Former Fenland man creates box for Royal Warrant Holders Association gift to Kate & William

A FORMER Fenland man has designed and created a box as part of a unique gift for Prince William and Kate Middleton from the Royal Warrant Holders Association.

Jon Beer, who was born and educated in March but now lives in Nicaragua, used wood extracted from an area devastated by Hurricane Felix in 2007.

The box will hold a silver goblet created by silversmith Rod Kelly, of Norfolk. The context of the gift has been explained on a script by accomplished calligrapher Davina Chapman.

Mr Beer said: “The character of the wood reflects its journey and explores the relationship between the user and the natural unconformity of this previously live material.

“The silver lid stay was crafted by hand in a small silversmithing studio here in Managua (the capital of Nicaragua).”

Mr Beer, the son of Mick and Sue Beer of Wimblington Road, March, was educated at Neale-Wade Community College.

He has three degrees and a Licentiateship from the City of Guilds. He worked as a lecturer at the Isle College in Wisbech.

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In March 2002 Mr Beer receive a QEST scholarship to study furniture making and design. Five years later, he took up a position running Simplemente Madera, a small furniture workshop in Nicaragua, where he is currently the production manager.

He arrived there the day after Hurricane Felix had torn through the country and through his knowledge of wood, his design expertise and his business acumen has enabled the small company to expand from 15 people to employing more than 250. The company exports furniture to the USA, England, Denmark, France and central America.

Explaining the inspiration for the shape of the box, Mr Beer said: “The oblique form of the legs on the box originates with the Spanish fort, El Castillo.

“This previously unsackable fort, built on a rock outcrop overlooking white water rapids on the Rio San Juan in Nicaragua, protected the Pacific-Atlantic trade route allowing the Spanish to control the movement of goods to the lake port of Grenada.

“It was finally taken by the British in 1780 when Nelson marched his men through 20 miles of jungle to take the river fort by the high ridge to the south.”

• Keep up to date with Mr Beer’s work through his blog:

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