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Worldwide Clergy Wears Supplier Intending to Close Down by Year End

Wippell & Co, the renowned supplier of clothing to clergy worldwide, has announced its impending closure by the end of the year. The Exeter-based company, known for its handmade cassocks, altar frontals, and other clerical garments, has suffered significant financial losses due to the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Established in 1789, Wippell & Co expanded its operations over the years and opened branches in London and New Jersey, USA. Its products were highly regarded for their quality and craftsmanship, and the company also supplied graduation attire, including mortarboards.

Robin Richardson, the chairman and director of Wippell & Co, expressed his deep sadness regarding the closure. He extended his gratitude to all his colleagues and pledged the company’s support during this challenging period. 

Ina statement to BBC, the chairman said: “It’s an incredibly sad day and I want to pay tribute to all my colleagues.

“We will be supporting everyone through this difficult period. The company is committed to providing fair redundancy packages and giving everyone many months’ notice ahead of closure.

“Most people, including incredibly skilled embroiderers, seamstresses and cutters, have worked here for decades, with many approaching retirement age.

“I want to personally acknowledge everyone’s dedication and craftsmanship.”

People have described the closing as the “end of an era”.

Wippell & Co is committed to providing fair redundancy packages and ensuring that all employees receive ample notice prior to the closure.

The closure of the company holds significant weight as many of its employees, including highly skilled embroiderers, seamstresses, and cutters, have dedicated decades of their lives to Wippell & Co. Several of these employees are approaching retirement age, and their commitment and craftsmanship have been commendable throughout their tenure.

In a tweet, Bishop of Crediton, Rt Rev Jackie Searle expressed her sorrow over the closure of Exeter Wippells, saying, “It is unfortunate news as I have fond memories of purchasing my first cassock from them.”

Andy Hartley suggested that the closure may have been influenced not only by the pandemic but also by Brexit, as the company relied on staff from the EU who are no longer available. He tweeted, “I have worked with this company for many years, including last year. The impact of the pandemic and Brexit, which led to a decrease in EU staff, has contributed to this sad day.”

Rev Neil Alan, Rector of Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church, shared his personal experience, stating, “Wippell custom tailored my first Anglican cassock 28 years ago, towards the end of divinity school. Just last year, I purchased my second one from J&M in England. Well done to these creators of beauty.”

The company has confirmed that they are currently providing support and consultations to the 44 affected employees during the redundancy process.

The news of the company’s closure has been met with widespread sorrow, with many describing it as the “end of an era.” Wippell & Co’s long-standing presence and reputation as a leading provider of ecclesiastical attire have made it an iconic institution within the industry. Its closure marks a significant loss not only for the employees but also for the clergy and faithful around the world who have relied on its products.

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