Two Harrogate brothers who have carried on the work of their grandfather and father have won a top award for their lifetime of work in the toy industry.
Many people in the Harrogate district will have fond memories of Collinsons toy shops in Ripon and Harrogate. Although those shops are long gone, two brothers are still self-confessed ‘toy boys’.
Mark and Paul Collinson got involved in the industry early on at seven-year-olds when their father Ian Collinson showed them the ropes.
After working in the retail side of the business for several years, the brothers moved into the sales side, where they have worked for decades with national and international brands.
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Now with around 43 years in the toy industry under their belts, Mark and Paul have won the British Toy & Hobby Association’s coveted Golden Teddy Award.
Inaugurated in 2001, the Golden Teddy awards are for people who have served the industry for more than 15 years and go over and above expectations.
“We were both humbled to receive the award. It’s not like us to shout about our work but we are at the end of our careers now and are proud to look back.
“There are lots of people in Harrogate and Ripon over a certain age who still have fond memories of our father’s and grandfather’s shop.
“Back then going to the toy shop was a rare treat for children. The industry has changed massively over the years but young children still have that love for play.”
Collinsons in the Harrogate district
Fred Collinson opened the first shop in Ripon selling sportswear, toys and leather goods in 1952.
His son, and Mark and Paul’s father, Ian Collinson furthered the family name when he opened a toy shop called Collinsons on James Street, Harrogate in 1972.
An advert, which can be seen in Harrogate Library, said “two whole floors of toys, boxed games and books make Collinsons a veritable children’s (and parents) paradise.”
Ian Collinson died of cancer at 66-years-old in 2001. His sons Mark and Paul eventually went into the sales side of the toy industry and now, after 43 years, they have won a Golden Teddy Award.
Both Mark and Paul are nearing the end of their careers but Paul’s son William Collinson is keeping the tradition alive. He is now the general manager in the UK for the Zuru Toy Company.