Jane Marriott meets Jeremy Seel, managing director of a West Oxfordshire company supplying specialised fencing to sporting venues around the world

A NUMBER of the major sporting venues in this country have something in common — Lord’s Cricket Ground, Ascot Racecourse, Wimbledon, the home of tennis, and several Premiership rugby clubs all have their fencing installations supplied by Duralock Performance Fencing of Enstone.

Spectators at Edgbaston in Birmingham watch county and test match cricket over a boundary fence supplied by the company, and race-goers at Cheltenham stand by rails manufactured there.

Venues in this country were just the start, for now Duralock supplies installations in 29 countries worldwide, from Scandinavia to Japan.

The role of managing director Jeremy Seel has been to develop this expansion, chiefly in the equestrian field but also in other markets.

The company has been in existence since the 1990s, and later was taken over by Marcus Wheeler, who remains the major shareholder. In the early days it provided fencing for paddocks and fields, and roadside and other installations for local authorities and private landowners and householders.

Following a meeting of Mr Wheeler with Neil Wyatt, who had connections with the Jockey Club, the possibilities of extending the company’s field of operations more extensively into racing and equestrian competition opened up.

“With the change of direction the company started to get a lot of business at UK racecourses,’’ said Mr Seel.

“I was brought in, in 1998, to help as a commission agent to open up sales in Europe and other competitive markets.

“I became managing director of the company and a shareholder in 2000, and for the past 14 years I have been dealing with sales all over the world, both in equestrian and other fields. Equipment for schools is quite a large part of our business, a good deal of this in the Middle East.”

Duralock fencing has a PVC-u formulation with impact modifiers to provide immense strength.

Ultraviolet inhibitors protect the material from the effects of the sun; it does not warp, split, peel, rot or splinter.

Safety and strength are all-important where horses are concerned. The standard range includes post-and-rail and picket fencing, balustrades, crowd-barrier fencing with weldmesh panels or tube infill, barred and picket gates, and many other variations.

Manufacturing takes place at Enstone, and at the company’s other site at Saltash in Cornwall.

About a dozen people work full-time at Enstone, with several more part-time.

Another three staff are in Saltash, and the company has an office in France with four staff.

Teams of installers in the UK and in Europe, and their sub-contractors, erect the fencing for the clients.

Then there are the agents and distributors. Some are based in Dubai to serve the Middle Eastern markets. The company now has representatives in the US.

“There is a big and growing market there, especially in equestrianism,” said Mr Seel. The equestrian market is a wide one, for as well as racecourses there are the establishments of racehorse trainers, and other competition venues.

With its ease of installation, Duralock fencing’s interlocking panels can provide lines of fencing that are quick to put up and take down again for two or three-day or other short-term events.

There is a facility to hire systems, and panels that have been part of a hiring contract can in due course be sold at discounted rates.

Much of Mr Seel’s time is spent travelling. This summer he was in France for the World Equestrian Games at Caen in France.

“We provided the fencing for all the arenas and the dressage there,” he said.

Witney Gazette:

Cheltenham racecourse is among Duralock's customers

The company has been in negotiations relating to the next four-yearly championships, which are to be held in Montreal, Canada, in 2018.

Having contributed to the installations for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, it is now in discussions about the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

Equestrian business is particularly strong in France, where the company has among its clients 150 racecourses and 40 other equine establishments.

Then there are the other types of track — for athletics and for greyhound racing.

There are few fields of sport for which the company does not cater – from golf to football and rugby league.

For the business world, there are systems for car parks, lifting barriers, and columns for signage display.

The list of commercial clients includes retail outlets, hospitals, offices and motoring centres.

Showgrounds too are part of the summer programme, the Three Counties Show at Malvern and the Royal Show at Stoneleigh, Warwickshire, are among these.

While it might appear that the company has many markets covered, it has been looking to extend the range it can offer to the equestrian world.

New fencing for dressage events was launched at the World Equestrian Championships and new jumps for racecourses are an autumn launch.

‘Boundaries without limits’ is the company’s watchword — and it has certainly been pushing the boundaries of the equestrian market place.

Although a small company at its base in West Oxfordshire, it has gained a worldwide reputation.