When the late Israel Cohen and his son Gerald started a used clothing company in Manchester in 1959, they did not envisage a royal accolade and congratulations from the Prime Minister 49 years on.
But I & G Cohen, still a family business and now collecting clothes, shoes and textiles in Britain for foreign export, has now received a Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion, endorsed by Gordon Brown.
The company’s managing director, Elliot Cohen — grandson of Israel — tells People: “Textile recycling is still not a high enough priority for domestic households. Government figures say over a million tons of used clothing goes into landfills every year. The more companies like ours can be publicised, the more we can take out of landfills and the more we can re-use.”
Mr Cohen’s brother-in-law, Philip Geller, the company’s financial director, adds: “As well as being a profitable business, we feel we are putting something back into the environment.”
Mr Cohen attends Jackson’s Row Reform Synagogue. Mr Geller, a Community Services Trust volunteer, attends Whitefield Synagogue. Gerald Cohen has retired from the business.