TWO brothers who revitalised an Andover-based company have been awarded their MBEs by the Prince of Wales.

Brian and Alan Stannah MBEs spoke of their delight at being called up together to receive the honour from Prince Charles during a Buckingham Palace investiture ceremony, capping a year which has seen Stannah celebrate its 150th anniversary.

Brian Stannah, 82, and his younger sibling Alan, 78, helped transform the fortunes of the family-run company, started by their great-grandfather Joseph Stannah in 1867, by revitalising it in the 1960s.

The following decade they masterminded Stannah's best known product, the stairlift, which they worked tirelessly to produce and launch, and which made the company a household name.

Speaking after the ceremony on Thursday last week Brian said: "That was born from a recession. There was a recession in the construction industry.

"If you think back to 1972 - miners' strike, three-day working week, oil crisis - building stopped, we had to do something and we came up with the idea of the stairlift."

Asked if they knew they had a winning product, he replied: "We didn't know, we had no idea, but sales doubled every year for six years."

Alan said: "And it became not only a major part of the business but also exported to 40 countries overseas, and we're introducing new products as we did this year and developing new markets."

The brothers are joint chairmen of the company that began manufacturing and selling cranes, lifts and hoists for moving ships' cargo, and introduced passenger lifts around the turn of the 20th century.

Based in Andover, it still makes passenger lifts and now includes goods and service lifts, walkways, escalators and platform lifts in its product range.

The global business employs 1,700 people in the UK and its subsidiaries and has a turnover of more than £210 million.