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Double TWO Chairman scoops  Lifetime Achievement Award
2017-06-19 BACK TO ARTICLES

Double TWO Chairman scoops Lifetime Achievement Award

Thursday 15th June 2017 was a proud moment for all of us at Double TWO, as our long serving chairman was presented with a Lifetime Achievement in Business Award!

The award was presented at the Wakefield Business Awards, organised by the Wakefield Express, which celebrated the many successful businesses the city of Wakefield has to offer.

Chairman of the family owned Double TWO, Mr Richard Donner was regrettably absent from the ceremony due to undergoing a hernia operation, but sent along a speech to be read out on his behalf. In the speech he expressed his gratitude to the people of Wakefield.

“In many ways I feel I should be giving Wakefield an award rather than the other way around,” stated Richard Donner, “When my family arrived in England in 1939 as refugees from Nazi Austria, Wakefield was the first city to offer us sanctuary and a home.”

After arriving in London in 1939, the family were evacuated out to Oxford where Richard was born. With no jobs due to the war, his father, Isaak, who had owned a shirt manufacturing business in Austria, was offered the chance to start a business in Wakefield. The family arrived at Westgate station to be met on the platform by the Manager of the Labour Exchange, the Midland Bank Manager and a business angel. The company began trading in 1940 and the rest, in Richard's words, is history!

Double TWO went on to become known world-wide for many pioneering innovations including the attachable spare collar, the first man-made fibre garment and the first truly non-iron shirt! At one point 1,200 people were employed in Wakefield with a further 600 around Britain.

Educated at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Richard then attended Leeds University, before spending time at Harvard Business School in America, where he met his American wife Nancy.

Richard, affectionately known within the business as Ricky, spent weekends and holidays working in the Wakefield factory. He joined the business full time in 1963, taking over as Chairman after Isaak’s death in 2000.

"I am proud that I still meet many past employess in the streets and we smile and chat and I learn about their new lives."

Due to a shift in work procedures, much of production was moved to the Far East in the 1990's in order to preserve Double TWO's future, but around 200 people are still employed in Britain with 5,000 employees world-wide.

Richard Donner closed his speech with a final thank you to all who run the City of Wakefield for making his lifetime achievements possible and would also like to congratulate all those other winners at the Wakefield Business Awards.

“At 77 I still have no intention of retiring. So we will still do many great things together. Thank you.”

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Loved the story, i started work at Double Two Easter 1965, i was 15, had my job waiting for me since the Christmas 1964, i enjoyed my time there very much, i have lots of happy memories, i left Christmas 1975 due to being pregnant, my intention was to go back, however it did not happen, but i still talk about my time there even now, i hope i get the chance to visit sometime, Happy Days,

Patricia Catherine Howarth (nee Weston) 1 years ago at 23:24