Princess Royal takes Calderdale tour of pioneering businesses

24 January 2017 .......    HRH The Princess Royal visiting Syrian refugee Razan Alsous who set up Yorkshire Dama Cheese, in their new premises in Sowerby Bridge. Picture Tony Johnson
24 January 2017 ....... HRH The Princess Royal visiting Syrian refugee Razan Alsous who set up Yorkshire Dama Cheese, in their new premises in Sowerby Bridge. Picture Tony Johnson

The Princess Royal took a tour around some of Calderdale’s pioneering and innovative businesses including a cheese factory set up by a woman who fled the war in Syria and a world renowned pet food brand.

Razan Alsous, who founded the Yorkshire Dama Cheese company, chatted with Princess Anne at the firm’s new facility.

Ms Alsous shared her story of how she escaped the civil war with her husband Raghid Sandouk and their three children to make a home in Huddersfield in 2012.

The family lost almost everything they owned when they were forced to flee their home near Damascus.

Ms Alsous, who studied medicine and pharmacy, told of how she was inspired to start her successful enterprise after she started searching for a job but had no references or work history in the UK.

Using her expertise in microbiology, she spotted an opportunity to combine her Middle Eastern roots with Yorkshire produce by using local milk to create the halloumi she used to eat each day for breakfast in Syria.

Princess Anne also visited Pure Pet Food in Halifax and Charles F Stead & Co in Leeds one of the most respected tanners of suede leather in the world.

Founded by childhood friends Daniel Valdur Eha and Mathew Cockroft, Pure Pet Food has quickly grown from a tiny business which started life in Daniel’s kitchen to a brand that is now sold around the world and in major retailers such as Pets at Home.

Founder Daniel said “It is a huge honour to welcome HRH Princess Anne to our factory.

“Our business has come a long way in the last few years, we started with an idea to create a wholesome dog food, made of purely natural ingredients without the inconveniences that preparing a raw diet can come with.

“Our small local business has now gained major global reach and we look forward to our continued growth and providing pets of the world with healthy, nutritious diets for many more years to come”