A BARNSLEY couple who have created one of the region’s leading heating companies are handing over to the next generation of their family after 43 years at the helm.
Chris and Beryl Bumford started Bumford Heating back in 1968 with a £250 bank loan.
Now aged 68, they are scaling down their responsibilities and handing control to their eldest son Neil, who becomes Bumford’s new managing director, aided by their daughter Anna Kirby, who is the company’s finance director and backed up by their other children, Beth Phillips and Robin, who are also involved in the business.
Chris Bumford said: “When I first started out, I don’t think I had any idea what a long, hard slog running a business was going to be.
“We’ve both worked very long hours and, for a number of years, went without a proper holiday. There have been some really tough times when our home was held against our bank overdraft, but we’ve succeeded.”
Some of hardest times came during the miners’ strike, shortly after the firm moved to Hoyland, when most of its work was on British Coal-funded projects for miners’ homes.
Fortunately, work on providing gas-fired central heating for new housing provided a lifeline and, during the 1990s, Neil graduated, joined the firm and moved operations beyond installations by selling plumbing and heating supplies online.
Today, Shortwood Business Park-based Bumford Heating installs advanced, energy efficient gas, oil and solid fuel appliances and heating systems powered by renewable energy.
Bumford’s contracts department carries out high profile developments for councils and national builders, while its internet site has become a multi-million pound business, selling as far afield as New Zealand, Dubai and the United States.
Bumford’s growth has been aided by advice from specialists working for business support organisation Enterprising Barnsley.
Neil Bumford said: “We’re in a great position going forward.
“We have a strong heritage thanks to the hard work of my parents and an exciting future, especially around renewable energy.
“It’s been really helpful to have this support from Enterprising Barnsley, which gives us another perspective on things.”