Wymondham toy firm celebrates 40th anniversary

A WYMONDHAM-based toy maker, which began with a box of building blocks and a tracing set, has celebrated its 40th birthday.

Orchard Toys has grown into a leading manufacturer of educational puzzles and games since it was formed in the Midlands in 1971.

The company, which relocated from Nottingham to Wymondham in 2006, marked its 40th anniversary at the 2011 Toy Fair in London last week.

The origins of the firm began in the late 1960s when Margaret Harvey opened a children's nursery school.

Before long, it became apparent that 'activities with a purpose' for young children, were not readily available.

And so it fell to her husband, Keith, who took on the challenge and a box of wooden building blocks and two tracing sets were the result of his early labours.

The toys became so successful, that in 1971 they lead to the foundation of Orchard Toys.

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Forty years later, the company, based at the Wymondham Business Park, employs 50 people and is currently expanding its factory by 50pc.

The manufacturer now makes more than 100 games, jigsaw puzzles and activities.

Mr Harvey, the company founder, said: 'I think that the team is doing a magnificent job and is taking Orchard Toys into a different league.

'I am so pleased that they have continued to manufacture in the UK, and thanks to the new extension, look to do so for a long time to come.

'We are now fast becoming a household name.'