A pioneering Warwick businessman working to help bereaved families was given royal thanks when he met the Queen at Buckingham Palace.
Simon Rothwell was invited to the special drinks reception in recognition of his company’s contribution to hospital and mortuary care following the death of children and babies.
The businessman and managing director of Roftek Ltd was invited to the palace after the firm won a coveted Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation.
Joined by other winners of the award, a delighted Mr Rothwell had chance to speak to Prince Philip, Princess Anne, Princess Eugenie and the Duke of Gloucester in what he described as a special day.
After making the once-in-a-lifetime trip with his wife, Michelle, he said: “It was just superb.
“The Queen gave a bit of a smile when she described my business as ‘very different’.
“Prince Philip also had a great sense of humour.
“My line of business is always a bit difficult to explain to people, especially at parties.
“When I was chatting to Princess Anne, Prince Philip came past and told her ‘He’s the one who deals with dead people’ and they both had a laugh.
“My wife and I had a fantastic day. It was very relaxed.”
The award-winning company, Flexmort, (a trading name of Roftek) designs and makes mobile mortuary cooling systems - special cots and beds for the bodies of children and babies before they are sent to a mortuary.
The cots are now used in hospitals all over the world, and since being set up in 2010, the business now also supplies temporary mortuary facilities for use by governments when dealing with mass fatalities.
The entrepreneur said it all started from his own experiences as a police officer where he regularly saw the trauma suffered by bereaved parents having to see their child in a clinical mortuary setting.
His company soon came up with the cuddle cot - a kinder alternative which allows a baby’s body to stay near the parents for longer before being moved to a mortuary.
The technology is now used on maternity wards across the country and featured in a stillbirth story line on television soap opera, Eastenders.
Mr Rothwell, who still lives in the town is a Warwick Business School graduate who graduated with a law degree from Warwick University.
In 2013 his company won the University’s Big Ideas Award for innovation and Flexmort’s products are widely used within the NHS and the funeral industry.
Find out more about the business and its Queen’s Award online at flexmort.com