Mask makers wary of Olympic rules

By Kevin Unitt 19/07 Updated: 20/07 07:48

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Jessica Ennis (left) joins a host of famour faces in action - sort of. Picture by Jeremy Eastaugh Photography. (s

MASK makers in Southam are taking extra care not to fall foul of stringent Olympic marketing rules.

Mask-arade, whose novelty masks are seen at top events across the globe and have been worn by a host of celebrities and even royals such as Prince Harry, is being particularly mindful ahead of the start of the London Games next week.

Co-director of the company, Ray Duffy, explained: “We applied for an official Olympic license this time last year but never heard a peep.

“We've just had to be extra careful not to say 'Olympic' on any of our products.

“When you're hearing stories of butchers being threatened over a five-ring sausage, and florists asked to take down display of an Olympic nature, it just seems like lunacy to me.

“But we still think the Olympics is a great thing for the country and its a case of being mindful to say 'athletic' or 'sports' as we sell our masks and other products to mark the event.”

Mask-arade, based on the Kineton Road Industrial Estate, has been a real recession success story since appearing - but failing to secure investment - on BBC Dragons' Den show four years ago.

Ray Duffy, Dean Walton and Chris O'Nyan, the trio behind Mask-arade, are having the last laugh as they now employ a team of staff with their masks now stocked in many major stores sent in their thousands of them across the globe for sporting events and promotional campaigns, and to mark special occasions such as the Royal Wedding and Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

Just this week the company won the Warwickshire Federation of Small Businesses' 'real life entrepreneur of the year' award

Dean Walton said: “From an original idea in a pub, we have gone from Chris’s spare bedroom to Ray’s garage to a barn before purchasing Albion House in Southam last year.

“It is great to have proved the TV Dragons wrong!”

For more information visit www.mask-arade.com or call 01926 814 292.

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Masks of a host of athletes set to compete in the Olympics have been made by Southam-based company Mask-arade. Picture by Jeremy Eastaugh Photography. (s)

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