Former soldier Chris Webster has been called up for 'active business service' on Teesside - to head up a new plumbing and heating merchants in Middlesbrough

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James Hargreaves Plumbing Depot is set to open a new £250,000 branch on Skippers Lane Industrial Estate next month with 27-year-old Chris – and trusted first lieutenant Steve Richardson - at the helm.

Chris Webster (right) and Steve Richardson

Chris Webster (right) and Steve Richardson

... in Chris and Steve we have a first class duo, local men with all the necessary experience and drive. Our new branch is in very safe hands.

Chris Webster believes his teenage experiences with the Territorial Army - including a six-month stint in Iraq - will stand him in good stead for his new management role.

"As well as seven years' working in the plumbing industry, I have acquired a number of life skills through my time with the TA and feel ready to take up the challenge. James Hargreaves Plumbing Depot is a fast-growing firm with a great reputation and I am determined to repay their confidence in me."

Chris, who lives in Berwick Hills with his partner, Emma, and 18-month-old daughter Isobelle, believes the key to success could lie with his link-up with close ally Steve.

Steve, 47, from Saltersgill, has worked in the plumbing and heating industry in the North East for 30 years and will work alongside Chris as assistant manager.

"Since leaving school I have known nothing else but plumbing and heating in the Middlesbrough area, starting off as a YTS yard lad to go on to hold roles within sales and management," said Steve, who is married to Adele and has a son, Stephen, and a daughter, Natalie.

"It was through a local contact that we heard of James Hargreaves Plumbing Depot being keen to expand to this region, so we got in touch with them and things just snowballed. The firm is renowned for its commitment to product, value and service and as I have worked with Chris before we can hit the ground running. We are a good team and although we don’t officially open until next month we have had a number of customers popping in, so trade has already got underway!”

Middlesbrough represents the 34th branch of the James Hargreaves Plumbing Depot and the premises will comprise of a trade counter incorporating a bathroom showroom.

Bill Davies, sales director at James Hargreaves Group, said: "Middlesbrough has been on our radar for some time and Skippers Lane provides us with a great location. However, the on-going development and success of the business is largely down to the efforts and quality of our people and in Chris and Steve we have a first class duo, local men with all the necessary experience and drive. Our new branch is in very safe hands."

More about James Hargreaves:

James Hargreaves Plumbing Depot is one of the north of England's leading plumbers merchants. Established in 1968, the firm also has six luxury bathroom showrooms.

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Gregory T'Kint
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