Lancaster firm back on its feet after Storm Desmond

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When Storm Desmond struck Lancaster in December, commercial printer Pagefast Print & Publishing Ltd was badly affected.

When the Lune burst its banks more than three feet of river water and sludge flowed into the Pagefast works on Caton Road.

The water washed out most of the firm’s equipment, including a new machine installed just two months prior to the deluge.

After assessing the damage the Pagefast team decided to rebuild, and six months on the business is finally back on its feet, putting ink to paper once more. This week the staff popped open the champagne to celebrate.

Throughout the disruption, friendship and support from Shanleys in Bolton, MTP Media and Kent Valley Printers in Kendal meant that Pagefast’s regular work could continue.

Most importantly every member of staff remained employed throughout the rebuild and refurbishments.

Managing director Keith Simpson said: “The storm devastated our systems, machinery, production and building, but everyone played their part in doing whatever was necessary to get the company up and running again.

“I am thrilled to have been able to retain all our staff through what’s been a terribly stressful time. Happily we can now start to move the business forward.”

Fortunately, some of the key production processes were housed on the first floor and thus survived the flood.

The main presses and support equipment on the ground floor were in effect drowned, but design, admin, digital print, estimating, mailing and some of the print finishing operations were happily above the water line and stayed dry.

Emerging from the trauma the company is equipped with new plant that is as good as, if not better than before.

The main Komori press in particular is a state-of-the-art machine. Able to print faster, cleaner, and in a much more energy-efficient manner than its old press permitted, Pagefast has also been able to introduce a more competitive pricing structure.

From its conception in 1986 Pagefast has grown to be the largest lithographic and digital printing operation in the Lancaster and Morecambe area.

The company still works with some of its customers from the mid-1980s, including its very first client, the British Microlight Aviation Association (BMAA), for which it produces a monthly magazine. It was the BMAA which sent the champagne that was opened to celebrate Pagefast’s reopening in this, the firm’s 30th year.

Keith finished by saying: “Over the last 30 years we’ve fulfilled the commercial printing requirements of many local and national clients.

“With great new equipment, our same loyal staff and working to exacting standards, we plan to be around for many more years to come. Barring any more floods, the future starts now.”