The headquarters of supercar brand Lister are right here in Hyndburn. Lister Cars had legendary racing cars of the late 1950s, winning or placing in over 2000 races with models such as the Lister Knobbly. They then found renewed racing fame after 1999 at Le Mans and others with the Lister Storm, the best race car of the era with 546 bhp and 0-60mph in just 4.1 seconds, driven by top drivers such as Tiff Needell.

The cars then found a new generation of fans by the Lister Storm being included in the Gran Turismo game series on PlayStation and Forza on Xbox – they have sold over 85 million copies of Gran Turismo and 16 million copies of Forza worldwide. Today they boast the fastest SUV in the world, the Lister Stealth with 666 bhp and an estimated 0-60mph of just 3.6 seconds!

Representatives of the Northern Automotive Alliance were thrilled to be invited to host their meeting at the HQ of Lister.  The NAA represent manufacturers and supply chain companies in the car industry, and the Northwest automotive cluster directly generates some £9bn of the total UK automotive manufacture economy – approximately 12% of the UK total, placing it as the second most significant region for automotive manufacture in the UK. Members include Leyland Trucks, Jaguar Land Rover, Bentley, Pirelli and Vauxhall Motors.

They were treated to a history of the Lister brand by Lawrence Whittaker, the current owner of the brand; plus a panel discussion on the future of electrification of cars and carbon free motoring with Lawrence, Amanda Melton of the Nelson and Colne College Group, who has a training centre dedicated to electric car maintenance in Accrington; and Paul Jones of the Northern Automotive Alliance.

Lawrence Whittaker, Owner of Lister Cars, said: “We are so proud to have welcomed all these fantastic people from the automotive world here to Lister.

“I’d like to thank everyone who attended including our speakers Amanda Melton CBE and Paul Jones, as well as to #AmazingAccrington for organizing a brilliant event.”

Paul Jones, Chief Executive of the Northern Automotive Alliance, commented: “We had a fantastic day. We had Lawrence telling us about the history of Lister, the oldest racing car company in the UK, and we had a great presentation from Amanda Melton CBE on the skills challenge for the future and how industry and academia can work together.

“Lawrence is a great example of using the UK supply chain and this is what NAA is all about, promoting the UK automotive supply chain. Thank you Lister cars, what a great day we had!”

Amanda Melton CBE, Principal and Chief Executive at Nelson & Colne College Group, added: “It has been a fantastic day, there has been such fantastic engagement from our local employers.

“We are going through such an important period of change at the moment as we move over to low carbon solutions across many industries, so making sure that we have got young people and adults who are able to re-train to be able to fulfil the job needs of these very important employers to our economy, is really important.”

Peter Carter, Managing Director of Camcoat Performance Coatings in Warrington and member of NAA, said: “Today is the best NAA event I have ever been to, particularly as a racing petrol head. The discussions and presentations have been really good, the whole day has been excellent and I would like to thank everyone involved.

“The Lister brand is irreplaceable – there are no other British manufacturers to be continually in business, winning 1500 out of 2000 races/in the top 3 which is an incredible record.”