An Otley firm that has grown to become a national fuel distributor is celebrating its 40th anniversary.

Founded in the town as Tate Fuel Oils by George Tate in September 1972, TateOil now employs nearly 70 people and is ranked as one of Yorkshire’s top 250 companies.

The venture began as an offshoot of the family engineering business when Mr Tate saw an opportunity to supply its existing rural customers with the fuel and lubricants they also needed.

The business has now expanded to include sites in six locations across the North of England, and has an annual fuel turnover approaching 100 million litres, but is still operated from its head office in Otley.

Mr Tate senior, who runs the company with his son, Andrew, said: “We try to maintain the family values the company started with. We have only ever expanded the business when we have been able to guarantee our service quality and reputation will be maintained.

“We would never compromise our values for the sake of expansion – they are as important to us now as the day we started.”

Mr Tate junior joined the company 15 years ago, and has overseen much of its growth outside of Yorkshire. He said: “The opening of depots in Immingham, Liverpool, Burnley, Manchester and Birmingham have each marked an exciting point in the company’s history, and the recent development of our Fuelcards division in Southport will continue to see us grow in coming months.”

His father added: “Forty years ago, a radius of ten miles took us to Bradford, Harrogate, Leeds, the foothills of the Dales and every town and village in between. That area seemed enormous then.

“Nowadays, we cover an area 120 miles wide, from coast to coast, and arrange deliveries nationally.”

The Tate Group of companies has also operated six service stations and includes George Tate & Son Engineers and Tate Medical Engineering, which provides specialist coatings to orthopaedic implant manufacturers across the globe.

The company’s roots can be traced back to its origins as a blacksmiths and whitesmith in 1878, in the area which is now Otley bus station.