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Pembrokeshire business celebrates after winning prestigious award


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FRIO UK was set up on a farm just outside Wolfscastle by the late Garnet Wolsey and his wife Althea. The business is now run by the couple’s children.

FRIO produces the world’s first patented insulin cooling wallet which keeps insulin and other temperature-sensitive medicines cool and safe.

Prior to the development of FRIO wallets, it was difficult for people with insulin-dependent diabetes to keep the life-saving medicine cool and safe while travelling, especially in hot climates.

Using the same technology, FRIO has also produced cooling suits for Formula One Drivers.

The business began by making cooling sports bands for athletes, inspired by Garnet and Althea’s daughter Helen who was twice world champion powerlifter in the 1980s.

It supplied cooling bands to Team GB at the Atlanta Olympics and Paralympics in 1996.

The insulin wallets were created after a chance meeting at a trade show in the NEC in Birmingham.

Garnet was asked if he would be able to use the technology in FRIO’s cooling bands to chill insulin on the go.

He and Althea rose to the challenge and created the FRIO wallet which has changed the lives of millions of people living with diabetes across the world.

Their product and the company that produces it has today been awarded a King’s Award for Enterprise for international trade, only one of ten businesses to receive the award in the whole of Wales.

The Kings Awards, now in their 58th year and previously called the Queens Awards, are conferred for outstanding achievement in innovation, international trade, sustainable development and promoting opportunity through social mobility.

The recipients pass a robust assessment process, judged by experts from industry, academia, the voluntary sector and senior officials in Whitehall.

On that basis, each year, The King’s Awards for Enterprise recipients are recommended by the Prime Minister.

Recognised by His Majesty The King as among the best in the country, businesses like FRIO are central to growing the economy – from creating new opportunities and supporting people into work through to developing new innovations and exporting the best of Britain around the world.

Minister for Enterprise Kevin Hollinrake said: “I congratulate the incredible Welsh businesses who have received a King’s Awards for Enterprise this year.

“I wish them every success and commend the invaluable contributions they make to communities both at home and overseas, helping to grow the UK economy.”

Welsh Secretary David TC Davies added: “I’m absolutely delighted to hear about the success of these businesses in Wales and it’s brilliant that their hard work has been recognised. All the winners of The King’s Awards are leading the pack in their areas of expertise.

“I know that we have a fantastic culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in Wales and I’d like to congratulate the winners and thank them for the contribution they make towards growing the Welsh economy, creating jobs and spreading prosperity.”

His Majesty’s Lord Lieutenants will be presenting the Awards to businesses locally throughout the year.

From today FRIO will be permitted to fly The King’s Awards flag at its main office in Wolfscastle and use the emblem on their marketing materials.

FRIO will also receive a Grant of Appointment certificate and a commemorative crystal trophy.

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