.

The 104-year-old outfit is looking to corner the hank dying market, providing quality threads for hand-knitting and handicrafts enthusiasts.

US entrepreneur Bob Young had been on the lookout for such an investment opportunity, having seen the growth of his own daughters' tapestry firm in North Carolina.

And after BYD managing director Anthony Green outlined his hopes of securing a slice of the niche market, after Bob turned up on his doorstep wanting to know more, the link-up was sealed.

Mr Green, who began as an apprentice at the Grimshaw Park Dyeworks 17 years ago, before taking on the reins, said: “Very few century old firms are still prospering, and fewer still are attracting international investment due to their advanced British manufacturing excellence. We're proud to be achieving both of these feats and more.

"New investment from a knowledgeable partner is providing us with some of the resources needed to build a thriving dye business right here in Blackburn."

The investment which will allow the company to purchase the latest technological advances in dyeing and could spark the need for more recruitment, has already generated more work for the Blackburn firm with some of the industry's leading lights, including overseas orders.

Mr Young, who has his own UK textiles firm, Bangor-based Forge Fibers, added: "As a customer of the dye house we have found it to be one of best suppliers of environmentally responsible natural fibres in the UK.

"Blackburn Yarn Dyers is very much positioned for the 21st century, and what really attracted me and my company to this organisation was the fact that it uses cutting edge technology.

"There is no such thing as a non-tech industry anymore. Blackburn Yarn Dyers embrace of the latest technology makes the company highly relevant and that's what made the business so appealing.

"The opportunity to partner with the other shareholders of Blackburn Yarn Dyers to better serve our customers was a very easy decision to make and it’s a pleasure to be part of the community here in Blackburn."

BYD has already proven it can secure certifications for international quality process standards and environmental excellence.

Away from the factory floor, Mr Green is also proud of the fact the operation is one of the few manufacturers in Lancashire to be recognised for their salary structure commitments.

He added: “We are a fair Living Wage Foundation employer and an energy efficient manufacturer of natural fibres, which has attracted worldwide attention and enables us to help our partners in the British textile industry prosper, regardless of the political winds of the day."

Cllr Phil Riley, the borough council's executive member for regeneration, has also backed the deal, as it strengthens the mill's position within the town.

He said: "Making and manufacturing runs deep through our past, present and ambitious future and it’s something to be proud of.

"It's great that Anthony, the team and their new investor see the very clear benefit of being based in Blackburn.

"We are really impressed with the entrepreneurial spirit and company's values. They are a shining example of how businesses can play a powerful part in making our borough successful and give people opportunities."