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New Jolie yarn delivers shear delight for Sudbury wool mill

Monica Smallwood and Karen Griffiths with Albert the Sheep

Monica Smallwood and Karen Griffiths with Albert the Sheep

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A SUDBURY wool mill is celebrating its first Hollywood appearance after agreeing to use its fleeces in a new Disney film starring Angelina Jolie.

Griffiths’ Mill, in Sudbury, specialises in bespoke orders of wool from rare breed sheep.

Owners David and Karen Griffiths, who run the mill from a 6m-by-12m shed in their garden, were pleasantly surprised when they received an email from Pinewood Studios in June 2012.

The production team wanted white longwool fleece washed, prepared and delivered to be used in new Disney film Maleficent.

The film tells the story of Maleficent, the iconic villain from fairytale Sleeping Beauty, played by Jolie.

Mr and Mrs Griffiths contacted Monica Waltho, of Woodcock Heath Farm, Kingstone, to acquire fleeces from her Cotswold flock.

They will be used for set dressing in a spinning scene in the film, which is released on May 30.

Mr Griffiths said: “They initially couldn’t tell us which film they wanted the fleeces for and we only found out a few weeks ago.

“It’s brilliant our product’s being used in Hollywood. It gives us fantastic exposure and is another example of how well our mill’s doing.

“For the last three-and-a-half years, we’ve had a six-month waiting list so things are going from strength to strength.”

Mr Griffiths started the mill after his son, Joe, died in a car accident near JCB’s Rocester World Headquarters on Christmas Day nine years ago.

He said: “I was working in the legal profession and travelling all over the place, not spending as much time with my family as I’d have liked.

“Joe was working late on Christmas Eve and was on his way to see us when it happened.

“After he died, it really put everything in perspective and I knew I needed to spend more time with my family.

“My wife bought some goats and, purely for leisure, started making wool on a hand spinning wheel.

“She wanted some better equipment so we searched around and found a whole mill for sale.

“We eventually decided to buy all the equipment and bring it back to Sudbury, which is how it all started.”

Now Griffiths’ Mill, which specialises in using rare breeds including Angora goats, black Wensleydales and White Lincoln Longwools, sells its wool across the UK and as far afield as the US and Australia.

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