THE successful contribution made by a North Yorkshire manufacturer to the UK bus building industry has been recognised by a royal visit.

Sherburn in Elmet-based bus builder Optare recently played host to a visit from The Duke of Gloucester.

The Royal visit included a tour of the factory where His Royal Highness met staff and saw several buses in production, including Optare’s latest hybrid and electric models.

The Optare factory was officially commissioned on a visit by Transport Minister Norman Baker in 2011, and now employs more than 400 people, exports its vehicles as far afield as South Africa and Australia, and has won awards for its market-leading technology.

Enrico Vassallo, Chief executive at Optare said: “We were very honoured to welcome His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester, and to escort him on a tour of our facilities at Sherburn in Elmet.

"He seemed to have a genuine interest in the success of our business in both UK and international markets and our contribution to the local and UK economy.

"It was a memorable day for all our staff, and underlines what Optare has achieved in recent years.”

The Optare group PLC is part of Ashok Leyland, one of the top five global bus producers, and part of the Hinduja Group.