Top design wins Halifax company Royal award for enterprise and innovation

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An ingenious practical design which benefits the British Army and has civilian use has won a proud Halifax company the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise Innovation.

TSG Associates, Long Lover Lane, Pellon, winners of the Halifax Courier’s business award for small businesses in 2016, received the Royal stamp of approval for their Xtract@2 lightweight stretcher, adopted by the British Army in 2015.

Senior partners Colin Smart and Simon Pennells attended Buckingham Palace to be congratulated on the achievement and last week Deputy Lord-Lieutant of West Yorkshire, Major Stan Hardy, delighted the whole team when he presented the company with the award.

Mr Smart, a former Corporal in the British Army Medical Corp, first had the idea for the design while sitting in the desert, having served on the front lines in the first Gulf War. Mr Smart and Mr Pennells have worked extensively with experts in the fabric industry and researchers at Leeds University to design a stretcher that weighs only 1.3kg.

Mr Smart was all too aware there was a place for a lightweight, compact stretcher which would protect the casualty and help a rescuer quickly move them to safety. Rather than relying on bulky rigid canvas and steel stretchers, typically weighing 8-10kgs, the Xtract®2 weighs in at 1.3kg and can be packed so small it can be easily carried alongside standard infantry equipment.

“I know that when it comes to operational equipment there is a lot that you have to carry. It simply isn’t feasible to take a regular stretcher on patrol”, says Mr Smart. “However, if you do end up in a situation where you take a casualty, you need to be able to move them quickly and safely. Don’t be fooled by its small size, this little stretcher packs a big punch. The Xtract®2 is rated to take 330kg, more than three times the weight of an average soldier.

“We will continue to develop solutions which will make a positive impact on the injured person, for the military and at home in our civilian services.”

The Xtract®2 is already in use by a number of ambulance services and being considered for use by police forces across the country.